Picture the scene: the Powerhouse of Prestongrange Industrial Heritage Museum – variously five centuries, the site of a harbour, glassworks, potteries, coal mine and brickworks; to the north end of this high-roofed engine shed, a small raised area (compass points rounded up for simplicity); at ground level three side drums; surrounding this performance area, inward-facing audience seating; high in each corner a loudspeaker; at the south end, Timothy Cooper with an Apple Mac (other brands are available). Curated by Red Note, this ingenious programme of brass, percussion and electronics featured composers from England, Scotland, Italy and Denmark and works spanning a period of time close to the age of the site we occupied.

To open – a fanfare: Britten's 1959 Fanfare for St Edmundsbury, composed to celebrate the cathedral's historic links with the Magna Carta. As specified by Britten, the performers stood as far apart as possible: Dávur Juul Magnussen at the north end, his trombone pointing south, where Mark O'Keefe and Brian McGinley stood SE and NW respectively. These distant points highlighted the radically different solo material played by each and, more particularly, their scarcely credible confluence, which only a dramatist like Britten could have pulled off. The effect was stunning.

The clarity of separation afforded by brass writing informed some of the programme's more well known works, such as the arrangement of Dowland's song In Darkness Let Me Dwell. This arrangement for two trumpets and two trombones (the as yet unmentioned one played by Paul Stone) allowed the adventurous nature of Dowland's harmony to ring out, along with the attention-grabbing individual lines which formed it. Three Canzonas by Gabrieli, though less obviously radical in content, featured some very nifty playing. It was particularly striking to hear the trombones imitate speedy riffs just heard on trumpets.

Space featured in many works: players relocating; moving while playing; electronic music making its way round the quartet of loudspeakers. In Edward McGuire's 1994 Orbit O'Keefe 'span' slowly from his NW corner to the centre while McGinley approached similarly from SE. Hovering round a shared note they enjoyed the proximity occasioned by their 'gravitational pull'. When the music perked up, almost to a Galop à la Steve Reich, they span back to their respective points of origin.

These fine trumpeters enjoyed another movement-orientated event in Harrison Birtwistle's 1998 Silk House Tatto. Aligned northwards, with percussionist Tom Hunter positioned between them they opened this ritualistic work with fanfare-like gestures. During an episode of slow, wireless side drum the trumpeters processed 270° clockwise until, facing one another East-West, they engaged in muted close dialogue – often only one note apart. This texture gave way to an almost bebop section where wired side drum joined them in 'kick' notes. The way these emerged at volume from the otherwise quietly scurrying trumpets and drum was captivating. More wireless side drum occasioned a further 540° of circling the central drummer where each trumpeter would arrive at a table containing three mutes, each distinctly altering their instrument's timbre. At one point the dynamic level was impressively tiny. This section also featured some finely controlled quarter-tone playing. A further 90° anticlockwise returned us to the original north-facing alignment, but with the trumpeters reversed. This simple but effective piece of theatre grabbed and held my attention – mostly on a account of the excellent playing but partly due to the tendency of unwired side drum to suggest scenes of execution.

One very unusual use of space involved Dávur Juul Magnussen performing from an enclosed area on the raised platform. Few would have noticed him sneak off there and I imagine it might have taken many a good while to figure out how many people were involved and what they were playing. Bent Sørensen's 1990 The Bells of Veneta involved singing into the trombone whilst playing contrasting pitches. The playing itself would have impressed; the singing was an evocative bonus. I can only imagine that the disappearing act was to encourage people really to listen without visual distraction. It worked for me.

The programme's two electronic works were by the late Jonathan Harvey (1939-2012). The first, which occasioned many audience examples of eyes-closed listening, was his 1988 Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco which mixed electronically treated recordings of his son's voice during his time as a chorister at Winchester Catherdral. This was mixed with treatment of samples of 'the great tenor bell' – its fundamental note and its repertory of 33 partials. This was as dramatic as any radio play. North-side Mark O'Keefe closed this excellent show with Harvey's stunning 1985 Ricercare una Melodia. North-facing Timothy Cooper manipulated the virtuosic trumpet playing into a dazzling 5-part Ricercare. What a great afternoon!