AT the end of the day, a great performance is a great performance.

But if that's all it is, it can be shallow: quality symphony and chamber orchestras churn them out. But if that's all they do it's not enough. What counts is what these performances tell us, remind us, or tell us anew about the music to hand, and the composer who conjured it.

And that is what was so significant about the SCO's glorious set of performances on Friday night, of Weber's overture to Der Freischutz, Schumann's First Symphony and Berlioz's symphony, Harold In Italy, with the fine violist, Antoine Tamestit, as the gradually-disappearing soloist.

Of course the SCO's ensemble-playing was alluring and enthralling. And of course principal conductor Robin Ticciati's stylish, understated and economic direction, which eschews exaggerated expression, magnetically draws the ear to the music rather than its presentation.

But what mattered on Friday was the fact that Ticciati and the SCO, in these works from composers all in their thirties, revealed in the Weber the seeds of German Romanticism from which so much grew; and in the Schumann, with its playfulness and expressivity, the uniqueness of this composer, so different from his near-contemporaries ; and in Berlioz's anti-concerto, the blindingly-original conception of this Gallic magician who accepted no-one's templates or structures and forged his own path, as monumentally influential as it was seminal.

This wasn't merely a powerful concert: it was a lesson to all of us who love music; I loved every minute of it, from the thrill of the performance to its provocative impact on the mind.