Review: Haffner Orchestra by Roger Dillon

Haffner Orchestra.
Haffner Orchestra.
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On a chilly November evening, the Haffner Orchestra sat down to perform an engaging and rousing programme of Britten, Mozart and Tchaikovsky.

They were again led by the exuberant Jonny Lo. The orchestra, locally renowned for its excellence and high standard of performance, rose to the occasion with its usual rigour and passion.

The concert began with an intriguing rendition of Britten’s rewriting of Rossini’s Soirée Musicales and Matinée Musicales. These charming orchestral suites, very much rooted in film and dance tradition, were brought to life by the Haffner, with the various colours and textures of the moments enlivened by sensitive conducting from Lo with the orchestra following his every movement.

The orchestra was then joined by horn player Robert Ashworth for a performance of Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 2. This short but sweet concerto was composed in the era of the development of the horn, and the instrument’s naturally vibrant and dynamic qualities were perfectly presented by Ashworth, with sympathetic and appreciative accompaniment by the orchestra.

The evening concluded with an impressive performance of Tchaikovsky’s first symphony. According to the composer’s brother, this work cost Tchaikovsky more labour and suffering than any of his other works. The orchestra rose to the occasion, playing this difficult and complex symphony with technical stability and sensitivity. Lo directed the symphony with the subtlety that it demands, and the fourth movement was a triumphant and rousing end to the evening.

The Haffner Orchestra again gave an enjoyable and exultant concert.