Havant Symphony Orchestra at Ferneham Hall, Fareham

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If it is true that you make your own luck, conductor Peter Craddock and his orchestra certainly deserved dazzling replacement soloist Benjamin Powell for the second piano concerto by Shostakovich.

The HSO, among the front rank of amateur orchestras, matched Powell for snap and crackle. He played the outer movements with clarity and brilliance, but with nothing forced for effect, and he made the andante sound exquisitely like a homage not only to Tchaikovsky but to Chopin.

The orchestra’s big challenge was Malcolm Arnold’s fourth symphony, a work so edgy that even the long-breathed second subject’s apparent lyricism in the first movement is given disturbing overtones - by stuttering accompaniment in the brass in particular.

Woodwind in the scherzo were properly quirky, and the percussion, including African and West Indian instruments, were rightly riotous.

The concert began less successfully with the Cyrano de Bergerac overture by Dutch composer Wagenaar. It shamelessly rips off Richard Strauss and the performance lacked precision and cohesion.

Much better came in Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by Haydn, with strings leading a well-characterised performance.