This second volume of Beethoven Symphonies conducted by Thomas Adès embraces a perky Fourth – Britten Sinfonia particularly poised and precise in the Finale; an urgent and blazing Fifth; and, as a whole, a standout fresh-faced ‘Pastoral’, especially notable for a nippy Scherzo and an elemental ‘Storm’. Throughout these three Symphonies Britten Sinfonia members are stalwart collaborators, and Adès observes all repeats.

The music of Gerald Barry is certainly challenging – yet so was Beethoven’s and maybe it still is, or should be. The Irishman’s quirky output is governed by a sense of theatre, as the Viola Concerto (2019) establishes immediately – a circus atmosphere suggested (as at the start of Berg’s Lulu), viola-player, Laurence Power, as chief attraction. This fifteen-minute score pulsates, plenty for the brass to do (more than the soloist!), although there’s room for something hymn-like and for some whistling, which overall will either compel or repel; I am in the former camp. For twenty minutes The Conquest of Ireland (1996, using a text from the twelfth century, included in the booklet) dazzles in its drama and virtuosity – if you respond to Ligeti in madcap mode (grand and macabre, if you know what I mean) you’ll like this. I do, relishing the unpredictability and the complexity. Bass Joshua Bloom is staggering. The recorded sound is excellent. Signum Classics SIGCD639 (2 CDs).