BBC SSO, City Hall, Glasgow

Michael Tumelty

Four Stars

THERE cannot be the slightest doubt that in the young British conductor Alpesh Chauhan, assistant conductor at the CBSO, who stood in for an indisposed Donald Runnicles at the BBC SSO on Thursday night, the SSO has a real find on its hands. Before I say a word about the concert, can I speak for many in the audience (and I know this because many of them spoke to me on the point), can they please get Chauhan booked to return before he becomes either unavailable or unaffordable?

He is an extremely intelligent conductor: that fact was reflected in his mastery of obvious features, such as pacing and structuring: the sheer breadth of his delivery of Janacek's Sinfonietta made it feel like a full-scale, spacious symphony, and a seismic one of molten intensity, too, with those raw, majestic brass fanfares pinning the audience to its seats. And what a sound from that battalion of brass in the balcony. Chauhan's economic, taut and extremely stylish interpretation of Shostakovich's 15th Symphony was very clever too, because it laid down a multi-faceted perspective on what the symphony might be about. If you wanted the wit, it was there for you to giggle at, but if you prefer something more waspish, oblique, or just plain deep, that was there to dig for.

And in alliance with powerhouse pianist Garrick Ohlsson and SSO principal trumpeter Mark o'Keeffe, Chauhan presided over a tremendous account of Shostakovich's Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings that was a hilarious riot of cartoon capers, absolutely stuffed with character. A superb night for the SSO, and for us.