A relaxing early evening concert in one of Oxford’s most beautiful historic churches, with complimentary drinks and nibbles, sounds a wonderful way to wind down after a busy day — and last Friday’s 50-minute offering by the Musicians of the Dreaming Spires fully lived up to expectations. The programme was optimistically titled Summer Fantasy, but fortunately the weather obligingly played its part, and with the sun glistening against the stained glass windows, and throwing gentle shadows on the stone flooring, we were transported on a musical journey that took us from the 17th century to the 20th. A professional ensemble from the Oxford area, the Musicians of the Dreaming Spires was founded by the husband and wife team of Christopher and Celia Redgate, and is currently led by Olivier Bonnici. Between them, the eight musicians produce a ravishing sound, spurred on by Christopher Redgate’s energetic and meticulous direction.

Purcell’s Dances from The Fairy Queen got things off to a lively start, and the different characters and moods were carefully drawn. In Gluck’s Dance of the Blessed Spirits from Orfeo, flautist Celia Redgate gave an inspired and technically assured performance, with some gorgeously lyrical passages that both charmed and mesmerised. In Mendelssohn’s Sinfonia II in D — written when he was only 11 — the players were clearly enjoying the rich melodic writing, and the contrasts between the buoyant mood of the outer movement and the tranquillity of the second.

The recital closed with Pasculli’s Fantasia sull’opera Les Huguenots di Meyerbeer, in which Christopher Redgate handled the notoriously tricky solo oboe line with an apparently effortless virtuosity.

Look out for Autumn Feast, the group’s next concert on October 8. Perfectly timed to slot in after a day’s work, without intruding into your evening, this really is the ultimate de-stresser. For more details, visit www.musiciansofthedreamingspires.com