Review: Havant Chamber Orchestra, Ferneham Hall, Fareham

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Dare I say it? Well, why not?

The Havant Chamber Orchestra’s performance of Mendelssohn’s Scottish symphony was more heart-warming and uplifting than the London Symphony Orchestra’s at Portsmouth Guildhall in March.

The LSO is technically in a different league, of course, but its diamond-hard attack bordered on the soulless. The HCO, conducted by Robin Browning, played with humanity – occasionally fallible but with evident feeling for melody and harmony.

It sounded almost like a different orchestra from the one whose February concert had me railing against Ferneham Hall’s acoustics.

Beginning now, as then, with a Beethoven overture, the playing was much tighter from the start, with the conductor achieving a fine balance between discipline and expressiveness.

The HCO’s principal trumpet, Royal Marines veteran Jon Yates, was a predictably brilliant soloist in the Hummel concerto.

Just occasionally a sense of the military bandsman emerged in his strict-tempo style, but he mostly let the music sing.

This concert brought the HCO’s season to a compelling, stirring end.