Cymbals crashed, tambourines rattled, the triangle threw a sprinkling of silver over the orchestral clatter that opens Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio espagnol, and the CBSO's Spanish picture was one full of red and earthen colours, varied textures and well directed dynamic developments. The musicians gave it transparency where needed and opened the windows to let in sound scraps of travelling folk in the third movement violin solo, aptly played gypsy-style with scratching attack and quick, strong vibrato.

Yevgeny Sudbin © Clive Barda
Yevgeny Sudbin
© Clive Barda
While the various solo passages for the violin still hint at the composer's initial plan for the piece to be set for violin and orchestra, he later abandoned this in favour of a compositional outline that allows all groups of the orchestra to display their art. And they shone, from Oliver Janes' lively clarinet to Marie-Christine Zupancic's bubbling flute. The orchestra seemed to burst with energy, expressed with softer articulation in the woodwinds, proud brass and ever-precise percussion, culminating in wild, whirling abandon - a magnificent noise!

How different a picture Scriabin's Piano Concerto painted after this exuberance of sunshine and joy. "No one was more famous during their lifetime, and few were more quickly ignored after death," writes Scriabin's biographer, and there is at least some truth to it as his works still seem to be programmed fairly infrequently – unjustifiedly so! Just listen to his wonderfully emotional piano concerto for a few minutes. It is a work awash with Chopinesque sentiment and lush orchestral passages that often threaten to smother the piano's expressive chord statements in the first movement.

Yevgeny Sudbin often surrendered to the orchestra's forces, but then again wound his way out in intricate tracery, tender, round articulation and a brilliant tone without acidity. While one would often have wished to hear more of him and just a little bit less orchestral sweep, his playing mirrored the great influence Chopin had on Scriabin's early works, not just in the fleeting arpeggios, but also the mazurka with alternating tender, dreamy passages and a more energetic, resolute reply that, heard just one, will not leave your head for weeks.

Sudbin played with relaxed concentration, using his fingers rather than the entire arm, as if he was playing Chopin's very own 19th century Pleyel. His strokes were very controlled and rounded, almost all emphasis came from the wrists which otherwise breathed along with the phrases. There were no great gestures, no mannerisms, just a very honest, solemn and modest performance that made for my personal highlight that afternoon.

Cut and rewind to Beethoven's Third Symphony. While a little remote in terms of period, it fits in neatly with the programming aiming to let all instruments shine equally brightly and closed the circle to the afternoon's opening piece with crisp chords. It appeared as if conductor Michael Seal had intended to take the first movement at a slightly faster pace, but the cellos breathed the main theme when the tempo slowed just a fraction and remained moderate. Seal shaped the Marcia funebre with transparency that allowed the violins' lines to stand out, yet they didn't quite come across with the "remarkable sense of grief" as mentioned in the programme notes. For that, a little less focus towards the end of the phrase would have been needed, and a little more drama to leave the end of the interjections open, leading nowhere, chopping the lines into those choked sobs of overwhelming sadness.

The CBSO ploughed into wonderfully stormy seas, with rumbling lower strings. All through the symphony up to the final orchestral, storm, the orchestra brought out Beethoven's trademark motivic economy with well placed accents, fine dynamics, strong focus and many nuances, and not a sign of exhaustion (not an easy feat in Beethoven's large-scale movements and extremely physical string parts!), not a bow-hair out of cue and place. It was a delightful afternoon with big, sweeping music that one would come to here again, and again.