Friday's was my first visit to Oxford's Sheldonian Theatre for a symphony concert: we had heard the OAE and Andreas Scholl there some years ago, but a full orchestra playing from the romantic repertoire was something else. If truth be told, despite the well-documented brilliance of the CBSO under its young conductor Andris Nelsons, it produced rather too harsh a sound for my ears, sitting in the first tier up. Still, the chance to listen carefully to two old warhorses (Tchaikovsky's 1st Symphony and Brahms' 1st Piano Concerto) in such virtuosic performances doesn't come often. In fact it was a treat.
My back has now recovered from sitting squashed for two hours on what is effectively a bench, an ordeal only partly offset by the beauty of Wren's architecture.
Highlight of the evening: the pianist was lissome Hélène Grimaud, her performance in the Brahms combining elegance with strength way beyond what her appearance gave me to expect.