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BBC SSO, City Halls, Glasgow

It should have been a hot-blooded affair: music for Valentine's Day infused with Latin passions and climes far sunnier than these.

In the event Peruvian conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya made a tepid debut with the BBC Scottish Symphony, drawing warm sounds from the orchestra but playing his interpretative hand too cool.

He conducted the programme (apart from the concerto) from memory, but kept steady and safe as if fixed to the score. The Spanish themes of Joaquin Turina's Danzas Fantasticas unfolded with vague inevitability, like flipping through a picture album rather than living and breathing the place. The opening of Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from West Side Story was nicely deadpan, but there wasn't enough danger in the brawl or recklessness in the shouts of "Mambo!". Tchaikovsky's Capriccio Italien glowed with broad brass fanfares and a vigorous tarantella, but again: too measured.

Argentinian pianist Ingrid Fliter breezed in with willowy grace for a performance of Ravel's G Major Piano Concerto that was likewise. She devoted space and seductive nuance to every phrase and playfully teased out the spiky rhythms. Her outer movements needed bite, but her tender slow movement was irresistible.

The most touching moment of the night came after the conductor had taken his final bow when the orchestra would shuffle offstage. Instead leader Laura Samuel walked over to principal second violin Chris Latham and gave him a kiss: for this concert marked Latham's retirement after 40 years with the SSO. He took a bashful bow then walked backstage for the last time.


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