Music for fantasy and fairy-tales comprise the concert’s first half. Glittering instrumental colours and melodies steeped in Russian folksong are a hallmark of Rimsky-Korsakov, both apparent in the suite, or ‘Little Pictures’, as he called them, from his fantastical opera, The Tale of Tsar Saltan.

Ravel’s Mother Goose started life as children’s piano pieces, before becoming an orchestral suite. Tonight we hear the complete ballet music, where the scenario weaves around the tale of Sleeping Beauty, Ravel having composed additional music for her. She dreams of Tom Thumb and Beauty and the Beast, amongst others, until Prince Charming awakens her with a kiss. Brahms’s Fourth Symphony completes Sir Mark’s cycle of the composer’s symphonies with the Hallé. It will be performed with the smaller number of strings Brahms himself called for, recreating the breath-taking clarity he would have known.