It was all about colour, this pairing of late 20th-century French music and 19th-century Russian: fleeting, elusive shades in the case of Henri Dutilleux; a stream of passionate primary colours in the case of Tchaikovsky. And who better than the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, flying ever higher under principal conductor Kirill Karabits, to encompass that range? No wonder the broadcasters beat a regular path to Poole these days, as the BBC did on this occasion for a live Radio 3 relay.

Jean-Guihen Queyras © François Sechet
Jean-Guihen Queyras
© François Sechet

Dutilleux's Cello Concerto, premiered in 1970, is entitled Tout un monde lointain, words taken from a Baudelaire poem and translated as A Whole Distant World – and yes, there is a sense of remoteness at times, with plentiful use of both the soloist's and the orchestral strings' upper registers, and eerie effects from a busy percussion section.

Although the music requires a large orchestra, it is used economically. Words such as 'hypnotic' and 'atmospheric' repeatedly forced their way into mind. Yet both soloist Jean-Guihan Queyras and the orchestra also achieved a sense of an active, human response: where Baudelaire wrote of “songes”, Queyras duly gave us dreams; where the poet wrote of “nos deux coeurs”, the musical pulse beat urgently. This work's appeal is more rarefied than that of the famous Dvořák, Elgar and Shostakovich concertos but strikes to the heart of those who have ears to hear. Queyras followed it with the Sarabande from Bach's Cello Suite no. 2 in D major, played with a sublime, mellow melancholy.

Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony strikes more directly to the heart than Dutilleux's music, brimming with a characteristic array of passionate melodies and harmonies, yet it remains neglected – presumably because of the large orchestral forces it demands. This is a mature work, coming between the Fourth and Fifth of the composer's six numbered symphonies, and it showed Karabits in his element. His control of long, lyrical lines with a seemingly light touch, balanced by a sharp clarity of attack, was entirely characteristic of his work.

The woodwind blend was perfectly judged, with this season's new principal bassoon, Tammy Thorn, fitting adroitly and expressively into the blend. This was especially evident at the end of the slow movement where Karabits typically judged the con moto direction to a nicety.

Nicolas Fleury, the BSO's masterly principal horn, also distinguished himself yet again in Manfred – both soloistically and as leader of a section that has never sounded better.