Frederick Delius’s Bradford upbringing notwithstanding, his gargantuan choral masterpiece has been rarely performed in these parts. Leeds International Concert Season last-staged the piece in 1991 and, prior to that, in 1984. Both occasions were presided over by the much-loved Sir Charles Groves.

The 100 minutes-long Mass of Life is constructed on the grandest scale requiring four vocal soloists with choral and orchestral resources comparable to Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony. A Mass of Life is in no sense a Christian Mass, more a celebration of life - an expression of hope in the eternity of all wordly things. Delius’s choral writing is vivid and immensely challenging. ‘A big sing’ - as one of 230 choristers taking part aptly defined the task facing the combined might of the Leeds Festival and Leeds Philharmonic Choruses stacked up behind the 90 musicians of the BBC Philharmonic. David Hill, music director of Leeds Philharmonic Chorus, clearly in his element marshalling large forces, produced a wonderfully clear and coherent performance. With Hill at the helm, every detail is transparent, every strand of orchestral or choral texture carefully delineated.

That is not to imply his performances - although invariably meticulously balanced - are somehow lacking soul or atmosphere. Far from it, his finely nuanced reading of A Mass of Life created an atmosphere of grandeur and mystery that it is hard to imagine being bettered. In the final section, Zarathustra’s Midnight Song, Delius builds to an incandescent choral and orchestral climax, an explosion of radiant splendour from the Leeds choirs and the BBC Phil at this moment, before the dying choral repetition of the word Ewigkiett (eternity) and the softest of B major chords ends the Mass.

The four distinguished soloists were soprano Anne Sophie Duprels, mezzo Jean Rigby, tenor Daniel Norman and baritone Alan Opie. Given that both Duprels and Opie were standing in at very short notice for indisposed colleagues Joan Rodgers and James Rutherford, their contribution was little short of miraculous. The baritone has by far and away the lion’s share of the solo work. Opie, in sovereign voice, seemed to colour and shade every phrase of the German text.

A future broadcast on BBC Radio 3 will enable those of us lucky enough to be present, the opportunity to re-live an outstanding occasion. Music lovers who stayed away, perhaps because they regard Delius as nothing more than a meandering miniaturist - will have the chance to discover what they missed.