What a way to go! Peter Craddock bowed out after 50 years as Havant Symphony Orchestra conductor with a performance of Rachmaninov’s epic second symphony that was as rhythmically taut as it was sumptuous in tone and expression.
The orchestra’s founder again demonstrated that it is a formidable force in warm acoustics where the players can properly hear each other.
Extra strings were recruited for the occasion and had the unanimity to produce a surge of luxuriant sound. The solo clarinet was masterly in the adagio, and elsewhere brass cut through the texture without overwhelming it.
Poor health forced Mr Craddock to opt out of the concert’s first half, so Robert Hodge conducted well-characterised accounts of Elgar’s Three Bavarian Dances and the Brahms concerto for violin and cello.
Sad to go? ‘No,’ the maestro said, ‘because the time feels right.’ And he will continue with the Havant Chamber Orchestra.