Only 80 years of the last century spanned the three works offered in this all-English programme from the CBSO, but what changes they showed, from the patterns and textures of Brahms and Strauss to post-modern references to jazz and street-music.
The latter fertilised the most recent piece, Mark-Anthony Turnage's Three Screaming Popes, first heard as long ago as 1989 and here launching a fascinating long-term retrospective of Feeney Trust commissions for the orchestra.
In Symphony Hall all the score's transparent luminosity could be appreciated, as well as its keening melodic lines over powerful juggernaut rhythms which underpinned so many well-imagined aural images.
Garry Walker conducted a confident, pulsating reading of this piece the orchestra knows so well.
One of Turnage's obvious influences is Britten, and that composer's haunting, evocative Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings proved a sorbet-like contrast to the heady first course. Famously remembered as the CBSO's compelling Peter Grimes four years ago, tenor John Daszak now dispelled any memories of Peter Pears in an interpretation which was entirely his own.
The requisite sensitivity towards the text was always present, but so was an arresting sense of detachment from events, like an observer gazing on the pastoral, nocturnal scene.
Principal hornist Elspeth Dutch was not above the occasional accident here, but her lip-control in the Prologue and offstage Epilogue (all on natural notes) was impressive. A reduced complement of strings brought a huge range of colour and articulation.
Elgar's First Symphony found Walker's conscientious reading falling short of creating a convincing whole greater than the sum of the many glorious parts the orchestra contributed.