Financial constraints have reduced professional participation in the HSO but not damaged its spirit of excitement – and much of the credit for that must go to conductor Jonathan Butcher, now happily confirmed as musical director for next season.
He sets the players free to express themselves, as was evident the moment he picked up the baton in the Sibelius Violin Concerto.
Here Russian substitute soloist Boris Brovtsyn showed the ideal combination of fire and ice, spearing his notes cleanly rather than scooping his way into them as a better-known compatriot did in London 10 days earlier.
Only one word for it really: wow!
Butcher also directed a pulsingly warm-hearted account of Brahms’s third symphony and then confirmed his generosity of spirit by passing the baton to departing Bob Harding Bursary holder Ignatius Wang for the same composer’s Hungarian Dance No 6.
That gave the man from the Royal Marines School of Music the opportunity to prove he is not only likeable and efficient, as in Rossini’s William Tell Overture, but has a showman’s flair.
Say it again: wow!