The sheer diversity of Leonard Bernstein's music creates a dilemma for anyone planning a concert of his work. Include a bit of everything, or stick to one genre?
Brilliantly Bernstein, the title of Friday's programme, made a third choice and focused on Bernstein the showman, offering some of his finest scores for Sakari Oramo and the CBSO to dazzle us with, and an entertaining selection of songs to engage the vivacious talents of Kim Criswell.
Oramo seemed to enjoy it hugely, sashaying to the beat, indulging in an unusually generous amount of arm waving, and generally having a ball.
True, the Candide Overture was a bit too fidgety for complete comfort, but his handling of Prelude, Fugue and Riffs was spot-on, with tight, communicative beats to guide the players (star clarinettist Timothy Lines actually the first among equals) towards the punch-drunk, rabblerousing final cacophony. Terrific stuff.
Equally thrilling, if in a less visceral way, was the suite of Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, not only for its rhythmic precision - percussionists spectacularly to the fore in their displays of ebullience and sensitivity - but the richness and beauty of the orchestral sound, lovingly detailed by Oramo and enhanced by a wonderful aural immediacy.
Criswell was great in the big-and-brassy numbers like One Hundred Easy Ways to Lose a Man and I can cook too.
She also achieved some delightfully light touches, notably so in Somewhere from West Side Story, and gave us the evening's genuine rarity, Dream with Me, intended for a long-forgotten production of Peter Pan.
As a simple romantic ballad, it showed Bernstein at his least pretentious and Criswell at her most elegant.