REVIEW: Havant Chamber Orchestra at Ferneham Hall in Fareham

Savitri Grier
Savitri Grier
New Found Glory. Picture by David Bean

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Even in her early 20s, Savitri Grier seems a more mature musician than many twice her age.

Where many soloists feel the need in Max Bruch’s arch-romantic first violin concerto to ‘tear a passion to tatters’ (in Shakespearean phrase), she made twice the impact by keeping her phrasing clean and unforced.

By maintaining the musical line, she let the composer’s rich melodies sing for themselves. Yet she was also dazzling where required.

The orchestra under music director Robin Browning responded in kind, the strings notably subsiding with rare beauty of tone from the first movement into the adagio.

The wind section began the concert with the teenage Richard Strauss’s Serenade in E flat – sometimes charming, sometimes bordering on the bland, but effective in showcasing a strong group of players. Here the horns were outstanding.

Beethoven’s vitally rhythmic seventh symphony completed a nicely-balanced programme. If the opening seemed to struggle for weight, it did not lack intensity – and led into a main section where the woodwind section skipped merrily.

The allegretto showed the strings in expressive form, and the final two movements were energetic with neatly chattering articulation.