REVIEW: Lancaster Haffner Orchestra

Guest conductor with the Lancaster Haffner Orchestra, Bob Chasey
Guest conductor with the Lancaster Haffner Orchestra, Bob Chasey

The Haffner Orchestra has finished its 40th anniversary season in style.

The large and appreciative audience in Lancaster’s Ashton Hall on Saturday June 17 enjoyed three monumental symphonies, performed with the professionalism and musicality for which the orchestra is renowned.

The Haffner cake.

The Haffner cake.

The first offering was Mozart’s Symphony No 35, the “Haffner,” from which the orchestra takes its name.

A bold start to the first movement was followed by a lightness and clarity in the second movement that belied the orchestra’s large size.

The contrasting loud and soft passages of the third movement were played with confidence, and the speed of the final movement was accomplished with proficiency.

The second work on offer was Shubert’s Symphony No 8, the “Unfinished.”

This had many highlights including the warm tone of the cellos’ opening theme, and the exciting interplay of menacing and lyrical passages by the various sections of the orchestra.

Despite the fact that Shubert never finished the symphony it is nevertheless a work of enormous stature to which the orchestra did full justice.

The concert ended with Brahms’ much-loved Symphony No 3.

The orchestra rose to the occasion and did not disappoint.

The dramatic exchanges between the woodwind and strings deserve a particular mention.

Special thanks should also go to the guest conductor, Bob Chasey.

The orchestra was in safe hands, and his skills were much in evidence.

It is rare to be able to enjoy three symphonies at a single concert.

The evening clearly demonstrated that Lancaster is indeed fortunate to have an orchestra that can provide such a top quality musical experience.

By Ruth Mackenzie.