Reviews

Dona Nobis Pacem (Grant us Peace), a Portsmouth Festivities concert last Thursday at Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral, supporting the D-Day Museum trust, promised music from across the Allied forces countries along with Germany. Indeed it did – a veritable feast. The...
  • June 24, 2019
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As part of the Portsmouth Festivities, David Briggs returned to Portsmouth Cathedral for the first time in over a decade to give an afternoon recital of transcriptions of well-known orchestral works. The recital opened with the finale of Saint-Saens’ Third...
  • June 23, 2019
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Well, what a treat Guy Johnston and Tom Poster gave us on Saturday evening at Portsmouth Grammar School’s David Russell Theatre as part of the 2019 Portsmouth Festivities. Guy told us that they had been performing together for half their...
  • June 23, 2019
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As part of Portsmouth Festivities, the internationally acclaimed Tenebrae Consort presented an impressive programme under the direction of Nigel Short. The concert featured a small ensemble of handpicked singers, comprising a countertenor, two tenors, a baritone and a bass, who...
  • June 23, 2019
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What a delight to hear the unusual combination of soprano, piano and harp bring musical light to the life of novelist Jane Austen. Jane and her siblings lived in an age where live entertainment was the only option. They revelled...
  • June 16, 2019
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To mark the opening of Portsmouth Festivities 2019, award-winning vocal ensemble ‘The Cardinall’s Musick’ presented a stunning concert of vocal music. Described by director Andrew Carwood, as a concert of contrasts, the programme included works by Renaissance masters, alternating with...
  • June 15, 2019
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Two musicians local to Portsmouth are currently performing with a top band in the West of England. Mitch Rock (24) from Fareham and Sam Firth (21) from Waltham Chase are both Musicians with the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines...
  • May 26, 2019
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The Funtington Music Group members and friends had a real treat at their concert on 8th May in the University of Chichester chapel. Crispin Ward, Senior Lecturer in Orchestral Studies at the University conducted the University Chamber Orchestra in Peter...
  • May 19, 2019
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The Renaissance Choir is justifiably well known for its blended sound, fine tone and musicality. In Saturday’s concert of Spanish Renaissance Masters, these characteristics of their singing were much in evidence, but with the addition of a very strong full-bodied...
  • April 15, 2019
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Lent, with Good Friday just around the corner, is undoubtedly the appropriate time in the Christian calendar to sing about the Passion. Last Saturday, the Chichester Singers did just that by performing probably the greatest of all the Passion settings...
  • April 12, 2019
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‘He never disappoints!’ declared one of our regular concert-goers as she went upstairs for tea and cake. And she was right: Geoffrey Holroyde brought us yet another memorable tea-time concert – a fabulous hour of strikingly beautiful music. We are...
  • April 8, 2019
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Written almost 200 years ago, Hummel’s oratorio, ‘The Crossing of the Red Sea’ received its first ever UK performance on Saturday when Portsmouth Choral Union sang it along with Mozart’s great C Minor Mass. Stylistically reminiscent of Haydn’s Creation, the...
  • April 7, 2019
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The final concert of the 2019 Musical Festival featured the return of the Basingstoke Symphony Orchestra. This group of sixty musicians deliver some excellent playing with the woodwind section being particularly notable. However, it has to be said that the...
  • March 31, 2019
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The last time I saw the Portsmouth Baroque Choir they sang music by Liechtenstein’s most famous composer. With so much to choose from in the area tonight, it presumably being how long it takes to rehearse something since Christmas, it...
  • March 27, 2019
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To most people of a musical disposition, the name George Dyson will not ring many bells. Google “Dyson” and one gets a lot of information about vacuum cleaners. Those who sing in church choirs will have come across his splendid...
  • March 26, 2019
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It’s difficult to hold back on the superlatives when reviewing Petersfield Orchestra. Their concerts are never a disappointment. And their performance and contribution to the Petersfield Musical Festival 2019 was certainly no exception. With Glinka, Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky on the...
