The Bolero title of Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra concert, with its promise of high-octane music making, must have played some part in drawing a near full house. However, the first few minutes of the evening were almost monastic in their austerity.

Arvo Part's Fratres is the soul of simplicity, a sombre procession from pianissimo to fortissimo and back again. Undertaken by staunchly tonal strings, punctuated with dashes of percussion, it was a profoundly immersive journey under the baton of Kazuki Yamada.

The intense, winding lines that launch Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste seemed to grow naturally from this yet