Earlier in the evening, Jiri Belohlavek and the BBC Symphony treated us to a vigorous account of Bartok's rarely heard tone-poem Kossuth, a Straussian tour de force that charts the heroic exploits of Lajos Kossuth against the Austrians in 1848-9. Zarathustra is much in evidence, Dvorak too; and although hardly a masterpiece on the level of, say, Ein Heldenleben (Bartok's obvious point of reference), Kossuth has plenty to commend it - not least a stirring battle scene where the hero crosses musical swords with the Austrians and their imperial anthem. Next came a piquantly scored sequence of folk-song orchestrations by Luciano Berio, 11 in all from as far afield as America, Armenia, France, Sicily, Italy, Sardinia, Azerbaijan and the Auvergne (two songs that Canteloube also set in his Chants d'Auvergne). Mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung was the vivacious and personable soloist (she made a great impact with the Azerbaijan finale), Belohlavek traced plenty of telling instrumental detail and the audience was evidently delighted. The concert ended with a clear-headed, fairly sensitive account of Dvorak's Eighth Symphony. Belohlavek indulged one or two rhetorical ritardandi in the opening Allegro con brio; he made tender poetry of the second movement's coda, while in the third movement he had the violins dip to a seductive piano. The finale was distinguished by taut rhythms and wildly trilling horns but although the coda had plenty of gusto, I would have welcomed a tad more reverie in the "loving farewell" that preceded it. Still, the performance hit target and the promenaders responded true to form - though with a second concert near to hand, there was no time for an encore. A shame, really, because Belohlavek is a dab hand at Dvorak miniatures.
Friday's Prom is repeated Tuesday 2pm, BBC Radio 3Reuse content