  • March 25, 2019
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The Solent Symphony Orchestra (SSO) concert at Portsmouth Cathedral last Saturday certainly lifted one’s spirits. The concert, entitled Sketches of Spain, was a delight to the ear and transported the audience to warmer climes. The programme titles, to most, appeared...
  • March 11, 2019
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The Mayors of Fareham and Gosport, the audience and the players themselves all thought that the Meon Valley Orchestra’s 2019 Charity concert was the best yet. Many people said they were impressed at the MVO’s high standard of playing and...
  • March 7, 2019
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Peter Craddock BEM was a big man in every sense of the word. So it was appropriate that the orchestra mustered to celebrate his life and work should be on a grand scale. Eighty-one musicians were on the platform at...
  • March 6, 2019
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Andrew Cleary gave a memorable recital at Holy Trinity today – and for all the right reasons: his music programme was unusual, clever and varied. We loved all his pieces but mention must be made of the Saint-Saens, Fantasie Nr....
  • February 21, 2019
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Hope may well spring eternal, but assumption is the mother of all lash-ups. And so it was when members of the Meon Valley Orchestra trooped along to the New Theatre Royal to see how they would fare in The News...
  • January 30, 2019
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“An afternoon at the Movies”, I replied to the umpteenth question of where we were headed on a dreary Saturday afternoon. It was clear that my ruse would not last, subject to the scrutiny of my four long-sceptical children aged...
  • January 30, 2019
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A delightful recital of English Song was given on Saturday at the Spring Arts & Heritage Centre, Havant by baritone Alex Poulton and pianist Peter Rhodes. The recital was presented by the Southern Branch of the Elgar Society, who run...
  • January 30, 2019
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Stuart Reed writes: Without a shadow of a doubt the Charity Symphony Orchestra’s 2019 New Year concert was a great success. Under the baton of that genial conductor Paul Ingram the musicians rehearsed all day and performed a concert the...
  • January 8, 2019
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A charity orchestral event has raised £750 for a Portsmouth mental health charity. The Portsmouth Philharmonic Orchestra staged a concert featuring music from Bizet, Strauss, Greig and Schubert at the Church of the Resurrection, Drayton on Sunday 9 December. The...
  • December 26, 2018
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Stuart Reed writes: The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines concert at the Collingwood Millennium Hall was an object lesson on how to fill a theatre and entertain an audience. Every seat was taken at all three concerts on consecutive...
  • December 20, 2018
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Bruno Newman writes: Review: A Babe is Born, St.George’s Church, Whyke One can perhaps feel a modicum of sympathy for Nicolaus Esterházy. Like those unfortunate children destined to be born on the 25th of December, he too shared his name...
  • December 18, 2018
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Mark Hartt-Palmer writes: For many, Christmas would not be complete without hearing Handel’s ever-popular Messiah, whether it be live or recorded. A packed audience in Chichester Cathedral were treated to a performance of the oratorio, given by the Chichester Singers...
  • December 18, 2018
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Maggie McMurray writes: ‘Wassail’ at Portsmouth Cathedral last Saturday fulfilled the promise of its title, with rich connotations of Christmas in times gone by, celebrations and carol singing; by 7pm the nave of the Cathedral was a buzz of anticipation...
  • December 16, 2018
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The Renaissance Choir and Portsmouth Cathedral Choir performed a programme full of wonderful music to a full house on Saturday 8 December, raising over £3,000 for Rowans Hospice Silver Jubilee Appeal. Portsmouth Cathedral provided a wonderful candlelit venue for this delightful...
  • December 15, 2018
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Rob Barnett writes: Samuel Wesley, the son of the hymn-smith Charles Wesley and the nephew of John Wesley, the two founders of Methodism, was a very considerable musical talent. He was an exceptional keyboard player and violinist as well as...
  • December 14, 2018
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Stuart Reed writes: Many musicians in the Havant Symphony Orchestra performed outstandingly at their concert at Oaklands School, Waterlooville, on Saturday 1st of December. But, without doubt, the stars of the show were Dinara Klinton and Stefano Boccacci. Not exactly...
