What clever programming, and what triumphant playing by the BSO under principal conductor Kirill Karabits.
The first half featured 20th century music by Stravinsky written in neo-classical style, and the second half was devoted to Beethoven’s famous fifth, the masterpiece that represented a new direction in symphonic music.
It was given an electrifying performance that was rooted in period style yet sounded new-minted.
It had urgent tempi, clipped or tapered phrasing, restricted vibrato, violins properly separated either side of the conductor – and a blaze of trombones propelling the finale to the finish.
In the first half of the concert, Stravinsky’s Octet for wind instruments was played with precision, wit and tidy transitions, and his Piano Concerto, also highlighting the wind section and with Frenchman Frank Braley as soloist, gave a distinct Gallic accent to spiky Russian rhythms.
Those two works needed something a little sweeter as filling in the sandwich and that was provided by Richard Strauss’s Serenade for wind, written when he was still at school.
Here the playing abounded in lyrical warmth, providing another reminder of the BSO’s rich array of talent in this department.