Bringing with them the exuberance of youthful passion and prodigious energy, the students of the International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove in Cornwall transformed a starkly unaccommodating town hall into one which thrilled to the talents of classical music's heirs. Performing a varied programme which was the culmination of six weeks' vigorous study off the coast of Cornwall, ten rising artists broke the ice with the conviction that classical music is about unleashing the most intimate divinations of the soul and binding oneself religiously to its cause, while sharing the pleasure of great art.

Alexander Ullman, piano. Photo: Miles Essex
Alexander Ullman, piano. Photo: Miles Essex

It bore a hauntingly nostalgic resonance, bringing me back to my early career in performance, and with it came an empathy for the nerves which the students surely felt but did not reveal. In fact, beginning with the articulate Julian Clef (who will be one to watch in years to come) performing the first movement of Beethoven's 'Appassionata' Sonata, it seemed as though the musicians could barely contain their zest and virtuosity. Perhaps this was accentuated by the venue's acoustics, which bewildered the dynamics and blanketed their distinctions, giving the pieces an often thunderous atmosphere.

Clef's ability to flow across the keyboard with a meditative composure began to harness the venue's cascading parabolas of sound, though with some difficulty; others, though, thrived in it. Cellist Torun Stavseng and pianist Anna Christensson pounced on Britten's Sonata for Cello and Piano with a boldly forceful interpretation that left me wishing for a seatbelt. One could argue that their dramatically impulsive gestures were distracting, but I found that this aesthetic discord of movement was ironically harmonious with the dissonant piece, and Stavseng's broken horsehair testified to the sheer energy of the work. The acoustics failed to daunt them and they revelled in the ringing staccatos and fortissimos, grinding skilfully in meticulous runs of multiple notes and spectral phrases.

By contrast, Alexander Ullman's movement from the Piano Sonata in A flat major, Op.110 by Beethoven preceded the Britten with a more reflective, dreamlike, and measured tone, despite the more mathematical sections blurring tenuously under the echoing roof. It wasn't until J.S. Bach's Chaconne from the Violin Partita in D minor was carried on the bow of Joseph Puglia that I felt myself breathe freely and easily, finally able to relax in the spaces between the sounds that Puglia's violin of many voices exposed. Diverting his pianissimos from soaring fortes, Puglia flowed from architectural passage to passage, segueing into each musical section with a seamlessness which demonstrated a matured sense of musicianship and a tone which balanced the smooth with the raw. Defining each note of an ambitious run at fast tempo with Baroque pristineness is hefty work, but the soloist executed this with a delectable combination of Bach-like clarity and Vivaldi-esque fire.

Violist Georgy Kovalev and Gretel Dowdeswell on piano followed the Bach magnificently with Hindemith's Viola Sonata no. 4. Kovalev's striking persona possessed the charming combination of both power and vulnerability, crucial for the psychology of the piece. Craftsmanship and innovation entwined to produce what would be the climactic highlight of the concert – with Dowdeswell and Kovalev allowing the raw melodic strains and frantic, dissonant passages to exude their own interpretations, rather than being forced upon as many performers are wont to do. It seemed that, though all the students clearly demonstrated their high calibre, Kovalev and Dowdeswell captured the most hearts. Kovalev could easily have held onto his last resounding note a little longer, and relished his time on the stage.

Julien Libeer's Chopin Barcarolle provided a welcome recovery from the last performance; its quietness existed in temperament more than dynamics, and Libeer displayed an acute sensitivity towards Chopin in his refined yet expressive use of sostenutos. It was an aptly chosen piece to demonstrate technique and phrasing, as well as satisfying one's equilibrium for an all-round Chopin experience. The first movement of Grieg's highly Romantic Violin Sonata no. 3 concluded the evening, with Ana Maria Valderrama on the violin and Sarah Tysman on the piano. Like those before them, they dived into their work with a convincing relentlessness and freshness which, despite the length of the concert, kept it new and exciting. Valderrama succumbed herself to the piece, seeming completely swept away by the chaotic reveries, which were part lament and part revelation, sustaining a full-bodied tone which met a desolate edge several times throughout, bringing the concert to a wonderfully fulfilling close. If these young artists are the future of classical music, then I can forgive the slightly too serious atmosphere of the venue fuelled by the crowd, because ultimately, they reminded all of us of just how beautifully humanizing great art can be.