  • December 6, 2018
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Maggie McMurray writes: I can think of no better way to have closed the 2018 tea-time concert programme than with the collective sound of well over 100 voices and the elegantly soaring soprano voice of Rebecca Silverman swelling the acoustics...
  • December 4, 2018
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Barry Tone writes: December arrived with its traditional sights and sounds at the thoroughly enjoyable and heart-warming annual SMVC concert at the Portchester Methodist Church on Saturday 1st December in aid of Rowans Hospice in Purbrook. A full house felt...
  • December 3, 2018
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Chris Linford writes: The Funtington Music Group welcomed the Trio Martinu on 14 November at the University of Chichester. The Trio have played together for nearly 30 years, and although originally from Prague, they have travelled internationally, playing all over...
  • November 24, 2018
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Sue Graham Smith writes: Portsmouth Choral Union’s concert on Saturday consisted of two works; Vaughan Williams’ ‘Dona Nobis Pacem’ (1936) and Howard Goodall’s ‘Eternal Light: a Requiem’ (2008). The whole concert showed the choir’s well-blended tone and lovely sense of...
  • November 18, 2018
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Peter Rhodes writes: This orchestra is a class act. The Festival Hall, despite being hot and airless, suits the makeup of this band really well, and the sound was clear and resonant, with none of the destructive echoes that so...
  • November 16, 2018
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Chris Gardner writes: Putting on a musical event to mark Remembrance Sunday is a challenge – the audience wants to be entertained whilst remembering those who lost their lives in something unthinkable for us to be able to enjoy the...
  • November 16, 2018
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Bill Witts writes: On the weekend before Armistice Day, The Chichester Singers put on a concert of two works that reminded us of the sacrifices made by young men in so many wars. The first work was a modern composition,...
  • November 10, 2018
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Stella Scott writes: The Pallant Centre in Havant hosted a service of remembrance, thanksgiving and celebration on November 4th 2018 and Havant Symphony Orchestra (HSO) were proud to be represented there by four of its members who provided a string...
  • November 8, 2018
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Stuart Reed writes: Pressure of work – things to do, people to see – prevented me from watching the Speranza Quartet perform at Holy Trinity Church, Gosport of the Sunday afternoon on 4 November. Instead I was highly privileged to...
  • November 6, 2018
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Peter Andrews writes: The Chichester Chamber Concert presentation on Thursday 8th November in the Chichester Assembly Room was one of variety, enjoyment and exquisite musicianship. The performers were the highly accomplished Merlin Ensemble Vienna comprising Martin Walch (violin), Hubert Renner...
  • November 2, 2018
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Ian Schofield writes: Saturday’s concert by The Renaissance Choir, entitled ‘Lest We Forget’, was given in commemoration of the ending of World War I. The imaginative programming included works by English, French and German composers. The concert opened with readings...
  • October 31, 2018
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Stuart Reed writes: As an opening number for a concert, Richard Wagner’s Der fliegende Hollander (The Flying Dutchman) is hard to beat. At Romsey Abbey on Saturday 27 October, the Charity Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Paul Ingram, really...
  • October 30, 2018
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Jonathan Hooker writes: Tuesday lunchtime at half term in a cathedral packed to the rafters. Do cathedrals have rafters? Anyway, it could mean only one thing: Chichester Symphony Orchestra’s annual Cathedral concert and a fine one it was too with...
  • October 28, 2018
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Brian North writes: It is a privilege to listen to such local talent! After a wet and chilly Saturday, Portsmouth Cathedral was warm and welcoming. Although I have attended many concerts by the Solent Symphony Orchestra (SSO), there was a...
  • October 10, 2018
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Maggie McMurray writes: Our Holy Trinity audience clearly loved ‘Sullivan without Gilbert’, as performed by Los Ladrones (The Bandits), and shouts of ‘Bravo’ could be heard ricocheting around the splendid acoustics in the church as the singers brought their programme...
