Just two works in this concert with the BSO at Lighthouse, Poole – but two really important compositions in the canons of their respective composers.

The orchestra dived directly into Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto, conducted by Karl-Heinz Steffens and played with great authority, but also exquisite tenderness, by Boris Giltburg. BSO audiences have been very lucky in recent months to hear some of the world’s top soloists, and Mr Giltburg certainly kept up this record. He held the audience entranced by every nuance of the giant first movement of this work. His cooperation with the orchestra continued in the passionate second movement, while the intimate Andante, opened by a glorious performance of the very Brahmsian cello theme by Jesper Svedberg, offered all the emotion one could wish for. The fourth movement brought a twinkling smile which did not fade until the final notes were played.

Mr Giltburg’s contrasting encore – a Rachmaninov Prelude  – offered a gentle moment of calm to bring the first half of the concert to a close.

After the interval, we heard Vaughan Williams’s A London Symphony. Though a relatively early work, in contrast to the Brahms, this is one of VW’s finest achievements. The orchestral scene-painting is fascinating throughout and though inspired by images of the capital city, the music permits all kinds of interpretations. The bustling first movement could just as well have depicted concert goers scurrying along Kingland Road as any scene in London. The slow movement touched profound depths – whether of town, country or even seascape matters not – with lovely solo moments, not least from cor anglais (Holly Randall), viola (Duncan Anderson) and horn (Andrew Littlemore). The Scherzo kept everyone on their toes, before the grandeur and nobility of the final movement’s march dissolved into the lingering mysterious twilight of the ending, led with customary éclat by Amyn Merchant.

Two great works, conducted with great understanding and communication by Mr Steffens, made a happy and memorable evening with the BSO.

We also received the below reviews:

“It was a wonderful performance: and it was clear from the orchestra’s spontaneous and unanimous ovation for conductor Steffens that they knew, as we did, that under his guidance they had produced something truly special.” Seen and Heard International 

“A life-affirming performance, demonstrating, once again, that the BSO is often in a class of its own.” Bachtrack

You can catch up on this Digital Concert here until 23 March