Reviews

Portsmouth Cathedral, Mar 23 Music rarely benefits from being put into categories. You might find Simeon Walker filed under ‘Contemporary’, a term so meaningless that one can do what one wants. And that’s what Simeon does. He plays his own...
  • March 24, 2023
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Chichester Cathedral, 21 March The homework I did yesterday on Beethoven’s Archduke Trio will perhaps be useful another time. The English Piano Trio were incomplete due to illness and so cellist Pál Banda took on the audience of about 300 on his...
  • March 21, 2023
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Portsmouth, 18 March One thing we don’t give up for lent is music. It’s best to give up non-essentials. I don’t give up Music in Portsmouth, either, without which I might have walked to Southsea on a fool’s errand unaware that...
  • March 19, 2023
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Menuhin Room 11 March 2023: The Monington Duo I came away from Saturday’s lunchtime concert feeling that this new series of concerts is putting this lovely concert hall back on the Portsmouth musical map. It gives fine local musicians such as...
  • March 13, 2023
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We have enjoyed some amazing performances and wonderful programmes of music over the past three weeks at Holy Trinity, Gosport. On February 20th we enjoyed a really interesting lunchtime programme with music from Karg-Elert, Handel, Jongen and Lefebure-Wely played superbly...
  • March 11, 2023
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Chichester Cathedral, 7 March Happy Birthday, Maurice Ravel. He would have been 148 today, had he lived. He’s a popular choice for solo piano recitals in these parts. We did have his Jeux d’eau here last year when I wrote, I’ve never...
  • March 8, 2023
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The Solent Symphony Orchestra presented a heartwarming programme entitled ‘Spring Classics ‘ at St. Thomas’ Cathedral last Saturday. The three works are certainly stalwarts of the repertoire, and for good reason, possessing as they do a wealth of creative inspiration....
  • March 6, 2023
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On 23 February the young but highly experienced Armida String Quartet gripped and transported its audience with the third string quartets of Schumann and Brahms, flanking the UK premiere of the Second String Quartet by the Serbian composer Marko Nikodijevic....
  • March 1, 2023
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Miriam Teppich (violin), Pavlos Carvalho (cello), Jakob Fichert (piano), 7 February Pavlos Carvalho (cello), together with old friends Miriam Teppich (violin) and Jacob Fichert (piano) were reunited on 7th February at a Chichester Music Society event for what turned out...
  • February 28, 2023
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Menuhin Room, Portsmouth, Feb 11 Andrew McVittie and Helen Morris set this new series of recitals in motion with a hugely enjoyable shared programme billed as ‘carefully selected piano sounds designed to soothe the mind and body’. Andrew was first...
  • February 12, 2023
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Elgar’s ‘Dream of Gerontius’ was the chosen work for this year’s ‘Come and Sing’ hosted by Portsmouth Choral Union on Saturday 28th January. The choir was delighted to welcome the large number of enthusiastic visiting singers that joined them for...
  • February 9, 2023
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Chichester Cathedral, 7 February Women composers are hopefully, if somewhat belatedly, no longer a curiosity. At one time the prevailing attitude to them might have been like that of Dr. Johnson to women preachers, Sir, a woman’s preaching is like...
  • February 8, 2023
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Portsmouth Cathedral, Feb 2 Szymanowski for lunch was a rare treat served up with some relish by Catherine Lawlor and Valya Seferinova. Portsmouth and its catchment area are well catered for in musical talent and they are two of its...
  • February 3, 2023
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Portsmouth Cathedral, Jan 26 It’s always useful when performers say a few words of introduction about the pieces they perform and James Gaughan was particularly good at that, beginning by pointing out their watery theme before I’d noticed its appropriateness...
  • January 27, 2023
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Chichester Cathedral, 23 January Peter Mallinson and Matthias Wiesner are two viola players, and Evgenia Startseva is the piano engine room, a combination I’ve not seen before, playing pieces arranged for such a trio but one specially written for it....
