Havant Chamber Orchestra at Ferneham Hall, Fareham

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Conductor Peter Craddock is a fine musician who always does his homework and he decided on a chamber music approach to the work; his intimate, detailed reading suited the challenging acoustic of the Ferneham Hall perfectly.

Sibelius’s music to Pelléas et Mélisande fared less well in this space and, despite some wonderful wind playing, the rich string sonorities demanded by the outer movements needed more resonance.

The distinguished Russian soloist Alexander Karpeyev was dignified in the powerful opening movement of Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto. The orchestra accompanied him superbly and were able to let their hair down in the final Rondo. The second half consisted of Mozart’s Paris Symphony and Terry Barfoot’s note perceptively isolated the middle andante as the most poetic of the three movements.

The finale is a real tour de force for the strings and the Havant players romped their way joyously to the finish line.