When English violinist Anthony Marwood and Scottish accordionist James Crabb performed Ralph Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending it was as if the audience had been transported from the concert hall to a very high end folk club in the local pub.

Here were two old friends, fiendishly talented and who know each other’s playing inside out, performing a much-loved and familiar work in the intimate setting of the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s The Neilson in the last of the Up Close series for the year.

James Crabb. Photo © Maria Boyadgis

It truly felt as if the listener were privileged to be there as an onlooker and eavesdropper. Any reservations one might have had about an orchestra being substituted by a classical accordion were washed away with the serene pedal chord opening before Marwood and his 1736 Carlo Bergonzi violin began weaving their silken magic.

Marwood reminded us that this isn’t merely a beautiful piece about a bird singing ethereally as it rises above the English countryside. It is also about love. And when Crabb played the central orchestral theme he reminded us that for the composer folk song, the music of the...