The cultural difference between our national symphony orchestra's dates in mainland China and the final concert in the former Portuguese colony of Macau, where the casino culture now financially outstrips that of Las Vegas, was reflected in a change of programme with Stravinsky's Firebird suite replacing the Elgar played elsewhere.
That meant the addition of pianist Lynda Cochrane to the band and the deployment of the company's celeste, which had been trucked to the other side of the world for her to play the 16 notes the Stravinsky score requires on the instrument.
Conductor Peter Oundjian's approach to the piece was very much in the style of the rest of the programme, however, lyrical and flowing rather than slavishly rhythmic, each note of the score given its maximum value, and post-Romantic rather than Modernist.
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The acoustic of the hall – yet another lovely new building, this one of the classic shoebox shape with seating extending high above the stage – was especially crisp and flattering to the strings with every detail of the harp, celeste and percussion parts always audible, alongside principal bassoon David Hubbard's crucial contribution. The dynamic finale won a deservedly rousing reception from a packed house much more Western in their demeanour.
That was where the fun started, with an end-of-term approach to the sequence of encores, the trombone section donning Jimmy wigs for the Brian Fahey arrangement of Eightsome Reels and the kilted pipers of the National Youth Pipe Band as usual winning the loudest cheers when they came on for Phil Cunningham's Cathcart and Auld Lang Syne, begun by Andrew Clark's solo.
The queue for autographs and pictures with Oundjian and Iain Crawford, the piper for Maxwell Davies's Orkney Wedding, kept the pair at the venue – and from the tour-end party – for fully half an hour.