ENTITLED The Sound of Scotland, this afternoon performance by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra with conductor Martyn Brabbins featured only one composer born, bred and based in the country: Sir James MacMillan.

Polymath William Wallace, whose late 19th century symphony “The Creation” ended the programme, lived much of his life in London, and Glasgow-born Iain Hamilton, whose 1950 Clarinet Concerto soloist Robert Plane has recently championed, moved there when he was six years old and spent much of his life in the USA.

Although we often claim Judith Weir as a Scot on account of her parentage, in fact she was born and brought up in England. Her 1992 work Heroic Strokes of the Bow opened a concert that was a showcase for the SSO strings, collectively and individually.

Inspired by a work by artist Paul Klee, himself a violinist, it sonically depicts the process of painting, playing the string sections rhythmically against one another with top line flourishes added by trumpets and horns. Pre-pandemic, Weir made an acclaimed work for the Sound Festival on the occasion of the re-opening of Aberdeen Art Gallery and this was an earlier chapter in her exploration of the common ground between pictures and music.

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The MacMillan was the world premiere of Canon for Two Violas, written for the orchestra’s two-decade old front-desk partnership of Scott Dickinson and Andrew Berridge. With opening bars that seem poised to quote “Loch Lomond”, there is a Scottish traditional music feel throughout its five minutes and the duet luxuriates in the vocal range of the instruments as well as their glissando capabilities.

There’s some of the that in conductor Martyn Brabbins’s piece for the pair as well, but his “Camino” – another world premiere and inspired by his daughter’s walking of the north Spain pilgrim’s path – is as Iberian-sounding as the title suggests, with some delicious percussive touches.

Many of the orchestra sat out front at the start of the second half to hear that rare foray into composition by Brabbins, who had told this audience it is a great personal regret that he is not Scots, a sentiment he possibly doesn’t express as music director of English National Opera.

He and the SSO recorded two discs of Wallace’s Romantic compositions some years ago, but they are still rarely heard. “The Creation” Symphony is a lushly-scored response to the opening chapter of Genesis, from an organic blooming – rather than explosive instant – of “the Light”, through to a triumphal fanfare for the coming of “Man”. Very much of its time, and out of step with contemporary responses to the Biblical text, it still contains some lovely contemplative music, where the winds lead the way.

Virtuoso clarinettist Robert Plane has recorded Hamilton’s concerto with Brabbins and the SSO more recently, on a recent Champs Hill label CD, and this team were into every detail of the Walton-esque work, including a crisp exchange with orchestra leader Laura Samuel in the first movement, an Adagio sereno that has a relaxed feel common to better-known works for the instrument, and a very lively contrasting finale.