St Giles Orchestra is 30 this year, and while Saturday’s concert wasn’t billed as an anniversary event, it easily could have been with this feel-good programme. The opening piece, Josek Suk’s Fantastic Scherzo, certainly had a celebratory feel to it, and got the evening off to a rousing start with a performance that abounded with energy and warmth. Particularly memorable was the lovely fluid, sonorous tone from the cellos in the recurring waltz theme, but the brass and wind sections also made their presence felt in this joyful miniature.

Former orchestra leader Caroline Duffner, now a professional violinist based in Vienna, returned to the fold for Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto Opus 35. The composer’s intended soloist, Leopold Auer, was apparently uncomfortable with the technical demands of this piece, but Duffner had no qualms, and she dazzled with her virtuosic handling of Tchaikovsky’s melodic and rhythmic gymnastics, while her impressive double stopping and glissando in the extended first movement cadenza was mesmerising in its brilliance.

It was hard to believe, listening to the joyful outbursts during the first movement, that Tchaikovsky was recovering from depression when he wrote this piece. A darker mood pervaded the second movement, though, and conductor Geoffrey Bushell ensured a poignant contrast between the two moods. The third movement was a contrast again, with a rousing Russian Cossack march – here, Tchaikovsky the ballet composer was very much in evidence.

Beethoven’s Pastoral symphony is arguably his loveliest, with that glorious opening melody that rises dreamily before breaking into a joyous crescendo. The players were clearly enjoying the lighter mood, and did full justice to Beethoven’s evocative melodies that so effectively conjure up images of pastoral serenity. The second movement was played with great tenderness, while the final movement captured the exuberance of the opening and the sudden violence of the storm to great effect.

This was my first experience of the St Giles Orchestra but not, I hope, my last.