Havant Symphony Orchestra at Ferneham Hall, Fareham

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The Havant Orchestras’ 49th season came to an end on Saturday with a highly rewarding concert in the Ferneham Hall.

Not on the programme, but announced by conductor Peter Craddock from the podium, the first work was Chabrier’s Joyeuse Marche, an inconsequential but brilliantly orchestrated piece which made an ideal opener. Then the orchestra’s bursary holder, Samuel Draper, conducted Balakirev’s In Bohemia, another of those rarely performed gems we are fortunate to get quite frequently in these concerts.

Leland Chen was fabulous in Delius’ Violin Concerto, playing from memory, no easy task in this sprawling and rather un-concerto-like work. He held it together well, and there were lots of moments of radiant beauty. It is a difficult work for the orchestra too, and they accompanied superbly with good balance throughout.

In the second half it was Brahms’ 2nd Symphony and once again the orchestra was in fine form, relishing the many challenges and coping well with the intricate solo and ensemble writing. Craddock judged the tempos to perfection, bringing out the many nuances of Brahms’ most sunny invention, and bringing the concert to a triumphant close.

Colin Jagger