REVIEW: Solent Symphony Orchestra at Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral

Phoebe Pexton
Phoebe Pexton

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Year after year, the Solent Symphony Orchestra Concerto Award at the Portsmouth Music Festival highlights astonishing young talent - none more so than that of 2015’s teenage winner, Phoebe Pexton.

The former Portsmouth Grammar School student chose the difficult Flute Concerto by 20th century Danish composer Carl Nielsen for her prize performance.

Phoebe Pexton not only showed a calm presence and technical virtuosity but characterisation beyond the scope of experienced performers

She not only showed a calm presence and technical virtuosity but characterisation beyond the scope of experienced performers.

Her prowess as a singer also shone through in the vocal quality of her playing – maintained even in the flute’s famous encounter with a pungent bass trombone.

Conductor Steve Tanner began the concert with a selection from Grieg’s Peer Gynt music, played mostly with character and clarity, apart from one uneasy transition.

He then galvanised the orchestra into making Tchaikovsky’s weak third symphony sound more coherent than usual, despite the odd lapse. The lyrical second movement was charming, the third delicately elegiac.