We've had enough patriotic flag waving in recent weeks, so this Fourth of July celebration of America's most illustrious 20th century composers was doubly welcome.
No flags, no marches: Glorious Gershwin and Brilliant Bernstein - fronted by the erudite and enthusiastic (and occasionally self-important) Humphrey Burton - was simply a showcase for Gershwin and Bernstein's musical genius, the marvellous Philharmonia Orchestra and John Wilson, leading exponent of light, theatre and screen music and, as a conductor, a refreshingly unfussy, safe pair of hands.
The orchestral meat came in the first half, with a Girl Crazy overture as sassy as Times Square at show time, and a Rhapsody in Blue played by last-minute substitute pianist Mark Bebbington in a carefully considered, if not entirely carefree, manner.
Topping both, though, was Robert Russell Bennett's Porgy and Bess symphonic portrait, packed with all Gershwin's great tunes and a wonderful example of the arranger's art. Musically it seemed as comprehensively satisfying as the opera itself - only with the dull bits, of which there are many, left out.
After the interval Kim Criswell, in songs by Bernstein, revisited territory she explored so zestfully with the CBSO in a similar concert here last November.
But it was good to hear them again, especially One Hundred Easy Ways to Lose a Man, I can cook too, and the lovely Dream with Me.
Best of all were her two encores, Some Other Time a meltingly beautiful tear-jerker (one of the finest songs ever written in my opinion, with its subtle phrase-lengths and key changes), and the show-stopping I got rhythm, as powerfully ebullient and as formidable as the great Ethel Merman herself.