  • January 25, 2023
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Today’s programme sung by Rachel Barrett and Hannah Gunga, accompanied by Karen Kingsley, on a theme of ‘strong women’ was inadvertently the more appropriate following the announcement by Jacinda Ardern that she is stepping down from the position of New...
  • January 19, 2023
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Concert on 13 December The Chichester Music Society’s Christmas 2022 Bursary Holders Concert was held at the University of Chichester on 13 December. This annual event has become a favourite among our members, not least as the programme is highly...
  • January 16, 2023
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Lunchtime Live! 12 January 2023 There was no possibility of taking a walk today, one might have thought, the weather being inclement. The journey across town was uninviting and one for the hardy. But not the foolhardy. If music and...
  • January 13, 2023
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The Angels Approved The angels looked down from the roof of St. Mary’s, Portsea as over 100 young musicians of The Hampshire County Youth Orchestra and nearly 100 singers of Portsmouth Choral Union performed to a packed audience (concert on...
  • December 12, 2022
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Andy Quin, 4 December ‘Now that was our Handel organ as we’ve never heard it before – well certainly not since Andy Quin’s last performance here at Holy Trinity in (we think) 2018!  Today, Andy talked about how fortunate he...
  • December 5, 2022
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17 November, Petersfield Festival Hall The 96th season of the Petersfield Orchestra opened with Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture. The performance was characterised by well-sustained climaxes, and precise fast rhythmic passages featuring impressive playing from percussion and timpani. I especially...
  • November 24, 2022
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Mateusz Rettner, Chichester Cathedral, Nov 22 It was fitting, for what is likely to be the last concert I attend in a rich and busy year, to arrive at The Well-Tempered Klavier. It is like an index to all music, the most...
  • November 23, 2022
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The University of Chichester Chamber Orchestra, under the musical direction of Crispin Ward, played for the Chichester Music Society Concert on 8 November at the University.  The highlight of the evening was a performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major...
  • November 19, 2022
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Duo Dorado, Chichester Cathedral, Nov 15 The history of Western Classical Music is a succession of glorious ages. Some more glorious than others perhaps but none more so than the C18th baroque. We might like to think we can tell...
  • November 17, 2022
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Richard Allum, Portsmouth Cathedral, Nov 11 One waits patiently through the long summer for an autumn that’s all too brief and then it’s gone. Gladly, there’s compensation in the warmth of the lunchtime music in a quiet corner of Portsmouth....
  • November 10, 2022
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6 November 2022, Holy Trinity Gosport Today’s Tea-Time Concert was simply lovely! We were entertained by music from across the globe – all of it delightful! I gave the concert the title of ‘Sounds of Morning Tide’ but a more...
  • November 8, 2022
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Chichester Cathedral, Nov 1 After the intensity of the Rachmaninov Vespers on Saturday, Charlotte Rowan and Charlotte Stevenson’s programme today was pure enjoyment rather than a long, dark night of the soul. Outside it was breezy, bringing in the authentic November chill...
  • November 2, 2022
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Portsmouth Cathedral, 29 October The recording of the Rachmaninov Vespers by Alexander Sveshnikov and the State Academic Russian Choir, from 1965, is described as ‘bone-chilling’ by one reviewer. It isn’t taken from the shelves to be played as much as...
  • November 1, 2022
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It’s always a capacity crowd, and more, for the CSO’s lunchtime turn. There are more friends and family, of course, than for a soloist but the full orchestra is a rare treat for lunch and they never let you down....
  • October 26, 2022
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The Rosamunde Trio played Schubert and Tchaikovsky at the Chichester Music Society concert on 18 October at the University of Chichester. This was an evening to remember where the beauty of the music was absolutely matched by the technical expertise...
  • October 23, 2022
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The Chichester Music Society concert on 4 October was a marvellous presentation of baroque music played by the Continuum Quartet. In fact, the programme was completely about the music of the Bach family, from J S Bach to his sons, W...
