Kendal Midday Concert Club Kendal Town Hall Here in the South Lakes we treasure our long-term relationship with the Northern Sinfonia, one of the country’s foremost orchestras and when a group of its leading players appear as a guest of the Kendal Midday Concert Club - as is invariably the case, season after season – we know that a first-class recital will be on offer.

So it was recently when five players delighted a capacity audience with their performances of String Quintets by Mozart (K 515) and Brahms (Op 88). Life in the Northern Sinfonia is doubtless demanding and, indeed, stressful at times with rehearsal opportunities for chamber music relatively limited. I would not be properly doing my job if I ignored the very few moments when this was evident; on the whole, though, this was a splendid concert.

In both works there was stylistic awareness (their Mozart was classical, their Brahms romantic), a near-perfect internal balance, attention to fine detail, refined phrasing, rhythmic strength, projection of beautiful sound and a delightful intimacy in the players’ relationship with each other. What a joy, too, to revel in the dark, sensuous textures provided by two violas!

Brian Paynes