Solent Symphony Orchestra at Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral

The Handsome Family. Picture by Brandon Soder

Life Through The Trees is looking handsome at 20

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KNOWINGLY or not, pianist Refiye Mehmet made an astute choice in opting to play Ravel as her prize for winning the Solent Symphony Orchestra Concerto Award at the Portsmouth Music Festival last year.

The French composer’s clear, sparing orchestration meant his concerto in G suffered much less from the booming acoustics than excerpts from Smetana’s The Bartered Bride had.

Ravel’s music also suited the delicacy of Ms Mehmet’s own musicianship. She caught the cool, chaste quality of the slow movement admirably before launching the brief finale with helter-skelter finesse.

A generous suite from Swan Lake also fared better than the Smetana in terms of clarity – a tribute to Tchaikovsky’s mastery of orchestration.

Under Steve Tanner’s direction, the SSO effectively caught the individual character of every movement.