  • October 21, 2022
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Steinway Concert, Portsmouth Central Library, Oct 8 It was a gala occasion this afternoon in Portsmouth’s Menuhin Room, marking the resurrection of the Steinway grand, ‘widely regarded as the finest instrument along the South Coast’ and, we must earnestly hope,...
  • October 10, 2022
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If there were only sunlight on water was the first line of a little-known, otherwise untitled 1990’s poem, little known because it was by me. Whereas the poem moves on to other ideas, Patrick Hemmerlé’s 50-minute set in Chichester today explored...
  • October 9, 2022
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Diolch yn fawr, thank you very much, to Steffan Watkins for bringing his wonderful Welsh Choir to sing for us at Holy Trinity today. It was, as always, delightful, very moving and a joy to hear. The music programme included...
  • October 9, 2022
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CCC welcomes its new president, Simon Crawford-Phillips, international pianist, chamber musician and conductor, to open its 2022/23 season on 6 October in duo with one of today’s most in-demand violists, Lawrence Power. Read more in the Chichester Observer.
  • September 30, 2022
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At the opening of the CMS autumn season we welcomed Paul Guinery, well known to radio 3 listeners, to share his love of popular English music of the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. Paul has a varied career, apart from...
  • September 29, 2022
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Programming is everything sometimes. Beginning with Scarlatti and Mozart, Olive Murray was agile and resonant but I wasn’t tuned in properly. Three Schubert songs included Nacht und Traume which was crepuscular, almost velvety in Christopher Foreman’s accompaniment, and although it’s not explicit...
  • September 25, 2022
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I usually prefer to have the whole story – the complete symphony if not the Complete Symphonies or the Collected Poems rather than the Selected. Christopher Johnston’s programme in Chichester today was made of ‘excerpts from’ sets of pieces but the benefit of that was that...
  • September 13, 2022
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Summer is a fine thing in fiction, poems or in Vivaldi but for me it need not stand upon the order of its going. The first signs of autumn are most welcome, the drop in temperature, the nights drawing in...
  • September 8, 2022
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St Paul’s Church, Chichester, 9 July 2022 After a hiatus of several years on my part it was a delight to be able to attend the evening concert given by the Chichester Symphony Orchestra in the 2022 Festival of Chichester....
  • July 12, 2022
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The Renaissance Choir, Protest Against Oppression, Church of the Holy Spirit, Southsea, July 9 The range of music on this evening’s programme in Southsea served among other things to be indicative of the wide range of oppression suffered throughout history,...
  • July 11, 2022
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There could be no better way to mark the tenth anniversary of the Festival of Chichester than this heady mix of Elgar, Tchaikovsky, and an aperitif of Beethoven at Chichester Cathedral. Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra are old friends of the Festival,...
  • July 9, 2022
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The Festival of Chichester is well underway and Elena Toponogova returned to the Cathedral with some friends to present more of her Russian repertoire (lunchtime concert 5 July). She began alone at the piano with an extra item, the traditional...
  • July 7, 2022
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“Israel in Egypt” with Portsmouth Baroque Choir and The Consort of Twelve, St. Paul’s, Chichester, Sunday 3 July Not everything Handel wrote was an immediate success. Israel in Egypt was rested after only its third performance in April 1739 but...
  • July 4, 2022
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Ralph Vaughan-Williams would have been 150 this year had he lived and so we’ve not been short of programmes marking the event. Ensemble Pastorale has given it some thought, though, and gave a rare outing to some lesser-heard pieces. Soprano,...
  • July 1, 2022
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Portsmouth Choral Union presented a workshop and semi staged performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s ever popular ‘HMS Pinafore’ at St. Mary’s Alverstoke.  The choir was delighted to welcome the many additional singers who joined them for the workshop part of...
