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Sinfonia of London & John Wilson, Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2, Prelude in C# Minor Review

by April 20, 2023

Sinfonia of London & John Wilson, Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2, Prelude in C# Minor Review

john-wilson-cdJohn Wilson is one of the most sought-after conductors, as he has worked with the finest orchestras and opera houses around the globe. Wilson is a regular at Aldeburgh, Glyndebourne, and the BBC Proms with the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony, and the City of Birmingham Symphony. The Sinfonia of London has recorded film music since its inception in the 1950s. The orchestra has recorded many soundtracks for major Hollywood films, including Batman, The Mummy Returns, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Lost in Space, The Lawnmower Man, Stargate, Tombstone, RoboCop, and Young Sherlock Holmes.

Wilson and Sinfonia of London continue their Rachmaninoff series with their second album, and one of Rachmaninoff’s most-loved works – the Symphony No. 2. Opening Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2, Prelude in C# Minor is Stokowski’s transcription of Rachmaninoff’s Prelude Op. 3 No. 2 in C sharp minor. Rachmaninoff composed most of the Second Symphony in Dresden, where he was escaping Russia’s political and professional pressures from 1906 through 1907. The symphony is one of his most extensive works and is widely regarded as one of his most excellent compositions, and it is a mainstay of the orchestral repertoire.

Opening the album is the dramatic brass of the Prelude Op. 3 No. 2 in C sharp minor. Wilson quickly brings thejohn-wilson-1 symphony down to pp, and the build begins to the swaggering theme and dynamic brass with woodwinds and string answers. The buzz of the brass section is superb, and the strings and woodwind colors are smooth.  Wilson’s vision is clear, and the performance is excellent.

“II. Allegro molto” is given an excellent galloping joyous reading. The orchestra’s colors and moods are rich, and the recording quality captures all the nuances. Wilson’s attention to detail and the dynamics and snappy articulations of the strings drive the energy. The tempo and flow are energetic but not frantic, making for a powerful experience.

john-wilson-2Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2, Prelude in C# Minor, has much to offer the Rachmaninoff enthusiast.  Wilson’s vision for this grand symphony needs to be heard. If you are already familiar with another reading, you have many surprises in store. If this is your first exposure, you are in for a treat. Highly recommended.


Sinfonia of London & John Wilson


Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2, Prelude in C# Minor



Release Date

March 31, 2023

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