Review: Hampshire County Youth Orchestra, Winchester Cathedral

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REVIEW: Andrew WK at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

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It is reasonable to expect young people to revel in the jollity of Jupiter, more surprising to find them feeling the plodding pain of old age in Saturn.

Yet Hampshire County Youth Orchestra evoked both those moods, and more, in The Planets.

The players’ high level of technical ability can almost be taken for granted, as can the sheer enthusiasm of the playing under Carl Clausen’s direction.

But the ability to reach inside the soul of Holst’s music at the Winchester Festival’s opening concert was exceptional – even if detail was lost in the lofty resonance.

The wordless offstage chorus in Neptune was insufficiently remote in the side aisle, but the reinforced Hampshire Music Service chorus sang beautifully both there and under Nicholas Wilks in Four Choruses by Brahms, with magical harp and horns.

Britten’s Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes began the concert powerfully, with commendably accurate intonation in the violins’ exposed, high, soft writing.

The storm was evoked with panache but less clarity than might be achieved with a more clipped style in such acoustics.