MAKING his second local appearance with the BSO this week, John Lill worked some more musical mastery into Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No5.

Nicknamed the Emperor. there is an imperious quality about the first movement that served this performance exceedingly well. Lill’s measures were grandly imposing yet with a fresh, lively impetus in progression.

Under Maxime Tortelier’s persuasive direction the Adagio’s sublime serenity opened the gateway to Lill’s languid artistry. The magical transition to the finale was perfectly tensioned to release the scurrying Rondo with scintillating fingerwork, and after the hushed diminuendo, delivering the final flourish with relish.

No canons, no muskets and, as Classic FM’s presenter Jamie Crick candidly observed, the wrong tunes. Never mind that the French and Russian anthems Tchaikovsky used in his 1812 Overture were not in use at the time of the battle, the performance here from Tortelier was a superb orchestral evocation with marvellous tone from the opening cellos and violas. His flowing musicianship culminated in an explosive triumph.

Brahms’ mastery of modification is exemplified by his Variations on the St, Antoni Chorale, a piece in which Tortelier took every care to suavely nuance with finely honed textures.

Of all the many opera overtures, that of Mozart’s to The Marriage of Figaro is right at the top for sparkling wit and pure joie-de-vivre, as was clearly evidenced in this jolly account.