  • October 9, 2018
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The talented Goldmund Quartet from Germany gave the opening concert in the new Portsmouth Chamber Music series, before a packed audience at the Guildhall. They began with Haydn’s D Major Quartet, Opus 76 No. 5. He is undoubtedly a favoured...
  • October 9, 2018
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Stuart Reed writes: As sometimes happens, Portsmouth Light Orchestra’s last full rehearsal left some players apprehensive about their forthcoming Autumn Concert. There were some tricky corners in many of the numbers. The bewildering geography of one piece with multiple repeats,...
  • October 8, 2018
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Yet again the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra held another of its Rusty and Not So Rusty Musicians, Symphony in a Day, events in Portsmouth’s Guildhall. On the 9th of September over seventy amateur musicians from all over the south of England...
  • September 17, 2018
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Winchester Summer Music is a week-long, chamber music course for strings, brass and woodwind players. Usually it’s held every year in August. For the second year running its customary venue of Peter Symonds College was out of bounds due to...
  • August 21, 2018
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The audience at the closing concert of the inaugural Boxgrove Choral Festival was treated to an enchanting evening of music performed by The Beaufort Singers. This concert was the culmination of three days of plainsong and polyphony all performed by...
  • July 31, 2018
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Review: The Kalore Trio at St Faith’s, Havant If it’s romance you’re after, look no further than the Kalore Trio. The three talented ladies, Karen Kingsley (piano), Elizabeth Cox (violin) and Amanda Berry (‘cello) wooed the audience at their debut...
  • July 24, 2018
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Each year as the Festival of Chichester draws to a close the Chichester Symphony Orchestra performs its Summer Concert at St. Paul’s Church by the Northgate roundabout. The Festival’s promotion marketing helps to encourage a large audience and this year’s...
  • July 19, 2018
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A movement from Rachmaninov’s ‘Vespers’, sung from the distance, provided a magical opening to the Renaissance Choir’s summer concert. Entitled ‘European Sacred Music’, their programme ranged from works by Lasso to Poulenc. The choir’s renowned ‘blend of sound’, was very...
  • July 16, 2018
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” Outstanding Chorale performance in the most English of settings – Boxgrove Priory” It was a beautiful, magical evening last week when a packed audience at Boxgrove Priory heard superb performances by the Chichester Chorale and accompanying soloists. The Priory...
  • July 13, 2018
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There was no shortage of distractions to curb attendance figures for the Havant Symphony Orchestra’s concert on Saturday 7 July. Despite temperatures hovering around 30 degrees centigrade, England playing Sweden in the World Cup, Wimbledon tennis on the telly and...
  • July 12, 2018
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Once again the Solent Male Voice Choir excelled in their concert held at the Church of the Holy Spirit, Southsea on 7th July. Geoff Porter, their MD, made full use of the acoustics offered by this magnificent venue and the...
  • July 11, 2018
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Professional musician and local resident Amanda Cook was in the audience on 16th June and sent this glowing assessment of the concert. Froxfield Choir’s annual summer concert is always a popular event and this year was no exception. Once again,...
  • July 5, 2018
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For their contribution to Chichester Festivities, the St. Richard Singers presented ‘A Royal Summer’, a concert of music mainly associated with Coronations.  Parry’s ‘I Was Glad’ provided a stirring opening item and here the singers produced a vigorous and surprisingly...
  • July 5, 2018
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For their summer concert, Portsmouth Baroque Choir chose, as the main items, two strongly contrasting contemporary works, the first being by Jonathan Dove, and the second, by John Rutter. New music, whilst often challenging, needs to be heard in convincing...
  • July 2, 2018
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The audience at the closing concert of the Portsmouth Festivities was treated to an enchanting evening of music performed by the guitarist Carlos Bonell. The 15th Century Square Tower in Old Portsmouth was an ideal venue; the magically atmospheric guitar...
  • June 25, 2018
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Absolute flawless perfection! A glittering jewel! The finest choir in the land, the Tallis Scholars, produced a truly memorable evening of serene music at Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral as part of the Portsmouth Festivities. This event, now in its 19th year,...
