GREATER love hath no man… that he would create such a beautiful ballet in memory of his deceased friend.

And it must be said that this is not just any ballet, but a masterpiece in sound and movement that mocks the finality and coldness of the grave.

This work is hewn from the heart. Without doubt, master choreographer David Bintley has really excelled himself with The Dance House, the middle piece of this utterly enchanting triple bill.

Of course, he has the perfect ally in the form of Dmitri Shostkovich, whose will o’ wisp modulations and staccato piano chords underscore the impending demise of the golden boy.

Ambra Vallo and Kosuke Yamamoto personify the death throes of Alexander Campbell’s character Nick Millington – cruelly full of life while contemplating death - as they dramatically interpret the idea of mortality via a mediaeval poem.

Earlier, Galanteries perfectly sets the mood in a rather formal ensemble exercise, otherwise leavened by the sustained dynamism of Carol-Anne Millar, Natasha Oughtred, Jamie Bond and the ever-effervescent Yamamoto. Once again, Bintley’s insistence on complexity pays off.

Nevertheless, the cherry on this exceedingly rich cake is provided by Frederick Ashton’s The Dream, a perfect choice for a balmy midsummer night. Robert Parker as Demetrius, James Grundy wearing the ass’s head, and the breathtakingly talented Nao Sakuma as Titania sweep the stage, taking all before them.

However, it is Alexander Campbell who once again steals most of the honours as Puck, a woodland sprite who seems to be from another world. Robert Parker certainly needs to watch out for his crown… The Royal Ballet Sinfonia’s supremely intelligent interpretation of Mendelssohn’s score, ably assisted by the girls of Birmingham Cathedral Choir, also adds much to this piece. They endow the proceedings with an ethereal quality richer than the leaf mould on the Arden forest’s floor.

This was a skilfully constructed triple bill, a triumph from beginning to end. It runs at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday, June 27.