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Reviews

Sample comments from reviews over the decades …

‘Debut of orchestra augurs well for future’
Headline from report of HSO’s 1st concert, July 1962 The County Press

‘HCO and Peter Craddock .... delighted me with a warmly human account of Haydn’s Symphony No 104.’
Denby Richards in the Hampstead and Highgate Express and News, May 1972

‘To remain in existence for two decades is something to be proud of, but to continue and build with adventurous programming is surely the key to success for another 20 years or more.’
J M, publication unknown, May 1985 (HCO’s 20th anniversary)

‘HSO’s pianissimo in the opening had their audience spellbound.‘
Angela Brown in The Southern Evening Echo, March 1987

‘Typical of the progressive approach of HSO is the way they encourage young talent - Barber’s Essay No 1 was conducted by Mark Wigglesworth ..... and very effectively too.’
Terry Barfoot in The News, March 1989

‘...HSO produced a delicacy and tenderness in .... Elgar’s cello concerto that would have made even the most jaded listener hear it with fresh ears.  15 year old Richard Harwood responded with impressive security of line and tone .....’
Mike Allen in The News, July 1995

‘She plays with a smile on her face and a smile in her heart and is among the region’s most under-celebrated artists ....’
Mike Allen in The News of Karen Kingsley with HCO, October 2006

‘The concert ended with Beethoven in one of his emphatic moods, the (HCO) players entering into the spirit of the 4th Symphony.’
Leon New in The News, February 2007

‘It is a rare pleasure to watch a conductor who shows both a detailed knowledge of, and a real enthusiasm for, the music.’
Colin Jagger, Director of Music, University of Portsmouth

‘I want to thank you and the orchestra for all the intensive and detailed work that went into producing the first performance of my father Maurice Blower’s Symphony in C.  I know how much care was taken in learning and refining the music, so it was particularly pleasing for me to hear all that hard work come to fruition ‘on the day’.  I know I am biased, but I thought the result was brilliant!’
Thomas Blower to Peter Craddock and HSO, March 2008

‘I recently (February 2011) had the great pleasure of playing Beethoven (Piano Concerto 2) with the fantastic Havant Chamber Orchestra.  The warmth and intense alertness of the orchestra under their inspirational conductor, Peter Craddock, made it an enormous enjoyable experience for me.’
Viv McLean, April 2011

Links to online review articles

Here are some links to review articles which are available online, starting with the most recent. 

