TINTAGEL (1917), by Arnold Bax, was the imaginative curtain-raiser to the Chandos Orchestra's programme of English music.

Dramatically atmospheric, Bax uses wide varieties of instrumental combinations to produce an awe-inspiring tapestry of orchestra colour, ranging from lilting flutes, to aggressive and angry sounds with double basses adding strength and the eventual resounding cymbals and timpani.

Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem (1940), a spiritually searching and disturbing piece opens the 'Lachrymosa' with a devastating drum roll leading to the cello playing a mournful melody with plucked double basses; there is much discordancy, and a cacophony of the entire large orchestra as in torment, resolved into soulful strings.

The 'Dies Irae', rhythmic with staccato horns and wood-wind, has interjections by a deriding saxophone, wrathful comments by the brass and percussion, before the music plummets to the ground. The 'Requiem Aeternam' of dolce flutes, solo double bass and bras leads the music into a sweeter harmony among the celestial high strings. An impressive interpretation, allowing every section of this orchestra to show their extensive capabilities.

A seductive and melodious Walk to the paradise Garden (1901) by Delius, and then Elgar's Enigma Variations (1899) followed.

The Elgar Variations were given a most beautiful and vivid portrayal, showing considerable thought and passion. The musicians and conductor were steadfast in their commitment, and produced and emotional performance.

Much was worthy of mention: suffice it to say that Nimrod (Variation No. 9: A J Jaeger) was superb. Taken at a good pace (not dragged!), with a well conserved gradual crescendo to a glorious climax, and finally the subito pianissimo.

Another concert by the Chandos and Michael Lloyd (conductor), with Edward Bale (leader) to be very proud of.

An amateur orchestra? It's hard to believe.