Peter Craddock’s 50 years running the orchestra he founded have been marked not only by musical quality but by generosity of spirit.
An example of that was his decision to hand the conductor’s baton to bursary holder Robert Hodge for Liszt’s first piano concerto in the jubilee concert – and what a performance resulted!
Both Hodge and pianist James Willshire gave full value to the poetry in a work that can seem overblown. The soloist eased from big dramatic gestures into refined simplicity in response to Robert Blanken’s magical clarinet, and the work’s unity was evident.
Mr Craddock took over for Grieg’s Old Norwegian Romance, bringing off the dance sections and Peer Gynt echoes well, and for the season’s finale, Brahms’s fourth symphony.