Review: Solent Symphony Orchestra at Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral

Black Star Riders: from left, Scott Gorham, Chad Szeliga, Ricky Warwick,  Robbie Crane and Damon Johnson.  Picture by Richard Stow

Black Star Riders come under Heavy Fire on their latest tour

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Even Borodin’s tricky second symphony seemed to hold few fears for an orchestra and conductor who consistently convey uninhibited delight in their craft.

Steve Tanner, never fussy in style, allowed individuals to express themselves with apparent freedom, although he had clearly established his own requirements in rehearsal.

In truth some players did struggle to articulate cleanly in Borodin’s extraordinary one-in-a-bar scherzo.

But the music’s varied colours and haunting air were readily achieved – with Allan Mead combining an heroic quality with hypnotic stillness in the slow movement’s extended horn solo.

Solo playing was also of high quality in Rossini’s William Tell Overture, led by Sophie McNestrie’s yearning cello, and thundering brass achieved a mighty impact without obscuring too much detail in the cathedral’s lofty resonance.

Another rewarding concert from an orchestra that still seems under-valued in its home city.