Event date Review source Event description and review link
20th May 2017 Fi Alsop in The News, Portsmouth Havant Chamber Orchestra all-Beethoven concert with Roger Owens
… the orchestra and conductor Robin Browning are to be credited for conveying the sheer power and possibilities of this wonderful music in all its complexity.  [More]
25th March 2017 Geoff Porter in The News, Portsmouth Havant Symphony Orchestra concert with Tom Torley
At their latest concert, the mayor of Havant, Faith Ponsonby, thanked the Havant Symphony Orchestra for their work in presenting concerts in the borough. … [More]
3rd December 2016 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Havant Symphony Orchestra concert with Shiry Rashkovsky
Perhaps the most remarkable development since Jonathan Butcher became HSO’s musical director is the advance of players promoted to principal roles. … [More]
15th October 2016 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Havant Chamber Orchestra concert with Savitri Grier
Even in her early 20s, Savitri Grier seems a more mature musician than many twice her age. … [More]
9th July 2016 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Havant Symphony Orchestra concert with Viv McLean
In line with the Havant orchestras’ tradition of venturing off the beaten musical track, John Ireland’s piano concerto was a piquant centrepiece in the Oaklands hall’s warm yet clear acoustics. … [More]
14th May 2016 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Havant Chamber Orchestra concert with Karen Kingsley
Founder-conductor Peter Craddock’s aim of programming music off the beaten track was delightfully honoured by the HCO in its final concert of the 2015-16 season. … [More]
19th March 2016 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Havant Symphony Orchestra concert with Joo Yeon Sir
With violinists in short supply, this was not the easiest concert for the bigger of the Havant orchestras – but the performances were well-tailored to the circumstances. … [More]
6th February 2016 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Havant Chamber Orchestra concert with The Albany Piano Trio
An enterprising piece of programming was tarnished by a failure to provide adequate lighting.  … [More]
11th October 2015 Peter Rhodes in The News, Portsmouth Havant Chamber Orchestra concert with Craig Ogden
Those lucky enough to have been at the Ferneham Hall on Sunday night were treated to a fine performance of Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez. …  [More]
11th July 2015 Alex Creamer in The News, Portsmouth Havant Symphony Orchestra concert with Richard Harwood
The playful Spanish rhythms in Kabalevsky’s Colas Breugnon Overture were brilliantly accentuated and set the mood for what promised to be a wholly rewarding concert. …  [More]
28th March 2015 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Havant Symphony Orchestra concert with Boris Brovtsyn
Only one word for it really: wow! …  [More]
20th September 2014 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Havant Symphony Orchestra concert with Fenella Humphreys
To call the HSO’s Hayling concert an example of ‘sensible’ music-making might sound like damning with faint praise, but actually it is a rich compliment…  [More]
5th July 2014 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Havant Symphony Orchestra concert with Karen Kingsley
Pianist Karen Kingsley is always a pleasure to hear and was at her ‘singing’ best in the nocturne-like slow movement of Chopin’s E minor concerto…  [More]
17th May 2014 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Havant Chamber Orchestra concert with Jon Yates
Dare I say it?  Well, why not?
The Havant Chamber Orchestra’s performance of Mendelssohn’s Scottish symphony was more heart-warming and uplifting than the London Symphony Orchestra’s at Portsmouth Guildhall in March…  [More]
29th March 2014 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Havant Symphony Orchestra concert with Robert Blanken
Robert Blanken’s playing has long been one of the glories of the Hampshire music scene but he surely surpassed himself as soloist in Malcolm Arnold’s second clarinet concerto…  [More]
22nd February 2014 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Yeomen of the Guard concert with Havant Symphony Orchestra
The performance was largely a delight, the attendance dismal.  A new concert version of the darkest of the Gilbert and Sullivan light operas deserved better.…  [More]
30th November 2013 Terry Barfoot in The News, Portsmouth Havant Symphony Orchestra concert with Alexander Sitkovetsky
The Havant Symphony Orchestra made a welcome return to Oaklands School, whose warm and sympathetic acoustic always makes the music sound well.…  [More]
19th October 2013 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Havant Chamber Orchestra concert with Philip Martin
These are transitional times for the Havant Orchestras after the retirement of founder-conductor Peter Craddock, as the opening concert of their 2013-14 season made evident.…  [More]
21st September 2013 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Havant Symphony Orchestra concert with Valentina Seferinova
Both conductor and soloist in the HSO’s annual Hayling concert were community-based, yet both could boast an international pedigree – and it showed…  [More]
6th July 2013 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Havant Symphony Orchestra concert with David Le Page
At first it seemed that the latest triallist for the Havant Symphony Orchestra’s conductorship was not doing much to energise the playing.  But then realisation dawned: less is more.  Having done his work in rehearsals, Tom Hammond was quietly drawing a very good level of performance from the largely amateur band…  [More]
16th March 2013 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Havant Symphony Orchestra concert with Adi Tal
One phrase, above all, proved Andrew Morley to be a worthy candidate to succeed Peter Craddock as conductor of the HSO… [More]
8th December 2012 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Havant Symphony Orchestra concert with Alexander Sitkovetsky and Richard Harwood
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.  … [More]
Mike Allen kindly also passed on to us some additional details about the Brahms from his original review for which the News apparently did not have space:  Mr Craddock described soloists Alexander Sitkovetsky (from Moscow) and Richard Harwood (Waterlooville) as ‘two of the finest I have heard’.  Indeed they dovetailed and interchanged with the intimate understanding of chamber musicians.
20th October 2012 Peter Rhodes in The News, Portsmouth Havant Chamber Orchestra concert with Alexander Karpeyev
Conductor Peter Craddock is a fine musician who always does his homework and he decided on a chamber music approach to the work  … [More]
(This review seems to have lost something during the editing process; the first paragraph presumably refers to the Hebrides overture).
7th July 2012 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Havant Symphony Orchestra concert with James Willshire
Peter Craddock’s 50 years running the orchestra he founded have been marked not only by musical quality but by generosity of spirit.  … [More]
24th March 2012 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Havant Symphony Orchestra concert with Benjamin Powell
If it is true that you make your own luck, conductor Peter Craddock and his orchestra certainly deserved dazzling replacement soloist Benjamin Powell for the second piano concerto by Shostakovich.  … [More]
11th February 2012 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Havant Chamber Orchestra concert with Richard Steggall
Two former members of the Havant Symphony Orchestra were major contributors to its sister ensemble’s latest success.  … [More]
3rd December 2011 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Havant Symphony Orchestra concert with Karen Kingsley
What a fine concert to begin the HSO’s 50th season!  … [More]
15th October 2011 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Havant Chamber Orchestra concert with Anna-Liisa Bezrodny
Conductor Peter Craddock has expressed a fear that advancing years are diminishing his ability to generate energy from an orchestra.  On this evidence, he can stop worrying.  … [More]
2nd July 2011 Colin Jagger in The News, Portsmouth Havant Symphony Orchestra concert with Leland Chen
The Havant Orchestras’ 49th season came to an end on Saturday with a highly rewarding concert in the Ferneham Hall. … [More]
14th May 2011 Terry Barfoot in The News, Portsmouth Havant Chamber Orchestra concert with Peter Rhodes
The Havant Chamber Orchestra brought an imaginative programme to a large and enthusiastic audience at the Ferneham Hall.  … [More]
26th March 2011 Mike Allen in The News, Portsmouth Havant Symphony Orchestra concert with Robert Blanken
A distinguished composer once told me he hoped never to hear another note of Weber’s music – but he might have changed his mind … [More]
3rd July 2010 The News, Portsmouth Havant Symphony Orchestra concert with Matthieu van Bellen
The final concert of the Havant orchestras’ Ferneham Hall season was all about discoveries … [More]
15th May 2010 The News, Portsmouth Havant Chamber Orchestra with Huw Morgan
Ferneham Hall played host to the Havant Chamber Orchestra and solo trumpeter Huw Morgan … [More]
6th Feb 2010 The News, Portsmouth Havant Chamber Orchestra with Catherine Nicholson
It is always pleasing when a conductor gives a member of his orchestra an opportunity to step into the solo spotlight … [More]
10th October 2009 The News, Portsmouth Havant Chamber Orchestra concert with Mark Bebbington
Havant Chamber Orchestra’s opening concert of their 2010/11 [sic] season at Ferneham Hall was unlikely to frighten the horses … [More]
4th July 2009 The News, Portsmouth Havant Symphony Orchestra concert with Alexander Karpeyev
In years to come, the HSO may be able to boast: ‘You heard him here first.’ … [More]
29th March 2008 Patrick C Waller on MusicWeb International Havant Symphony Orchestra concert with Leland Chen
First, I must report on a world première performance of the Symphony in C by Maurice Blower that I was fortunate to hear on 29 March in Ferneham Hall, Fareham. … [More]

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