REVIEW: Havant Symphony Orchestra at Oaklands School

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A large audience gathered at Oaklands School to witness an ambitious programme, signalling the end of Havant Symphony Orchestra’s 2014/15 season.

The playful Spanish rhythms in Kabalevsky’s Colas Breugnon Overture were brilliantly accentuated and set the mood for what promised to be a wholly rewarding concert.

Cello soloist and Waterlooville native, Richard Harwood, gave a rendition of Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with all the passion, defiance and determination that the minor key suggested.

The first movement’s second theme, which encapsulates the composer’s feelings of yearning and nostalgia, was conveyed with emotion and honesty. With the return of a remarkably larger orchestra after the interval, I was certain that Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 was to be given a true and unfettered rendition. I was right.

Leader, Cathy Mathews failed to disappoint with some tricky yet masterful solo passages in the characterful second movement and the dynamic contrast commanded by conductor Jonathan Butcher in the third movement was, at times, sublime.

The climactic final movement, with it’s iconic key change to the tonic major, held the audience’s attention to the very last triumphant chord where an outburst of applause would not have waited a moment longer.