Two former members of the Havant Symphony Orchestra were major contributors to its sister ensemble’s latest success.
Simon Wills, who has become an internationally successful composer since playing the trombone with the HSO as a boy, wrote Truffaldino for the occasion.
Billed as a ballet for chamber orchestra, it is named after the Harlequin character in a Goldoni farce, and different instrumental groups are treated as contrasting personalities. The woodwind writing is particularly effective.
The dance element is strong as Wills takes his inspiration from the 18th century music of Domenico Scarlatti and clothes it in genially astringent modern colours, and conductor Peter Craddock and his orchestra revelled in these qualities, although stronger accents might have been beneficial at times.
Richard Steggall, also a former boy member of the HSO, was an expressive and accurate soloist in Richard Strauss’s first horn concerto, perhaps just just falling a little short in heroic ardour.
Steggall returned as third horn in Beethoven’s Eroica symphony - alongside his former teacher, Bridget Bartholomew. This was a powerful, energetic performance with quality playing diminished only by Ferneham Hall’s dead acoustics.