PLAYERS of Royal Northern Sinfonia treated a virtual audience to a selection of their personal favourites, showcasing their individual talents and collective strength, at the latest concert live streamed from Sage Gateshead.

With the year marking the centenary of tango master Astor Piazzola, what better work to form the core of the specially-curated programme than his Four Season of Buenos Aires.

Four violinists stepped from the ranks to lead the different seasons, each bringing their own distinctive flair.

Spring was fronted by Marie Schreer who attacked the rhythms with gutsy bowing, while her rhapsodic lines had a sensuous flow.

The foot-stamping Summer was propelled forward with vigour by Gaëlle-Anne Michel, who took relish in the tremolos and glissandi, ending with a flourish, to strains of Vivaldi’s Winter.

Katerina Nazarova pushed the tempo forward with quicksilver turns of phrase in the opening of Autumn, with the players seguing seamlessly into a soulful cello solo by Steffan Morris. Winter was delivered with an easy grace by Allana Tonetti-Tieppo.

Royal Northern Sinfonia

Royal Northern Sinfonia

Four Seasons was interspersed with an eclectic mix of music, opening with Dobrinka Tabakova’s contemplative Organum Light.

As we learned, it was commissioned for a performance Cambridge Science Festival and alludes to Einstein's studies into the theories of quantum light, using musical notes to illustrate his E=mc2 theory. The otherworldly quality of its ethereal lines was a perfect mood setter.

Principal clarinettist Jessica Lee made a rare solo appearance, introducing us to the music of French composer Germaine Tailleferre. Two succinct movements of the Sonata for Solo Clarinet made an indelible impression.

Royal Northern Sinfonia

Royal Northern Sinfonia

Violinist Kyra Humphreys led Daniel Kidane's hauntingly beautiful Towards Resolution; inspired by Purcell’s first three-part Fantasia.

Traditional staple came in the form of Haydn's Sinfonia Concertante, featuring exhilarating exchanges between director/violinist Alexandra 'Sasha' Raikhlina, cellist Steffan Morris, oboeist Michael O’Donnell and bassoonist Stephen Reay.

The evening was rounded off in style with Piazzola's Oblivion, arranged by principal oboe Michael O' Donnell, with superlative contributions from trumpeters Richard Martin and Marion Craig and and guest flautist Helen Wilson.

The programme was brilliantly conceived and executed.