I had never seen a sensation like it when the young Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel stepped in at very short notice for a Symphony Hall concert last summer.
Shrewdly, the CBSO had already engaged him for this current season, and on Wednesday night Dudamel made his debut with the orchestra. A great deal of media interest surrounds this gifted, charismatic and charming musician, and in fact footage of this concert even found its way onto BBC1's Ten O'Clock News.
What a pity then that viewers saw so many empty seats to greet a conductor who has been praised to the skies, not least in this newspaper.
Perhaps the programme, not the most inspiring in the orchestra's history, kept half the hall away.
Not even Dudamel's temperamentally attuned grasp of the Sinfonia India by the Mexican Carlos Chavez, nor the orchestra's brilliant and generous response could redeem this clunky piece. Tedious despite its application of native rhythms and exotic percussion (sometimes seen but not heard), it evoked images of Vaughan Williams on speed.
And another pseudo-symphony, Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole, did little to raise the spirits. Coarsely scored, raucously balanced (not these performers' fault), it is another piece sounding far longer than its stated length.
Olivier Charlier was the elegant violin soloist, deploying chocolatey, smoky habanera tones where appropriate, and elsewhere sprightly and sweet when the music dared to try to sound like Mendelssohn.
And it was Mendelssohn who injected some quality music into the programme with a genuine symphony, his powerfully atmospheric Scottish.
Dudamel enthused his players to a lithe, sonorous reading, with noble cellos and horns pointing the way to a blazing finale.
Christopher Morley ..SUPL: