Review: Havant Symphony Orchestra, Ferneham Hall in Fareham

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Pianist Karen Kingsley is always a pleasure to hear and was at her ‘singing’ best in the nocturne-like slow movement of Chopin’s E minor concerto, but the suspicion arose that the work is new to her repertoire.

The opening movement seemed too careful, and even in the finale she was most effective when the composer was in reflective mood.

The orchestra generally shone more brightly in the Roman Carnival Overture by Berlioz and particularly in Tchaikovsky’s Marche Slave.

Played with fine characterisation under guest conductor Tom Hammond, this emerged as a stronger piece than it often seems.

Elgar’s Enigma Variations was marked by outstanding solos on viola and cello, and fine playing elsewhere, but the conductor seemed in too much of a hurry – particularly in the famous Nimrod.

True, it is sometimes laboured to death, but it is marked ‘adagio’ and here the emotional life was squeezed out of it by rushing.