A knight at the piano, another knight on the podium, a night in Manchester (May 16, Bridgewater Hall) for, Brexit notwithstanding, the second European performance (the first was the evening before) of Sir Stephen’s Piano Concerto. (The Utah world premiere was conducted by another sword-on-the-shoulder recipient, Donald Runnicles.) It’s a very engaging piece, opening in the orchestra sweetly and nostalgically, the pianist given an extended cadenza (embracing composer-acknowledged shades of Bill Evans’s jazz style) cueing an airy and attractively varied waltz (elements of Rachmaninov and such as The Dream of Olwen) leading to an exuberant and dancing final section, remaining lively to the end. I believe Hyperion has, or will, record this likeable score.

Following this Hallé performance Hough played his own arrangement of ‘Feed the Birds’ from Mary Poppins (as filmed with Julie Andrews). The concert started with a dogged if detailed account of Dvořák’s Scherzo capriccioso – notable for Elder observing the repeat of the melancholy cor anglais-led middle section, rarely taken. Following the Concerto, two staples of the Hallé/Elder repertoire: George Butterworth’s Housman-inspired A Shropshire Lad and Elgar’s Enigma Variations, the former spacious and otherworldly, the latter lived-in yet freshly considered, ‘Nimrod’ particularly poignant, the closing apotheosis unapologetically broad, emotionally powerful.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001z6dh