Russian orchestras have strength in depth and sometimes a history of earning their keep beyond the workload of their modern-day counterparts.

The great Leningrad Philharmonic has changed its name a few times and since the collapse of the Soviet Union is now the St Petersburg Philharmonic.

But since the 1930s there has existed another big orchestra in the city, the St Petersburg Symphony, which began life as the Leningrad Radio Orchestra. Its most memorable moment came in 1942 when its surviving members performed Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony while the city was under siege by German troops.

It recently celebrated its 80th anniversary, thirty of those years with chief conductor Alexander Dmitriev, and at this concert fulfilled most expectations of how a Russian orchestra deals with Russian music.

But first it dealt with English music in the shape of the Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis by Vaughan Williams. Concert platform versions of this work can never match those in places where the musicians can be geographically divided but this one did offer a taste of what was to come from the orchestra's enviable string section. To get to its full flowering in Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony it made its way via Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in which the courageous and articulate soloist was Moscow-born Alexander Sitkovetsky, a protégé of Yehudi Menuhin. The work was played as though its considerable difficulties did not exist.

Those strings proved beyond doubt that the symphony is really held together by gorgeous melodies and Dmitriev ensured that they arrived with wave-breaking insistence.