Whimsy and profundity go hand in hand in this cleverly assembled, French-accented program featuring celebrity pianist Lang Lang, his keyboard companion wife, Gina Alice, and the Andris Nelsons-led Gewandhausorchester Leipzig.

All persuasively contribute to the headlining coupling of Saint-Saëns’ perennially popular Carnival of the Animals, and, on the strength of this performance, his woefully under-appreciated Second Piano Concerto. And to familiar and neglected encores by familiar names such as Ravel, Debussy, Fauré and Delibes alongside their female compatriots, Lili Boulanger, Louise Farrenc, Germaine Tailleferre and the lesser-known Charlotte Sohy and Mélanie Bonis.

Taken as a whole, it’s a painterly exercise in crafting contrasting moods and in shaping emotional immediacy, as ferociously intense in the concerto’s surging Presto finale as it is altogether magical in the Carnival’s finely spun, intoxicatingly liquid “Aquarium”. Throughout the musical bestiary soloists and sections of the Leipzig players rise to the occasion with lyrical, athletic and often deliciously playful aplomb to match that of the partnered and similarly disposed pianists.