A sudden cold snap proved an incentive to crowd into the Town Hall for the rich, warm sounds of Dvorak, whose 7th Symphony occupied the orchestra until interval. The performance was to be a triumph. Although the first movement has been called harsh, folk motifs from the composers beloved Czech homeland softened the themes, particularly when articulated by flute and clarinet. The conformation of the orchestra (with strings at the forefront on both sides of the conductor) also allowed a partnership with winds and brass, thus conveying a powerful sound throughout the work. Conductor Alexander Brigers operatic background stood him in good stead in drawing out solos – and in the syncopation and sudden changes in dynamics. His good temper was tested and not found wanting as the movement ended when (unusually) late-comers were admitted. They trooped in with a strongly percussive effect, thanks to the Town Halls wooden floors. The orchestra also recovered well from the interruption, going on to deliver a serene Adagio, then a rigorous Scherzo and warm, flowing Trio. But the best was the last: the opening bars of the final movement had the hint of a big finish and the audience was not disappointed. In fact, the applause was so thunderous that some members of the MSO looked quite shocked. After interval, the youthful winner of the 2006 Australian National Piano Award, Amir Farid, took to the stage as soloist in the Mozart Piano Concerto No.21. It is (rather irritatingly) known as the Elvira Madigan concerto, because of its second movements importance in the 1967 Swedish film of that name. The pianist has a long wait while the orchestra introduces the concerto, and Farid became so caught up in its gentle rhythm that he swayed from side to side, at times quite alarmingly. However, once his fingers hit the keys, everything was forgotten other than his precise, yet sensitive touch. There would be no disappointment in the all-too-famous slow movement; Farids assured interpretation of the entire work was entirely satisfying. Then the MSO in its wisdom decided to get the blood stirring before the audience went out to face the Collins St cold, and so ended with Janaceks Sinfonietta. For this work, a phalanx of brass players was added and stretched across the top part of the stage. The resulting sound drowned out even the most determined coughers and indeed, took the collective breath away. It was a brilliant end to a very successful concert but I must confess Id have been as happy to end with the Mozart cliché or not.