The 405 exchanged the tawdry basement bar circuit for the sophisticated interiors of the South Bank. With a glossy programme underneath one arm, and a glass of overpriced red wine in hand, a smiling usher opens the entrance to the Royal Festival Hall.

Gazing at its expansive ceiling, cumbersome panels of smoothly polished oak fit together within a great hollowed dome. Industrial lamps, the size of motor engines, are elegantly embedded in the roof complex. Brilliant beams of light illuminate the robust wooden walls and converge on the stage platform.

Here, constellations of brass instruments sparkle alongside a fleet of cellos, which are flanked by a flotilla of violins. The members of the audience take their seats in the tiers, and the lamps begin to dim as the Philharmonia Orchestra spills onto the stage.

Gracefully dressed in black tie, The Orchestra takes stance and cradles their instruments with the conscientious concern of a recent mother. The focal point of the demonstration is the diminutive stand at the front of the podium. The square shaped pedestal is tastefully lined with maroon coloured carpeting. Blanketed in silence, the audience claps as Andras Schiff assumes his place on the step as tonight's conductor.

With a wistful flick of his baton, the string quartet gently plays the opening to Mendelssohn's 'Overture, Die Hebriden'. Crisp sheets of sound emanate from the violinists as they sway to the rhythm of their instruments. A touch of heat is added by Schiff's swift hand gesture. Immediately, the raft of music enveloping the room is laced with earthy undertones from the cello set. The violins' velvety harmonies coalesce with the cellos. These gorgeous threads of sound diffuse throughout the room making the hairs on the back of the audiences' necks tinkle. Poised furtively in the right hand corner of the stage, the overture is curtailed by the sharp hammering of the gong.

Turning to face the audience, Schiff beams with delight as the crowed delivers a roaring wall of applause. In the midst of the cacophony, a secondary plinth is assembled the left of the conductor's booth. Striding confidently onto the stage with his face to the sky, leading cellist Steven Isserlis sits atop of his mantle. Embracing his burnt oak cello like a lover, he caresses its neck with his forehead. Prepped for action, Schiff summons a barrage of sound from the string section. A multi textured wave of music cascades into the air, signifying the introduction to Brahms' 'Symphony No.4 in E minor'.

Vehemently stabbing the air with his forearms, Schiff invokes the sound of the brass section. Reflecting the lights above with their metallic exteriors, an artillery of tubas funnel a rumbling purr into the atmosphere. The sounds from the strings wrestle rambunctiously with the droning brass harmony. In the throws of a tribal trace, Isserlis' body darts erratically whilst playing his cello. His magnificent crop of spiralled hair flows to the decadent tone of the cello strings.

At this, a sensational sonic cloud permeates through the air. In the background, the vestige of a triangle suddenly begins to flicker like a candle flame. Chiming with the bedazzling glow of a sparkler, the iridescent sound of the triangle follows the violins' movements with an almost crystalline sense of stealth.

The smorgasbord of brass, percussion and string escalates and canters towards crescendo. Weaving this phantasmagorical sight, Isserlis frantically hammers the neck of his cello with an unprecedented sense of accuracy. With the climax an octave away, the symphony culminates as a repertoire of sharply struck strings collide heavily with a mass of exhaustively exhaled trombone notes. The final note is held for a lung-collapsing minute, and the lamps above are taken to full beam. Rising out of their seats, the Philharmonia Orchestra stands in union and issue a much-deserved bow to the awe of their spectators.

A dazzling performance that offered a disarming interpretation of symphonic masterpieces. The Philharmonia Orchestra's ability to charm our senses with gorgeously weaved music made for a sensational evening out. Seems that a little bit of culture goes a long way!