Giovanni Sollima is what can only be described as a one-off. A first-class soloist and specialist in early Italian cello repertoire (his CD of Neapolitan cello concertos on Glossa is an absolute delight), he also composes and, if this concert was anything to go by, is more than happy to pick up his cello (while playing) and go walkabout. It was a pleasure then to catch a maverick in full flight performing with the Australian Chamber Orchestra – a band not averse to a bit of provocative action themselves.

The program was mostly about Italy but also touched on musical travels and musical borrowings. Respighi was the launchpad – perhaps the 20th-century’s arch-borrower – a habitual pilferer of tunes old and new. Three snippets from his Third Suite of Ancient Airs and Dancesfound the ACO lead by Richard Tognetti in exceptionally sweet tone, as if to emphasise Respighi’s distinctly non-period arrangements of these 16th and 17th century earworms. Playing with a warmth that wouldn’t have disgraced a Hollywood faux-Elizabethan film score, they swooped and soared, even strumming their cellos in imitation of lutes. The final Passacagliasaw them put them through their paces to deliver a virtuoso conclusion.

Sollima then...