The international phenomenon Nicola Benedetti, one of the most celebrated violinists of her generation, enthralled a packed audience at the Worthing Assembly Hall on a glorious Sunday afternoon.

Playing the Brahms Violin Concerto In D with the Worthing Symphony Orchestra, she displayed flashy virtuostic skills, sensitive pianissimo expression and lively Hungarian gypsy rhythms.

The Brahms concerto, premiered in 1879, had been described as “a concerto for violin against orchestra– and the violin wins!” Her showmanship was electrifying.

Although the Worthing Symphony was somewhat tentative in the role of accompanist for the violin, they came into their own in Otto Nicolai’s uplifting, vibrant overture to The Merry Wives Of Windsor and in Dvorak’s Fifth Symphony.

This latter work, though a bit sprawling, showcased some fine playing by the brass and was an engaging performance of this lesser-known Dvorák work.

Conductor John Gibbons offered the audience an erudite but accessible précis of the works to follow whilst making a plea to support the Worthing Symphony Orchestra at the Assembly Hall.

Given the sea of white hair in the audience, one wonders why there were no budding string players in attendance to be inspired by the splendid role model offered by a young and vibrant Nicola Benedetti.

Five stars