Daniel Hope and Friends

Billed as a "ba-rock" concert, this spin-off concert from Daniel Hope's latest Deutsche Grammophon album brought the trappings of an informal gig – standing only in the Royal Albert Hall's Elgar Room, chatting, and texting allowed, if not encouraged – to a period performance exploring the history of baroque virtuoso violin technique. Like the marketing ­department's pun, it could have been gut-wrenchingly awful. But it wasn't.

There are, in fact, numerous similarities between the baroque style and rock music: regular rhythms, repetitive harmonies and block dynamics with the burden of expression placed on melody. It's good to stand up when hearing and playing it – although Hope's cellist Stephan Schultz, who managed to play his instrument while he and the rest of the band paraded through the audience to Diego Ortiz's rambunctious Recercada Segunda, looked glad of his seat when he reached it.

"You may know it from the Levi's jeans advert" was Hope's introduction to an arrangement of Handel's Sarabande. I didn't, but knowing it instead from the composer's D minor keyboard suite didn't prevent my appreciating artistry of breathtaking vitality, the violins of Hope and Daniel Deuter not so much passing the melody between them, as taking turns to savour something circling above them. The performers' faces crumpling under the accumulation of Handel's expertly intertwined sighs, a tenderness of extraordinary richness took hold of the room.

This was a memorable evening's music-making, though it could have done with a little more genuine improvisation from players more than capable of it.

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