THE Haslemere Musical Society gave a concert at Haslemere Hall on March 5 – and how good it was to have live music coming back to Haslemere.

There was enthusiasm shown by both choir and orchestra, who performed a range of very different choral and orchestral works before a packed house, knowledgeably conducted by musical director Dr James Ross.

Schubert’s Symphony No. 3 in D opened the concert with a confident, rich, full sound played with sensitivity matching the composer’s own youthful exuberance.

The allegretto – a graceful movement enhanced by delightful woodwind playing, led to the third movement, menuetto – trio – menuetto, in a very distinctive minuet form; one which the brass and woodwind captured most convincingly. Finally, a tarantella-style Presto vivace finale allowed all sections of the orchestra to show their expertise in a thrilling conclusion.

Very different in both mood and scale were the scenes and dances from Manuel de Falla’s ballet The Three-cornered Hat, based on a novel with a comic storyline by Pedro de Alarcón.

This more challenging chamber orchestra work has a complex interplay of instruments; playing with conviction, the orchestra caught the mood expertly of boisterous rustic sounds intruding into a placid pastoral sound-world, capturing just the right spirit of the piece. Of particular note were the woodwind and brass soloists.

After the interval, the second half started with César Frank’s Psalm 150 and it is hoped this piece will be better known after this performance.

It began with a solemn Hallelujah expressing humility before the Creator and ended with a climax of praise. The tuneful music allowed both choir and orchestra, with the more complex harmonies, to show their range of skills throughout.

The hall fell silent to remember those suffering in Ukraine before the concert closed with Faure’s Requiem, a much loved work portraying the pilgrimage of a soul to the divine.

Treble soloist Sam O’Brien sang with poise and clarity, and baritone soloist Ondřej Soukup matched this in a style you could empathise with.

The next HMS concert is a Mozart evening on May 14.

Robert Mitchell