Perth Festival

BBC Philharmonic

Perth Concert Hall

Miranda Heggie

Four stars

As part of this year's Perth Festival of the Arts, Sunday evening saw the BBC Philharmonic joined by trumpet soloist Tine Thing Helseth give a rousing programme of Tchaikovsky, Hummel and Beethoven. Opening with Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings, the vast string section of the orchestra produced a lush and vivid sound, which, though rich in colour had a crisp, clean polish. The regal, stately melodies of the first movement were played with a refined passion, with Andrew Gourlay's stylish conducting teasing out the subtleties of the music. Overlapping layers of harmony and texture in the final movement of the suite, marked Tema Russo (Russian Theme) - the theme being derived from traditional Russian folk melodies - created a complex carpet of sound.

Moving on to Johann Hummel's Trumpet Concerto in E flat major, Norwegian trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth gave an intelligent and perceptive reading of what is a staple of the solo trumpet repertoire. Sweet and clear in tone throughout, her ornamentation flowed seamlessly as she illuminated many different shades and colours of her instrument. Dialogue between trumpet and orchestra was consistent in its sensitive balance, with a remarkable synergy between all those on stage.

The orchestra displayed its true vivacity, however, in the second half, with an invigorating rendition of Beethoven's 7th symphony. Gourlay maintained complete control of the sound, guiding the orchestra through measured crescendos and emphasising the stark dynamic contrasts between powerful chords in the strings and more gentle melodies from woodwind. The second movement, marked allegretto, opened with mysterious, almost suggestive playing from the lower strings. However, it was the brass who really shone in this performance, cutting through the orchestra with a warm, ringing sound.