Craig Ogden/Royal Northern Sinfonia, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Michael Tumelty

Four stars

What a turn up-for the books at the Usher Hall in Sunday, with the crowd baying for more from guitarist Craig Ogden who wasn’t even billed to be playing until late last week. This is the music business at its sharpest: when somebody falls ill or is indisposed, somebody else takes over the gig, gives it their own slant, and everything ignites. |What you hear is real edge-of-the-seat playing, and the electricity of immediacy and professionalism in harness.

Star guitarist Milos had the gig. The Royal Northern Sinfonia, whose regular turf is The Sage, was to play a few classics in an opening section, Milos would take a central solo slot then, together, they’d play Rodrigo’s iconic Concierto de Aranjuez. No conductors allowed. The RNS was directed from the front by leader Bradley Creswick, familiar in Scotland as a regular leader, with some of his players also regular figures north of Gateshead.

But Milos damaged his hand, so Ogden, a frequent contributor to Classic FM and elsewhere, took over that slot. The band is a good, meaty bunch, with real-life, unpretentious and exhilarating playing of Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony, lean and intense in Barber’s Adagio, and taut as a drum-skin in Mozart’s Linz Symphony. Ogden came on and entranced the crowd, mesmerising his listeners with his heart-stoppingly authentic rendition of George Harrison’s Here Comes the Sun and a near-unbelievably-exquisite arrangement of McCartney’s Yesterday by, of all people, Toru Takemitsu. I couldn’t breathe. Rodrigo’s Concierto was played with a good mix of duende and classical economy, while Ogden also delivered a clutch of iconic Spanish numbers with style and cool panache. A great reception.