It's proving a shrewd move for Birmingham Conservatoire alumnae Amy Littlewood and Hetti Price to be carving out something of a niche for themselves by adding the Delius Concerto for Violin and Cello to the strings of their bows.
This rarity makes a change from the Brahms Double, for example, and brings opportunities to reveal performing attributes more personal than those demanded by that mainstream work.
Joining the Chandos Symphony Orchestra last Sunday, these two young ladies ushered us gently into the fey, rhapsodic soundworld of Delius' ingeniously-constructed piece, their continuously-flowing lines melting in and out of each other in wistful musings. Littlewood was particularly sweet-toned, and Price carefully gauged her own tone to grow from initial pastels towards something more full-blooded. The result put before us two aspects of the same soul, a special communing between two people who are close friends as well as colleagues.
Michael Lloyd's orchestra successfully delivered Delius' sometimes foursquare orchestration, and the soloists dedicated their performance to the victims of the Paris massacres two days earlier.
Vaughan Williams' Wasps Overture had got this all-English programme off to a somewhat untidy start, with lapses in intonation and ensemble. But what followed after the interval was revelatory.
A committed Elgarian, Lloyd drew a wonderfully searching account of Elgar's First Symphony. Though heavy brass were occasionally over-assertive, the horn section was in magnificent form, woodwinds flickered and phrased with masses of personality, and the strings, not least the heroic back desks, played their hearts out. What LLoyd and his musicians created in the adagio was something very special.