First of all, the buzz was still there. Two years on from Zubin Mehta’s stellar 2013 concerts, the Australian World Orchestra’s previous gathering seemed fresh in the collective memory and with new kid on the AWO block Sir Simon Rattle due at the stumps, you could have cut the atmosphere with a knife. As Sir Simon recognised in his post show speech, “you don’t only have to say it’s a national treasure; it’s an international treasure,” and over the next two and a half hours conductor and players (ex-pats and otherwise) proved exactly why.

Rattle is an old hand at the music of the impressionist master Claude Debussy having embraced and conducted it from his early years in Birmingham. Thirteen years at the helm of the Berlin Philharmonic has given him plenty of experience of taming one of the bigger beasts in the orchestral jungle. That combination resulted in a substantial performance of Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, yet one imbued with enormous delicacy, from the exquisitely finessed opening flute solo (Alison Mitchell) to the beautifully shaded final bars. The blend was rich and rare, Rattle giving...