They may have swept us away with Handel and Purcell last week, but Lautten Compagney's Tuesday cocktail of Merula and Glass was altogether less enticing.

The music of Philip Glass, thin at the best of times for those wanting substance on their staves, can sound positively anorexic delivered by three string players without the flattering ambience of a recording studio.

Even in full flight, with all nine musicians busily occupied, the banal banter of the harmonic patternings quickly numbed. If the Video Dream from Powaqquatsi seemed have a little more going for it, perhaps it was because it sounded like a dim channelling of Bernard Herrmann.

By the end of the concert, a revisiting of Glass' 1992 The Windcatcher, not without the occasional asperity in intonation, seemed to topple into the territory of John Barry's Midnight Cowboy theme or those chintzy Francis Lai ballads of the 60s that many would prefer to forget.

The trite 9+9 after 1+1 proved a damp squib alongside the rhythmic dare of fellow minimalist, Steve Reich.

Proving the old adage that simple is always best, three of Glass' unaccompanied Melodies, played by Karola Elssner on a variety of saxophones, one from in amongst the circle audience, were the most memorable offerings.

Tarquinio Merula would have been a new name to many in the audience, and his pieces gave Lautten Compagney the chance to display its early music chops, thrillingly in a serpentine Sonata cromatica for the string players.

It was Merula who delivered the surprises, from Peter Bauer's mysterious marimba solo at the end of an etude-like Capriccio, to an airy, well-measured duet for cello and bass that brightened up the following piece.

Best of all was to come in the Canzonetta, Sentirete, which had Elssner's saxophone taking over with lusty quotations from Monteverdi's Orfeo. In fact, perhaps simply roaming around the Baroque would have been crossover enough.

*Lautten Compagney, Timeless, was a one-off performance as part of the Auckland Arts Festival