It’s always a pleasure when a conductor is emotionally and intellectually invested in a composer and his work beyond just the dots on the page, and Benjamin Northey is clearly committed to Aaron Copland. It was a pleasure, then, to hear him tackle the brilliant Symphony No 3, a work that for all of its populist outlook – it incorporates, and has been somewhat overshadowed by, Fanfare for the Common Man– is under-played, under-recorded and underrated.

But first a little Andrew Ford and some Rachmaninov. Ford’s Headlongwas written for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s 75th birthday in 2006, but revised last year as the composer felt it was too – well – headlong! Beginning with a great clanging of bells and brass, it’s a dynamic work with lashings of tuned percussion, that settles down in its ravishing central section with harps and shimmering strings supporting some highly attractive writing for bass clarinet and cor anglais. With the orchestra on fine form, Northey gave it a scrupulously balanced reading. With occasional echoes of Berg and Stravinsky, it’s a colourful score full of structural interest and invention, and one well worth reviving.

Rachmaninov’s Fourth Piano Concerto was the meat in the first...