ON A BALMY summer’s evening, the audience at St David's Hall was treated to a really wonderful concert by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Owain Arwel Hughes.

First up was the spirited Ruslan and Ludmilla overture (Glinka), with a lyrical middle section played by the cellos and violas.

The next two works were Aberfan by Christopher Wood – poignant, romantic, exquisitely played by just the string section, and Rigaudon by Oliver Muxworthy, lively, interesting brass, were both relatively short, and similar in that both composers were present in the audience and took a bow, rightly so.

The last work in the first half was Piano Concerto No. 2 by Rachmaninov.

The soloist, John Lill CBE, was making a welcome re-appearance in South Wales, having recently performed a memorable recital at the Lower Machen Festival. He really is a wonderful musician, and the relationship with the conductor and orchestra in this most romantic of concertos was perfect, giving full justice to the technical demands and romantic melodies.

The second half was devoted to Symphony No.5 by Tchaikovsky. From the dark E minor motif at the beginning (to re-occur throughout in many transformations), via wonderful woodwind writing ( great solos for clarinets and bassoons), lovely French horn playing in the adagio, through the waltz movement.

The majestic final movement brings the Symphony to a triumphant conclusion. This really is Tchaikovsky at his finest.    

Paul Green