  • June 23, 2018
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“Behold, the sea!” is the dramatic opening to Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony. Portsmouth Choral Union took St Mary’s Church by storm with a remarkable performance of one of the most challenging works for an amateur choir. PCU are deservedly known...
  • June 18, 2018
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Two superb musicians and supreme showmen opened the Portsmouth Festivities with a memorable BANG! In an effervescent and innovative performance O Duo started with their own composition for drums, Bongo Fury, where every single part of the drums – including...
  • June 17, 2018
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The Festival Hall was nearly full for Petersfield Orchestra’s summer concert. This was hardly surprising: the whole evening had everything going for it. The programme included two definite crowd pleasers and a lesser known musical gem. It was the newish...
  • June 16, 2018
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On a fine and sunny June 9th evening the Solent Male Voice Choir led by musical director Geoff Porter and accompanied by Nigel Smith at the piano gave us a concert of joyful music. A modest audience at St George’s...
  • June 12, 2018
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There are some good-hearted musicians on the South Coast who deserve respect and admiration. Three cheers for all those players who travelled to St Mary’s Church, Putney on Saturday 26 May to swell the ranks of the Charity Symphony Orchestra....
  • May 29, 2018
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On the day of the Royal Wedding, hundreds of thousands of people thronged the streets of Windsor. Millions saw it on television worldwide. Later that day over 90,000 people packed Wembley Stadium for the FA Cup final, which kept many...
  • May 22, 2018
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What an undiluted pleasure it was to do a gig with my old mates in Cool Classics. Ages ago we played together in Italian restaurants, wedding venues and corporate events. With its unusual line up of guitar, accordion, violin and...
  • May 21, 2018
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When it came to audience numbers, the odds were stacked against Portsmouth Light Orchestra at their concert at the Admiral Lord Nelson School on Saturday 12 May. A rainy night, other concerts going on elsewhere and bumper television coverage of...
  • May 14, 2018
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It’s always a pleasure to welcome back dear friends of Music and the Arts at Holy Trinity and today was a wonderful example, when Baroque Ad Hoc entertained us with an hour of splendid Baroque music – plus a bit...
  • May 7, 2018
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The Chichester Choirs, consisting of The University of Chichester Chamber Choir, The Chichester Chorale & Otter Consort, performed a concert of nineteenth & twentieth century English Choral Music at St Georges Church, Chichester on Saturday 28 April. Opening with Elgar’s...
  • May 5, 2018
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“Bohemian Fire” was the title theme for the BSO concert at Portsmouth Guildhall which featured works by two Russian composers, Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, and a warm night it was too. It began with the Symphony No.1 in D Minor by...
  • May 3, 2018
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On Saturday March 17th the Chichester Symphony Orchestra presented their Spring concert at St. Paul’s Church, Chichester. Despite the very inclement weather the brave souls who attended were treated to an exciting evening of contrasting styles from the 18th –...
  • April 30, 2018
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Members and friends braved the snowy Spring evening in Basingstoke to attend the Centenary Concert at the Anvil, summed up by one person at the end as a “memorable emotional experience.”  The concert performed by Southern Pro Musca and the...
  • April 6, 2018
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Read The 2018 Petersfield Music Festival in retrospect where all the reviews from the 2018 Festival have been collated together.
  • April 4, 2018
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The final concert of this year’s Petersfield Musical Festival was, on paper, something of a mixed bag.  But not in practice! The programme, ranging from string quartet to full orchestra via wind and brass ensembles and organ showed off the...
  • March 31, 2018
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The Royal Marines School of Music is based in Portsmouth. It lies deep within the Naval Base, in what used to be the RN Detention Quarters. Now, instead of holding erring sailors, the old prison’s cells are places where trainees...
  • March 31, 2018
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The Chichester Singers, with the Southern Pro Musica orchestra, served up a mixed programme of music in Chichester Cathedral, with compositions by three composers from three centuries. They got off to a wonderful start with Handel’s “Zadok the Priest”, with...
  • March 28, 2018
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