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All events Concert

Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2

Royal Festival Hall
£12 — £58
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Booking open to Friends only. Join now
Tickets go on general sale on Tuesday 3 March 2020 at 9.30am.

Conductor John Wilson wearing a blue blazer over a light blue shirt, looking at camera and smiling


John Wilson – conductor
Benjamin Beilman – violin


Lyadov The Enchanted Lake

Glazunov Violin Concerto

— Interval —

Rachmaninov Symphony No. 2

John Wilson conducts music by three Russian masters of orchestration, written in the turbulent early years of the 20th century but full of late-Romantic lyricism and emotion.

Rachmaninov’s Second symphony is widely considered one of his best works. The stormy horn motif that opens the second movement, and the long, singing clarinet theme of the third, are just two of the symphony’s many memorable moments. This masterpiece represents Rachmaninov’s victory over the depression that followed the disastrous premiere of his First symphony. “You will compose with great facility” was one of the affirmations used by the hypnotist who treated him, and it certainly seems to have worked.

Conducting that ill-fated premiere was Alexander Glazunov. Fortunately for posterity, he was a much more successful composer than conductor. A student of Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazunov’s music combines his teacher’s mastery of orchestral colour with a gift for melody worthy of Tchaikovsky, and an unmistakable Russian spirit. His exuberant violin concerto has no numbered movements, but flows from one section to another with an air of freedom and spontaneity.

Lyadov was another of Rimsky-Korsakov’s students. His short tone-poem The Enchanted Lake, subtitled ‘a fairy tale scene’, shimmers with a sense of quiet mystery.

Need to know

Prices & Discounts

£12 – £58 (premium)

Subscription discounts available; under-18s and concessions discounts available; £8 tickets for students via Student Pulse one month before the concert (limited availability)

Running Time

2 hours, including 20 minute interval

Recommended age

From 7+

Box office

Philharmonia Box Office: 0800 652 6717


Royal Festival Hall

Royal Festival Hall

Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road

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Book tickets
£12 — £58