‘Is he still alive and playing?” was the reaction when I mentioned I was going to hear Menahem Pressler. Very much so on both counts is the answer. Founder pianist with the Beaux Arts Trio in 1955, he continued until the group disbanded in 2008. Now aged 87, Pressler’s energy seems little diminished — for this year’s Oxford Philomusica Piano Festival he conducted masterclasses for a day and a half, then delivered a Mozart piano concerto plus a substantial encore in the Sheldonian.

The concerto was Mozart’s last, No 27, K595. The serene, sometimes almost laid-back, nature of the work seemed to suit Pressler to a tee. Bringing out the frequent major/minor switches in luminous fashion, and matched precisely by the Oxford Philomusica under Marios Papadopoulos, Pressler started gently in the opening Allegro, dwelt lovingly on every note in the central Larghetto, and launched in light, dancing style into the finale. Although he had the score in front of him, this was no sterile note picking, but very much a live concert performance, which seemed to be summed up by the sunny grin that he delivered to the audience at the end.

The Mozart concerto was the meat encased in a Mendelssohn sandwich. Papadopoulos and his orchestra began with Mendelssohn’s Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream. Adopting a more heavyweight approach than some conductors, Papadopoulos whipped up an almost Brahmsian storm as Bottom finds himself transformed into a creature with an ass’s head, while the fairies scurried about busily.

There were strong dynamic contrasts, too, in Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 4 , the ‘Italian’. Opening with a crisply played Allegro, topped by a pair of full-blooded trumpets (alas no players’ names listed in the programme), Papadopoulos brought out the measured tread of the Neapolitan religious procession in the second movement to great effect, while the energetic finale had the Philomusica playing its socks off.