The opening chords of Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture pack and punch and there was no holding back when the Royal Northern Sinfonia, under the baton of Lars Vogt, delivered them at Sage Gateshead. An incisive account of the piece set the scene for the musical drama that followed.

Robert Schumann’s Symphony No 4 in D Minor, written 1841, was in fact the second of his symphonies.

But, after a lukewarm reception at its premier, Schumann set it aside, only to rework it later in the denser form most people are familiar with today. RNS revisited the earlier version, with Vogt showcasing it’s lighter quality in a lithe performance.

Among the highlights were a delicate rippling violin tune woven by leader Bradley Creswick through the melody of the slow movement, while the presto bubbled with effervescent energy.

Then the moment all had waited for; Vogt on the keyboard playing Brahms Piano Concerto No 1.

One of the pinnacles of repertoire, the opening to the work is said to have been conceived when Brahms learned his mentor, Schumann, had attempted suicide.

The sense of fear and terror imparted were were palpable, with Vogt shaping a lengthy orchestral introduction, before settling down to the keyboard to play a contemplative passage of tender grace.

Vogt warmed to the task as he developed the rhythmically propulsive themes of the movement, culminating in an emphatically hammered climax.

A tender slow movement offered some peace from the turmoil of the first movement, before a rollicking romp of a rondo.

Gavin Engelbrecht