  • June 16, 2022
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Giulia Semerano and Filippo di Bari, Chichester Cathedral, June 14. Guilia Semerano and Filippo di Bari began preparing their four-handed Pagine di guerra by Alfredo Casella before Putin’s sinister intentions were made obvious. They became appallingly relevant in performance, as...
  • June 16, 2022
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The Solent Male Voice Choir had a busy May. It all started with a Lunchtime Concert in St Faith’s Church, Havant. The concert, on May 4th, was in aid of the St Faith’s Big Build Fund. On 19th May, SMVC...
  • June 10, 2022
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James Kirby, Portsmouth Cathedral, 9 June Portsmouth cathedral’s piano absolutely sparkled as James Kirby set off into the Allegro moderato of Haydn’s Sonata in E Flat, Hob XVI:52. That is Haydn aged 62 and still at the height of his...
  • June 10, 2022
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Fumi Otsuki and Sarah Kershaw, Portsmouth Cathedral, May 26 The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. I had to admit, I’d run out of opening lines from famous novels to adapt in concert reviews and so, unrelated...
  • June 3, 2022
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On Wednesday May 11th Chichester Music Society welcomed a return visit from Bradley Creswick, violin, and Margaret Fingerhut piano, it was a treat! The overall theme of the music was Pleasure of the Natural World, very appropriate for a sunny...
  • June 2, 2022
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Chichester Cathedral, 17 May 2022 The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. One thing that Chichester Cathedral did was employ an organist, more than once, having dismissed him in-between times, for drunkenness and blasphemy but if...
  • May 19, 2022
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If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where it was, and what it was like. St. Peter’s is in the Square in Petersfield which, on a sunny May lunchtime like...
  • May 12, 2022
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Last night I dreamt I went to Chichester again. And then today I did. It’s been 11 weeks and that seems a long time. The last time David Alexander played Chichester it was by video link only so the usual...
  • May 10, 2022
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As well as promoting first-class concerts and lecture-recitals, CMS is proud of its tradition of supporting the musical careers of students at the University. Since 2004 over £90,000 has been awarded in prizes, instruments, and bursaries.  The University Music faculty...
  • May 2, 2022
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Concert at St. Mary’s Portsea, 2 April All happy composers are alike; each unhappy composer is unhappy in their own way. Earlier in the week, the wireless had Mendelssohn’s Quartet in F minor, Op 80 as the second half of...
  • April 13, 2022
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Petersfield Musical Festival paid a handsome tribute to Ukraine last week, proving the power of music to express support for its beleaguered people. Chairman Philip Young introduced the Petersfield Orchestra’s flagship concert last Thursday by announcing it would commence with...
  • April 12, 2022
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The Festival ended on a high note on Saturday 26th March with another concert celebrating the power of music. The concert featured two major choral works: Felix Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise and In Praise of Singing by Jonathan Willcocks, the...
  • April 11, 2022
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Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, accompanied by a string quartet and continuo, was interspersed with several Marian Motets by Parsons, Victoria, Guerrero and Palestrina. Last night’s concert was excellent on several fronts. I thought the choice of music which punctuated the Stabat...
  • April 7, 2022
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Visit the concert page. Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. C20th composers could hardly be expected to write music as confident as that of the Age of Enlightenment. Bach and Handel don’t bring...
  • March 28, 2022
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“Lunchtime Live!” 17 March 2022 It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a musician in search of a career, must be in want of a composer to play. It seems like only yesterday, but it is 18 months ago, when...
  • March 18, 2022
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St. Faith’s is an attractive little church that wouldn’t look out of place nestling in the English countryside rather than Havant’s workmanlike town centre. Today (16 February) it hosted Matteo Bisbano Memmo’s first UK recital to a good-sized audience and...
  • February 21, 2022
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Did any other age spend so much time with the music of so long ago? In the C18th, audiences turned up in numbers to hear C18th music – Handel, Mozart and Haydn. David Hepworth has written about how quickly rock...
