The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra concert might have been a further instalment of September's German Masters, featuring the same trusted triumvirate of Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Schumann.

A bumper audience was welcomed by Leonore Overture No.3 with Giordano Bellincampi showing his customary flair from the start, as Beethoven's opening fortissimo subsided gracefully into a piano whisper.

It was a performance that both finessed the composer's Adagio subtleties and enjoyed his Allegro jubilation.

Isabelle van Keulen was a forceful soloist in Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, too much so perhaps when the cadenza came along.

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The central Andante charmed with uncluttered lyricism. Elsewhere unexpected departures from the printed score included bizarre percussive pizzicato chords in an otherwise well-mannered finale.

Van Keulen relaxed at encore time. If her arrangement of the Aria from Bach's Goldberg Variations was a little rubato-laden, there was compensation in the earthy pungency of dissonant cadences.

Schumann's Second Symphony was summarily dismissed by one critic in 1952 as a pathetic failure from the pen of a mentally challenged composer.

In these times, we know better. Its bold idiosyncrasies were positively embraced on stage, especially in the unpredictable rush of its scherzo.

Inevitably, the high point was a lingering slow movement, the bloom of its shapely melody passed on from eloquent violins to a succession of gorgeous woodwind solos.

What: Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra
Where: Auckland Town Hall
When: Thursday