Perhaps the most remarkable development since Jonathan Butcher became HSO’s musical director is the advance of players promoted to principal roles.
Gordon Egerton, after years playing second clarinet, relished in soloistic expression in Brahms’s first symphony, while Bridget Holton led the horn section with panache.
The violins were more confidently lyrical in a performance which let the music breathe, while avoiding relentless tempi and exaggerated slowing for secondary themes.
Walton’s viola concerto reflected the solo instrument’s melancholy air and interaction in spiky dialogue, as skilfully achieved by young soloist Shiry Rashkovsky and well-balanced by delicately menacing brass.
The orchestra had fun with Britten’s Soirées Musicales and Williams’ The Wasps Overture. Sonorities were well-defined but it seemed a little too polite.