  • February 9, 2022
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David Price, Portsmouth Cathedral’s own organist, provided a diverse programme of English music in anticipation of the 70th anniversary of the Queen’s accession at lunchtime today. Some might say Purcell is England’s greatest composer and I’d be one of them...
  • February 4, 2022
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La muse oubliée is Antonio Oyarzabal’s project highlighting female composers. One day, it is to be hoped, no such theme might be necessary but there are centuries of concert programming to make up for in which it was almost unthinkable...
  • February 3, 2022
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I’m sure this was originally listed as being Haydn and Beethoven when I first booked it. It’s not a problem at all that last night it had turned into Schubert but it means the world will have to wait for...
  • January 19, 2022
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Peter Gould treated us to a superb recital today: one that certainly set the bar very high for recitals at Holy Trinity in 2022! His music programme was diverse and included music he has never played before, because he likes...
  • January 18, 2022
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The end of our 2021 Season ended not with a bang but with a truly enjoyable evening to the sounds of beautiful music and followed by the sounds of convivial talk amongst members and their friends over a glass of...
  • December 22, 2021
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Bach is big. One might contrast him with Pergolesi, composer of the luminous Stabat Mater by which he is almost only known with the unfortunate corollary that he died aged 26. The Stabat Mater is less than a quarter of...
  • December 12, 2021
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Ensemble C are made up of four parts, as was their programme at St Mary’s. As a string quartet without violins they could be compared to Abba without Agnetha or The Stylistics without Russell Johns Jnr but in fact it...
  • December 7, 2021
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At their recent Lunchtime Live! recital at Portsmouth Cathedral, Solent Baroque had unforeseen problems with their harpsichord which was a shame for those in search of ‘authenticity but the show must go on and I can’t say it caused any...
  • December 6, 2021
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Simone Tavoni’s piano recital today might be seen as two halves, one ‘classical’ and the other ‘romantic’. Four pieces from Clementi’s Mon Ferrina, op. 39 were, he explained, by way of preparation for a competition. The first was light, the...
  • December 3, 2021
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A large audience welcomed the Petersfield Orchestra back for their first full-scale concert since before Covid struck in 2020. It has been a tricky time for performing musicians with few rehearsal opportunities until September and this, combined with the lively...
  • December 2, 2021
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Today was a musical mystery tour. I didn’t know what Myles Tyrrell was going to be playing but it was a chance worth taking. I can’t remember the last time a lunchtime concert in Chichester, Portsmouth or Havant was a...
  • December 1, 2021
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Havant has joined the local lunchtime concert circuit, wisely doing Wednesdays, and is most welcome. We are especially lucky to have Thomas Luke, the piano section winner from this year’s delayed Young Musician of the Year, in the area and...
  • November 26, 2021
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Performers in Chichester Cathedral at present have an imposing Moon to play under, Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon, which the likes of Pink Floyd might have envied. One might have thought it fitting to gaze at such a thing...
  • November 22, 2021
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The Chichester Music Society welcomed back Marino Tirimo and Atsuko Kawakami to the 10 November Concert at the University of Chichester. The two pianists had come last in lockdown a year ago and had played to an empty hall, apart...
  • November 21, 2021
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Mozart somehow found himself in the unaccustomed role of support act last time I was in Chichester. That wasn’t likely to happen twice. The Chichester Symphony Orchestra gave great value for whatever money one chooses to donate by comparing and...
  • November 11, 2021
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Marcia Fielden loved the day’s singing, after an eighteen-month wait. At last! Not only was the Autumn Workshop allowed to go ahead, despite dire predictions, it was a wonderful success. Throughout this second Plague Year, and especially when the Delta...
  • November 10, 2021
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Portsmouth Choral Union and David Gostick were so pleased to be back performing live that they began by applauding the audience. They deservedly got that back with interest at the end. They had packed a lot into an hour, beginning...
  • November 7, 2021
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