A programme of carefully considered firsts, including a symphony bursting free of the shadows of the past.

Brahms, a lifelong perfectionist, had always maintained he would never write a symphony, seemingly convinced it would never measure up to the likes of Beethoven’s. It is therefore understandable that Brahms may have dragged his feet a little; it took almost 15 years to finish his First Symphony. Beethoven’s influence is nonetheless present, particularly in the fourth movement which is deliberately reminiscent of the ‘Ode to Joy’ melody from the finale of the great master’s ‘Choral’ Symphony.

Following Ifukube’s Japanese Suite for Orchestra, an imaginative arrangement of the composer’s earliest work, Piano Suite, we welcome Mariam Batsashvili. Mariam first gained international recognition at the 2014 Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Utrecht. Tonight she performs Liszt’s First Piano Concerto. Written over a staggering 26 years, this masterwork remains an audience favourite.