Who has the power, the authority to fix the moment when a major public event can start? In broadcast events, such as the Proms, where all of the concerts are broadcast on Radio 3 and many are televised, the bigger, virtual audience puts the media in the driving seat. The radio or TV producer holds sway - up to the moment when the conductor steps out into the hall.

© BBC/Riccardo Musacchio
© BBC/Riccardo Musacchio

It's more extreme than that in sport, of course. For many years, it's been obvious: the media, and Sky TV in particular rule down to the finest detail. The referee and the players in a soccer match are obliged to wait in place on the pitch for the nod from the TV producer. The ad break has to be over before the starting whistle can be blown. Perhaps, after the momentous events of this week, even that balance of power may start to change....

At least in music, once the conductor is onstage, the autonomy to set things in motion and to run the show should reside with him or her. That's the theory. But Myung Whun Chung appears to be different. He is just as happy to give that prerogative away. In two of the three works of Prom 6 last night, Chung just stood back for the openings, and allowed his fine wind soloists to pick their moments for themselves.

The principal french horn in Weber's Oberon overture played his pianissimo opening sweetly enough. But a near-capacity Proms audience, still frantically busy getting itself comfortable and its impedimenta in place, was not the context for Weber's diaphanous orchestral textures from the land of the fairies to be heard, let alone savoured.

By contrast, Chung's - and our - wait for the bassoonist to pick his moment to start Stravinsky's Rite of Spring was well worth it. The unique and ghostly sound of a French “basson” made that moment stand out, and ushered in a performance of the work which had both bite and character.

Chung's tendency to just let things happen did not just affect the beginnings of works. In the main piece of the first half, the Brahms Double concerto, with a cautious beat, his stick often pointing to the floor, Chung appeared content to allow his soloists, Renaud Capucon on violin and Gautier Capucon on cello, to linger, to rubato their own sweet way through the work.

Perhaps this approach comes from Chung's unique perspective on the Brahms concerto. With a violinist and a cellist for his older sisters, Chung's conductor role in that work will also have been the subservient kid brother role for most of his life. The character of this Prom performance was very unlike that of his fine 2007 recording with the Capucons, which instead of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, precise but cautious, has the youthful, going-for-it Mahler Chamber Orchestra.

That recording feels closer to the spirit of the work than last night's performance, which had a tendency to retreat into the “innig” (German for an introspective state of mind.) Brahms' concerto, his last work for orchestra, is a huge leap forwards from the earlier, fey Schumann cello concerto in the same key of A minor, and much more in the character of the Dvorak concerto of 1895, which Brahms called "a real piece, a male piece."

Brahms' mode of discourse from the outset is heroic, extrovert. The opening cello salvo covers virtually the whole of the four octave range of the instrument. It stands as a statement of intent to be anything-but-Schumann. The boldness and assertiveness of the work went missing somewhere in the Albert Hall last night. Indeed the two soloists were to keep their most convincing and mutually supportive playing last night for their first half encore, Halvorsen's virtuoso arrangement of Handel's Chaconne.

The highlight of the evening was Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, which Chung- as he had done throughout the concert - conducted from memory. As Stephen Walsh writes, in the superb programme note for last night's programme, the music carries a “violent charge because of the context and the force of delivery.” The Orchestre Philharmonique, propelled by its excellent percussion section, at last came into its own.