The talk of the town before this Russian evening on Saturday was the appearance of Alessandro Taverna, the young Venetian pianist whose multiple prizes have included being a finalist in the 2009 Leeds Piano Competition. His masterclass at York St John University the day before had done nothing to calm the hype.

But his solo role in Prokofiev’s Third Concerto turned heads for unexpected reasons. One expected fireworks, maybe even some Mediterranean temperament. Not a bit of it. Here was a cool head on extremely musical shoulders.

Simon Wright’s orchestra, looking – and sounding – a little more svelte than in recent concerts, was restrained in the opening bars. Taverna, seeking no spotlight, fitted right in. There was no lack of passion, merely that it was subjugated to the confidentiality of the moment. He flickered over the keys with exceptional lightness of touch, more accompanist than soloist at first.

The theme and variations were delightfully varied. He took slightly more leeway in the finale, but always tastefully, without presumption, keeping a polite balance with the surrounding textures. Only in his Friedrich Gulda encore, a lightning moto perpetuo, typically jazzy, did he allow himself to reveal his ultimate mettle. Let’s have him back – soon.

Rachmaninov’s long Second Symphony might have paled by comparison. But Wright kept his players focussed, gently working up a controlled lather. The horns, so often this composer’s engine-room, excelled themselves. The Adagio had tenderness rather than unbridled schmaltz. The finale, by contrast, enjoyed a crisp, rhythmic blaze.