Review: Havant Chamber Orchestra at Ferneham Hall, Fareham

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These are transitional times for the Havant Orchestras after the retirement of founder-conductor Peter Craddock, as the opening concert of their 2013-14 season made evident.

Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture sounded under-rehearsed, and even some normally reliable individuals slipped below their highest standards elsewhere too.

It did not help that the works featuring pianist Philip Martin lack a degree of substance, although both show their composers’ genius at times. Still, he played with style and commitment in the teenage Mozart’s Concerto No 5 and with romantic elan in Schumann’s Introduction And Allegro Appassionato.

Mozart’s unusual demand for a combination of andante and adagio in the central movement was met in inspired style by Robin Browning, the regular conductor of the Petersfield Orchestra.

He again showed his mettle in the same composer’s Haffner Symphony, with expressive phrasing capped by an unbridled sense of fun in the finale.