I HAD thought ‘In Memoriam’ an odd title for this programme, albeit understandable given the time of year.

It still seems a bit off, but I suppose the presence of both Vaughan Williams and Elgar on the bill gave the whole affair a patriotic flavour, and the opening piece, Ravel’s Le tombeau de Couperin, does have the distinction of being written in memoriam.

Written to honour those among the French composer’s friends who were killed in the First World War, Le tombeau features four distinctive movements with some unusual but engaging harmonic ‘twists’.

It was a great opportunity to showcase the BSO’s consistently excellent woodwind section, in particular principle oboe Edward Kay. In passages full of flourishes and some interesting steps in rhythm they were crystal clear and note, and tone, perfect.

Jack Liebeck was the soloist for Vaughan Williams’ folksy nation’s favourite The Lark Ascending, with the orchestra under the baton of Richard Farnes.

The violinist’s touch was particularly light during the piece’s ethereal cadenza introduction and interlude, while bringing a sweet tone with plenty of vibrato to the dance-like middle section in a hushed and unhurried performance by the BSO.

Elgar’s Symphony No.2 is, with due respect to the master, a somewhat schizophrenic piece in which his reputation for bombast seems to have rather caught up with him, and lyrical passages are scant and swiftly curtailed.

However the orchestra seem to have made this piece something of a speciality and the performance was undeniably invigorating, the strings and horns in particular combining well to produce that Elgar sound.