The BSO’s new Principal Guest Conductor announced his arrival in some style at the Lighthouse on Wednesday.

A few hours after his three year appointment had been unveiled by the orchestra, world-renowned Mark Wigglesworth took charge of what can only be described as a barnstormer of a performance, presaging great things to come for players and audiences alike.

Mr Wigglesworth comes with a superb CV and the special relationship between players and conductor was forged during the pandemic

He has worked with, among others, the Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony, New York Philharmonic and Royal Concertgebouw orchestras, and is known for his work in the world’s most prestigious opera houses.

He cut an imposing and commanding figure at the podium for a turbo-charged performance which gave the musicians a real work out.

It was an evening of high drama, sparkle, humour and emotion.

It opened with Mahler’s brilliant 12 minute Nicht zu schnell, full throated and dynamic, followed by Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto Number 2, breathless, sparkling in the first and third movements and with the oh so beautiful and very familiar slow, Rachmaninov-like slow movement, sublimely delivered by award winning soloist Steven Osborne.

This was mesmerising and full of magic, truly a piece that fills the heart.

The second half featured Sibelius’ Symphony Number 1. The Finnish composer does the big production number as well as anyone and this is powerful, impassioned and dramatic with some of the light and dark found in his most popular piece Finlandia.

The concert, heralding the conductor’s arrival, was an extraordinary, spine-tingling affair. Members of the audience knew they had seen something special.

A wow start, a wow finish and magic in the middle.