In dedicating this year’s Benevolent Fund concert to the memory of Felix Kok, the CBSO paid tribute to its former leader with a programme he would have known well.
At its core was Bruch’s G minor Violin Concerto, played by the young Russian violinist Alina Pogostkina with fetching warmth and grace, and a romantic richness entirely free of schmaltz. Her treatment of the soulful Adagio, in particular, showed a remarkably subtle range of colour, while the extraordinary clarity and definition of her passagework lifted the outer movements way above the mere workmanlike.
The CBSO’s support, nuanced at all times, showed just as much attention to expressive detail, qualities that conductor Vassily Sinaisky also brought to his reading of Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8. This, too, was refreshingly unsentimental, luxuriating in burnished melodies, displaying throughout an open heartedness and directness as uncomplicated as a summer’s day.