We needed the joyous, sensuous life-enhancement of the great hymn to love which is Messiaen's Turangalila Symphony after the emotional batterings of Janacek's gratuitously gory Taras Bulba on Tuesday.
The Rhapsody's unremitting litany of torture and death summons cubist juxtapositions of primary orchestral colour (and even an unashamed reference to the death-throes of Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel, graphically delivered by the CBSO under Ilan Volkov.
The Messiaen has become one of the CBSO's signature-tunes over the years, and here Volkov brought a narrative cohesiveness to the 10 huge movements which can sometimes pass by as a disparate sequence.
He brought out the Tristan und Isolde subtext to an extent I have never previously encountered, and cultivated linear clarity from the vast orchestra rather than blockbusting bludgeoning.
Also varying from previous hearings was the delicate, sensitively-pointed pianism of Steven Osborne. As Gerald Larner points out in his brilliant programme-note, the piano part is "heroic", and here we had outbursts and flourishes which would not have been out of place in a late-romantic concerto, all handled with such finesse.
And Cynthia Millar's rendering of the idiosyncratic, proto-Doctor Who Ondes Martenot contribution just grows in subtlety and infinite variation. She combines pert, almost baroque articulation of keyboard passages with undeniably erotic slitherings with her thumb-ring up and down the instrument's vibrating string, sliding and bubbling, and produces a range of attack and timbre which enhances one's respect for a vehicle whose cartoony tones risk sounding jokey and dated.
Now, does anyone know of a recording of the 1949 Boston Symphony Orchestra premiere of this fabulous piece, Bernstein conducting?