Many plus points for Saturday's concert being an all-20th century affair.
But close barbybar analysis would reveal that the majority of the evening's interest lay in the instrumental writing - which is strange, since this was an event promoted by the legendarily hard-working City of Birmingham Choir.
Here this renowned body of singers seemed reduced at times to the status of extras, even in the main work, Rachmaninov's Edgar Allan Poeinspired The Bells, significantly subtitled a "Choral Symphony".
As one expects from this composer with such an ear for instrumental colours, the orchestra is often his chief concern, but the sonorities and shapings conductor Adrian Lucas drew from a CBSO normally so responsive to Rachmaninov disappointingly did less than justice to his lovely scoring.
The CBC sang bravely in Russian, though words sounded occasionally indistinct, and projection seemed surprisingly subdued at times. All three vocal soloists brought appropriate vocal timbres to their individual settings, tenor Andrew Carwood bright and airy, bass Stephen Gadd authoritative, soprano Judith Howarth rich in emotion, for all her head was frequently down in her music.
Howarth was less suited to the brittle subtleties of Poulenc's Gloria, where a general sense of unstylish weightiness spread to a flaccid-sounding chorus. The score's stark, clear contours failed to glitter as they should.
More Rachmaninov came with his Paganini Rhapsody (scarcely neglected in Birmingham), Jonathan French making his debut with the orchestra.
His well-weighted, adrenaline-pumping pianism deserved a more positivelydirected accompaniment, but he delivered the music's mercurial changes of mood with mature confidence and delicious understatement.
Arvo Part's Cantus needed more probing into its textures to convince me that it is anything but tediously over-rated.