A criticism frequently levelled at the classical music world is that it needs to leave the concert hall for different spaces. Such criticism seems to ignore that this already occurs on a regular basis; I have seen operas in warehouses, sung in a car park and now heard an orchestra surrounded by an art installation, courtesy of the Proms At... Roundhouse. London Sinfonietta's commitment to contemporary repertoire was paired with Ron Arad's Curtain Call, a floor-to-ceiling circular artwork of silicon rods acting as a blank canvas.

Andrew Gourlay conducts the London Sinfonietta © BBC | Chris Christodoulou
Andrew Gourlay conducts the London Sinfonietta
© BBC | Chris Christodoulou

Due to the vagaries of the London transport network, I missed Birtwistle's clarion call The Message, which had seemed an inspired choice to begin the concert and entered to the opening strains of Georg Friedrich HaasOpen Spaces II. The orchestra had made great use of the space, with players positioned in difference locations in the round; it was very enjoyable walking around the space to experience the piece in different ways. Eventually I found my way inside the installation where I was greeted with what looked like undulating bacilli, although I was unsure of this, or the connection between the installation and the music. Haas' microtonal world also began to tire – the premise was interesting and the performance flawless, but ultimately it outstayed its welcome.

Mica Levi's Signal Before War continued in the same vein, with principal violinist Jonathan Morton sliding up the microtones impeccably to create a sound akin to an air-raid siren winding up. Here the flawless execution couldn't disguise the fact that this was an idea well behind its time, though the visuals this time were a good match, ripples like a carrier wave spread the signal as the audience went from being bathed in red light to blue.

Andrew Gourlay conducts the London Sinfonietta © BBC | Chris Christodoulou
Andrew Gourlay conducts the London Sinfonietta
© BBC | Chris Christodoulou

Away from this microtonal world, David Sawer's April/March was a breath of fresh air. The orchestra perfectly captured Sawer's intentions to look at the present from the perspective of the past, blending wistful nostaligia with off-kilter sensations. While the installation seemed irrelevant to Sawer's intentions, it provided a possibly unintended influence during Jonny Greenwood's smear. Forest projections midway through gave Valerie Hartmann-Claverie and Bruno Perrault's duetting ondes martenot the quality of birds calling to each other. Before this the sliding microtones howled at each other wonderfully; afterwards it opened up to end in more Romantic territory.

Ligeti's Ramifications was the linchpin for the entire concert, so it was entirely right to alter the programme to end with it. Indeed it felt as if we had so naturally been building up to it that anything else would've been a complete anathema. Here, at last, the visuals really connected with the work, Ligeti's shifting microtones accompanied by cracked ground and enormous crawling spiders to wonderfully unnerving effect. Overall, however, it was impossible to shake the feeling that the concert would've still been as effective without the visuals, or that with a little more thought something truly astonishing could have been created; but on this occasion the potential was not fully realised. While this was disappointing, nonetheless it is also testament to the quality of London Sinfonietta. Their sound spoke for itself – no extras required.