With Artistic Director Sam Weller studying conducting in the Netherlands, it was left to lead violinist Anna Da Silva Chen to steer the excellent Ensemble Apex through their first live performance since the pandemic started a year ago. The program was aptly branded Resurrection, either for the content of the four works, Chen explained, or for the fact that two of them are seldom heard in the concert halls these days.

Anna Da Silva ChenAnna Da Silva Chen

The start of the concert, in the atmospheric basement of Sydney Town Hall, could not have been more uplifting with Chen giving a beautifully controlled and nuanced performance of Ralph Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending. It’s a work which puts the soloist’s skills and intonation to a stiff test, but Chen’s fluid trills and hushed stratospheric high notes were spot-on – so often they can wander off into a sharp haze, but not in this case. The orchestra, led here by Amanda Chen, were similarly impeccable in tone and precision.

By way of contrast to Vaughan Williams’s lush, broad pastoral brush...