To WESTERN ears, the "imperfection" of the old Russian-style orchestral wind and brass might sound a little strange.
It's as if each player has a duty to mark his territory; where the trumpet enters with a blast so piercing it nearly knocks you off your seat, or an oboe tone is so distinctive it might be described as having an attitude.
Well, to hear all this on Saturday, together with the sun-ripe fullness of the Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra strings in the golden acoustics of the Usher Hall, was utter bliss. Especially when the music was their own sort – a first half devoted to the emotive highlights of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, followed by music from Prokofiev's exquisite ballet score Cinderella.
The orchestra, currently touring the UK (including Perth Festival last night), was joined by two singers from the Bolshoi Opera Company – soprano Dinara Alieva and baritone Andrei Grigoriev – for those famous highlights from Onegin.
This was Russian singing at its most ravishing. and the Kazakhstan conductor Alan Buribayev was an inspiring presence.