It is good to hear hidden heroes from a theatres orchestra pit, even at 4.30pm on a Saturday.
A full congregation greeted the orchestra and St Philips Cathedral Choir for a splendid concert of Russian and English music, enjoyable in spite of a yelling baby and an infernal mobile phone.
Tchaikovskys Romeo and Juliet overture covers an extensive range of possibilities, therefore conductor Koen Kessels could have been more daring with wider contrasts in this dramatic tale.
However, a cathedral is not an ideal acoustic for a full symphony orchestra, balance and distortion being two constant problems. Wood winds could have been more heart stopping and enthusiastic timpani occasionally overdid the high drama, but this is the conductors ultimate responsibility, especially as he has a good team playing for him.
Marcus Huxley conducted Rutters Gloria with the addition of Birmingham Cathedral Choir, placed in two groups at the front, but facing each other - not ideal for clarity especially in loud passages with full orchestra.
Accessible as always, Rutter charms with everything from lovely underlying flute filigrees, haunting chorus, pure solo voices, warm muted strings to energetic percussion and brass and jolly syncopations clearly executed by all in the third movement. True praise to God.
Kessels conducted again for Tchaikovskys 5th Symphony. More worrying balance taking time to settle with trombones sticking out like sore thumbs, but expansive cellos and eventually a truly lovely solo horn in the slow movement.
Finally excessive boisterous excitement sadly levelled too soon for credibility.