A warm welcome in Fareham

When Tchaikovsky wrote his ‘Souvenir de Florence’ for string sextet in 1890 he took as his inspiration the sights and sounds of Italy – a country he loved to visit – and in particular the city of Florence. However, much of the piece has the distinctive Russian sound we associate with Tchaikovsky and, especially in the string orchestra version, it is a big work, symphonic in scale.

At our recent concert on October 19th, Havant Chamber Orchestra found the intimate, warm atmosphere of the United Reformed Church in Fareham to be an ideal setting in which to present this powerful music. We even had a slight concern that the overall effect might be too loud for the audience – and that was with just strings! Whether or not we can introduce a full wind section with horns and trumpets at the URC will need to be assessed.

The other music in this varied programme included an Oboe Concerto by Albinoni, beautifully played by Lucinda Willits. This lighter repertoire certainly worked perfectly in the URC.

We were delighted to hear comments such as ‘That came over extremely well’ and ‘What a fantastic concert!’. This is particularly important to us in this experimental period without the Ferneham Hall and we are delighted to find most of our regular audience following us on this new adventure. Fifty-four people have purchased a season ticket for all three of our Fareham concerts this season and many more came along on the night.

We have been more than a little put out to discover that the planned remodelled Ferneham Hall will be an 800-seater in which, to quote Appendix A to the Concept Design presented to Fareham Borough Council (FBC) by architects, Mace Group, “…the acoustic does not support drama without amplification or good performance of classical music”.

There really is a small but enthusiastic audience for classical music in Fareham and Havant Chamber Orchestra intend to persist with delivering the music they love in whatever venues we can find. Granted, we are not as popular as tribute acts or mediums, but FBC’s cultural short-sightedness is disappointing, to say the least!

Our next outing in Fareham will be February 8th, 2020, this time at Holy Trinity Church. Don’t miss it!

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