Yesterday evening we drove back to Bingham from Birmingham’s Symphony Hall having enjoyed a truly wonderful time with the CBSO and Kazuki Yamada, playing their first concert back in the Hall. Their principal guest conductor for the past three years, Kazuki Yamada, was announced at the start of the concert as their new chief conductor from April 2023. From the expressions on the faces of the orchestra this was a very popular choice – rarely have I seen such wall-to-wall smiles on the faces of an orchestra, combined with corporate foot stamping to demonstrate their enthusiasm. This, naturally, spilled over into their performances in a glorious programme of the Tchaikovsky 1812 (augmented by choral elements sung beautifully by the CBSO chorus), the Poulenc Gloria, the Fauré Messe Basse (CBSO Youth Chorus conducted by the multi-talented Julian Wilkins), and the Saint-Saëns ‘organ’ symphony, in which Anna Lapwood reprised her high-octane RAH Prom with aplomb. Judging from what Kazuki Yamada extracted from the CBSO last night, his era at their helm is keenly to be anticipated.