The major works selected for by the LPO for their final series concert at the Congress Theatre were both written for the ballet. 

de Falla’s ‘Three Cornered Hat’ and excerpts from ‘ Romeo and Juliet’ by Sergei Prokovief were designed to accompany dance: their exhilarating rhythms and colourful orchestration would play second fiddle to the action on stage. 

But the chance to listen properly without the distraction of dance – to hear the perfection of an orchestra in total command of its forces and occasionally even not to watch the dazzling players but sit and absorb Falla’s sophisticated version of a Spanish flamenco or the muscular power of Prokovief’s astringent harmonies, was a rare treat.  

The sharp edges of  an anti-romantic Romeo and Juliet were played with astonishing focus and absolute precision: notable were leader Vesselin Gellev and principal cellist  Pei-Jee Ng. 

A guitar fantasia by Rodrigo made a lyrical contrast with the pretty variations on the  gentle waltz melody. 

Soloist  Xuefei Yang performed with virtuouso sensitivity although perhaps missing a certain bite in dramatic passagework. Jaime Martin led the enormous orchestra, included its assorted castanets and xylophone, with panache, passion and intensity.