THESE are an emotional four stars.

Space is tight, so I'm going to give a brief response to the concert which featured the great Canadian bass-baritone Gerald Finley in a performance of Peter Lieberson's Songs of Love and Sorrow; and, with Finley again, soprano Ida Falk Winland and the RSNO Chorus, all conducted by the impressive Dutchman Lawrence Renes making his RSNO debut, a moving performance of Brahms's German Requiem.

Can human tragedy, irony, heart-warming sympathy and yet further tragedy all occupy the same space? Yes they can, and did, in a story about the composer Peter Lieberson, who wrote a memorial to his late wife, a famous singer, then, on writing a second piece, contracted the same illness and died last year.

Gerald Finley, in a powerfully controlled yet emotional performance of that second set of Lieberson songs, cut to the heart of the music, which pulsed with love, ache and loss. Deeply Romantic and profoundly emotional music. As is Brahms's great German Requiem, which received a musical performance from soloists and chorus.

It is a fact the RSNO Chorus never sounds particularly good in the Royal Concert Hall, which doesn't have a choral acoustic: you have to hear beyond the actual sound, which is tough. Within that limitation, and a shortage of tenors, they did a good job.