By Martin Dreyer for the Press

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Review: North York Moors Chamber Music Festival, Sighs, All Saints, Helmsley, August 15

ELGAR'S Sospiri provided the title for the festival’s latest adventure, which was built around song-cycles by Britten, Tippett and Elgar himself. But it opened fittingly with Elgar’s only Violin Sonata, written exactly a century ago.

The Swiss violinist Rachel Kolly d’Alba was partnered here by another festival stalwart, the pianist Katya Apekisheva. Their naturally assertive temperaments might have proved explosive. Instead, they submerged their instincts into a superb blend, several times accelerating in taut tandem.

Where D’Alba’s violin was sweet-toned at the top, even under pressure, she found rich resonance in her lower range during the central Romance. She injected welcome urgency into the finale, keeping something in reserve for a majestic coda. Apekisheva was with her every step of the way. They delivered a gently heartfelt Sospiri in semi-darkness to end the evening.