From its beginnings in Krakow over a decade ago, when he was working with Spanish early music guru Jordi Savall, Polish violinist Stefan Plewniak has built his 12-strong string ensemble Il Giardino d’Amore into a formidable touring group, drawing on young players from across Europe and Scandinavia, visiting the Americas and the Far East, and recording for international labels with star singers.

So it was a bit of a coup for the Perth Festival of the Arts that it signed the group for its Scottish debut and that Plewniak chose to premiere a new programme, combining Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with two contemporary responses to it  by Astor Piazzola and Max Richter.

Plewniak’s arrangement was not so much a jigsaw of the three works as a three-dimensional Rubik’s cube. It resolved into an exploration of the calendar year with moving images projected above the musicians and stage lighting filtered through theatrical haze.

Read More from Keith Bruce

Those latter ingredients were a mixed blessing, never a worrying distraction but rarely original or unusual enough to impress in their own right. Lithe bodies, time-lapse sprouting seeds, animated birds in flight, and aerial images of the ocean made up much of the visual side, with only a tessellation of eyes and a surreal lightning storm especially memorable.

The music, fortunately, was much more inventive, each section beginning with one of Piazzola’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires before interweaving the quarterly compositions of Vivaldi and Richter.

Arguably the Edinburgh University-educated German benefitted from the arrangement, his simplistic minimalism providing mellow contrast to the frantic, often purposely scratchy, period-instrument Baroque virtuosity of Plewniak and his young associates – none of whom were named, but the first cello should be singled out for particular praise.

Her ringing tone was full and always precisely in pitch, which could not always be said for the leader and director. There were some collective fluctuations in coherence and intonation across the evening, but when the ensemble was on song, it sounded superb. Allowances should be made if this was indeed a first performance.

Perth Festival perhaps undersold that aspect of this fascinating debut, which was endearingly encored with a sextet version of Waltzing Matilda. Tellingly, that is also a party piece of Andre Rieu (chiefly when the Dutch Strauss-meister is in Australia), and it may be that Plewniak’s ambitions lie towards such stadium success.