How to begin and how to end? This BBC Symphony Orchestra concert was a masterclass in a tricky art. Judith Weir opts for ellipses in her new oboe concerto. The solo line strolls in as if it had just turned a corner to join us; it later simply disappears like a bird flying high up into the sky. The work finishes as unassumingly as it starts: three oboe calls followed by three string chords that fade into the distance. The effect was understated, refreshing.

The master of the Queen’s music was once an oboist, and she pays homage to Richard Strauss by using the instrumentation — wind octet and strings — of his oboe concerto. There are other echoes too in the oboe’s easy lyricism and its chattering motifs. Yet where Strauss’s concerto is the child of an Indian summer, Weir’s is as fresh as morning, bright-eyed as spring.

The soloist for this first London outing was Nicholas Daniel, his sound as piercingly beautiful as ever. Nowhere more so than in the second movement, in which the oboe sings and dances over keening strings, as direct and moving as a Handel aria.

Rebecca Franks, The Times

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