If this, its opening concert, is anything to go by, the rest of the 2010 Birmingham Early Music Festival is a treat in store.

The evening saw the UK debut of the vocal trio White Raven, a group spanning continents with its members Kathleen Dineen, Robert Getchell and Raitis Grigalis hailing from Ireland, America and Latvia, respectively. Perhaps suitably, then, the concert itself spanned centuries.

Under the title Songs of Love and Death, the programme traced the setting of poetry to music from the very earliest surviving English songs (c.1100) to recent settings of poems by Yeats.

It was the concert’s delicacy that made it so wonderful. St Augustine’s church proved a perfect venue, and great addition to the festival’s venue list.

Within that, the three voices sang with a beautiful, understated finesse, delivering a masterclass in ensemble and balance. A perfect antidote to autumnal melancholy, the remaining concerts should be firmly marked onto any cultural calendar.

Rating: 5/5