Review: Havant Symphony Orchestra, Hayling Island Community Centre

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To call the HSO’s Hayling concert an example of ‘sensible’ music-making might sound like damning with faint praise, but actually it is a rich compliment: this was simply a fine example of grasping the essentials of the notes and super-imposing artistic character.

That was evident from the start in the drama of Beethoven’s third Leonora overture, and then young soloist Fenella Humphreys recognised that Bruch, in the surging, romantic melodies of his first violin concerto, left no need to ‘tear a passion to tatters’.

Instead she expressed their warmth with confident yet unexaggerated phrasing, and she does not need to modify that element of restraint even though she will surely develop her sense of the music’s depths.

Conductor Colin Jagger and the orchestra were perfectly attuned to her conception of the score and to each other, and then gave a performance of Dvorak’s New World symphony that was grand in scale, combining dynamic impulse with a willingness to let melodies breathe – notably in the famous Largo.

Woodwind soloists relished their big opportunities, and the brass were emphatic but disciplined.