British music features largely in the next couple of CBSO programmes at Symphony Hall, beginning with tonight's concert climaxing in Walton's spectacular Belshazzar's Feast.
Compact and action-packed, this mini-oratorio (it plays for around 35 minutes) tells the story of the Israelites' captivity in Babylon, the glittering feast presented by the depraved King Belshazzar, and the Israelites' unfettered rejoicing at his fall.
Walton brought many jazz elements into his score, with snappy rhythms and dance-band instruments adding their decadent colourings, but there are also passages of noble pageantry (including brass bands on each side of the orchestra) and deeply-felt emotion, too.
The local chorus-master who was preparing the work for its premiere at the Leeds Festival in 1931 found difficulty with its idiom, and the chorus, unused to not being required to stand and deliver huge Handelian set-pieces, threatened to go on strike. A brilliant young conductor and organist was brought in to save the day, and rapidly made the piece his own - Malcolm Sargent.
No such problems with tonight's forces in this tailor-made venue, when the CBSO is joined by its splendid City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus and baritone soloist James Rutherford under the baton of Sakari Oramo, always such an inspired advocate of the music of his adopted country.
Elgar's breezy, exhilarating Introduction and Allegro, giving the CBSO strings another chance to shine after their memorable Richard Strauss Metamorphosen the other week, opens the evening, which is completed by two contemporary English works.
Cellist Stephen Isserlis is soloist in the lyrical Concerto in Azzurro written for him by David Matthews three years ago, and Simon Halsey conducts the CBS Chorus in the world premiere of the complete Four American Choruses on American gospel texts written for the choir by CBSO composerinassociation Julian Anderson (7.30pm, details on 0121 780 3333).
On Tuesday Oramo and his orchestra turn their attention to two English composers greatly influenced by Beethoven (whose triumphant Fifth Symphony completes the programme).
Vaughan Williams, who found himself heavily critical of the German genius, is represented by his ethereal Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis (step forward once again the CBSO strings), premiered at Gloucester Cathedral in 1910, while Sir Michael Tippett's magically lyrical Piano Concerto takes pride of place as the second revisit in the CBSO's survey of half a century of its Feeney Trust commissions.
The concerto was premiered at Birmingham Town Hall on October 30 1956, with Louis Kentner as soloist, Rudolf Schwarz conducting.
Apparently the critics were mystified by the piece, but now, 50 years on, this wonderful concerto is recognised as one of the composer's sunniest, most immediately approachable works. Steven Osborne is soloist, and the concert begins at 7.30pm, repeated on Wednesday afternoon at 2.15pm (0121 780 3333).
Symphony Hall is also the venue for a great organ celebration on Monday, when the Royal College of Organists (soon to transfer its headquarters from temporary premises in London to Birmingham's historic Curzon Street railway station building) hosts its National Festival.
Organised in conjunction with Oundle Summer School and Symphony Hall, the day offers a unique opportunity for organists aged 19 and under to perform on the magnificent Symphony Organ and receive a written report on their playing from the renowned organist Simon Lindley. Their performances at 11am and 2.30pm flank a Celebrity Recital from Birmingham city organist Thomas Trotter at 1pm (0121 780 3333).
Pershore Abbey hosts a delightful concert on Saturday when the renowned and much-loved countertenor James Bowman makes a guest appearance with the Tewkesbury Abbey School Choir and the Emerald Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Nicholas for a concert in aid of Macmillan Cancer Relief.
Among the items in the programme are the famous Vivaldi Gloria and Elgar's Serenade for Strings (7.30pm, details on 01386 861139).