REVIEW: Solent Chamber Orchestra at the Royal Marines Museum, Southsea

Southsea Alternative Choir. Picture: Paul Windsor

REVIEW: The Southsea Alternative Choir at Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

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How clever of the Solent Symphony Orchestra’s spin-off ensemble to programme the original version of Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring ballet score.

With only 13 instruments, it captures the music’s open-air essence and fitted perfectly into the Royal Marines Museum’s lofty Mountbatten Room.

Leo Popplewell, former principal cellist in the National Youth Orchestra, was a confident soloist in Haydn’s Concerto No 2.

Leo Popplewell, former principal cellist in the National Youth Orchestra, was a confident soloist in Haydn’s Concerto No 2. He displayed the phrasing skills of the Cambridge choral scholar he now is, and that vocal quality enabled the adagio to sing engagingly.

A programme that began with Malcolm Arnold’s Trevelyan Suite, contrasting cheerful surfaces with darkly pungent instrumental colours, ended with Beethoven’s Symphony No 1.

Here conductor and players created a sense of how dramatically shocking the music’s first audience must have found it in 1800, yet made the finale less hard-driven than engagingly skipping. Not every detail was perfectly polished but the spirit was surely just what the composer ordered.