The last of the Brighton Philharmonic’s concerts in 2011 appeared to be aiming for a family audience. Well, there didn’t appear to be many families there, but no doubt it could be said the subscribers were young at heart.

The afternoon began with the overture to Hansel And Gretel, as satisfyingly solid and sweet as a Black Forest gateau. The other item in the first half could, on the other hand, be likened to a crêpes Suzette. Dohnanyi’s Variations On A Nursery Song is a minor masterpiece that used to be coupled with Rachmaninov’s Paganini Rhapsody and to which it can be favourably compared. This delectable concoction might have been written by Brahms if he had a sense of humour. Its variations on Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star wittily send up the style of that master, Liszt, Strauss and many others.

The bravura piano writing was entrusted to Evelina Puzaite, whose playing was as neat, glamorous and charming as her appearance. Unfortunately, however, the BPO were unable to emulate her performance. In the many delicate and quicksilver variations they seemed to have their work cut out playing the notes rather than making music.

The orchestra redeemed themselves after the interval by their performance of the best-known extracts from Swan Lake. This is their conductor Barry Wordsworth’s happy hunting ground and consequently the playing was polished, sumptuous and expressive, with the violin solos elegantly executed by their leader, John Bradbury. So the audience went home happy. Pity, though, about the under-rehearsed nursery variations.