A twinkling Christmas hamper of delights was lovingly unpacked at Lighthouse, Poole, on Wednesday by the BSO and pianist Danny Driver, choreographed by the Assistant Conductor, Tom Fetherstonhaugh. Making his first main programme appearance, he seemed to enjoy the whole evening hugely and danced up a real storm.

The ten minutes of Dvořák’s Carnival Overture had it all – furious toe-tapping rhythm and glorious heart-felt romance, highlighted by Amyn Merchant’s beautiful solo violin pirouettes.

This perfect start paved the way for Danny Driver and his elegant performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 21. Most importantly, he was completely in step with the orchestra and conductor through the smiling first movement and the dazzling finale. The famous Andante central movement seemed to hang sweetly in the air, as a seasonal gift offered with kindly generosity by the players to a gratefully full hall.

After the interval, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Christmas Eve Polonaise proved a charming rarity which set a seasonal scene for Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor. So justifiably well known and admired, these tuneful, rustic and jolly dances offered each section of the orchestra a chance to strut its stuff.

Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite No 1 completed the evening with its succession of memorable tunes which surely revived memories of festive Christmases past for many members of the audience. Tchaikovsky’s music remains timeless in its appeal when it is conducted with such aplomb, and in such knowing style as it was by Mr Fetherstonhaugh. It certainly waltzed us off towards the holiday with many happy smiles.

The BSO has a typically busy Christmas season in view. It launched the celebrations early in this lovely evening. We hope the musicians all open as rich a hamper themselves on Christmas Day.

To see what else we’ve got coming up this season click here