In a sublime partnership of true musical minds, Benjamin Appl and James Baillieu presented a programme of stunning sensitivity for their Festival recital at All Saints.

No longer was the piano in subservient role: no longer did a voice assume control. Both musicians with both instruments were equally skilful, expressive and intelligent in the unfamiliar music from Eastern Europe.

Perhaps James Baillieu was responsible for choosing pianistic lied composers, Liszt, Rubenstein and Schumann, with accompaniments that he wove into the very texture of Benjamin Appl’s voice. There was a natural perfection in Bailleu’s performance that made technique disappear to become part of a larger whole.

Perhaps Appl selected the almost unbearably poignant German songs from Terezin. His beautiful baritone with the pure resonance of a bell was resonant, and flexible with fractionally graded dynamics. Hushed consonants and whispers of sound – in German or Czech - reached into every corner of the church.

Appropriately for the setting were Dvorak’s Biblical Songs and a Schumann Requiem but nothing caught at the heart strings as the farewells from Jewish prisoners in the concentration camps. Benjamin Appl and James Baillieu did not just perform songs: they inhabited them and we shared the experience.

Five stars