Sir Simon Rattle conducts from memory the uncut version of Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No 2 on his first LSO Live release of 2021. Available on CD, download and for streaming from 19 March.
One of Rachmaninoff’s most popular pieces, the Second Symphony is an indulgently melancholic and sentimental work: a magic box of the late-Romantic orchestra. Dramatic sections played by the full orchestra contrast heart-breaking swells that only this composer could have written.
The LSO has a long history with the Second Symphony, recording it many times with conductors including André Previn, Gennady Rozhdestvensky and Valery Gergiev. For this recording, which was made during the opening of the London Symphony Orchestra's 2019/20 season, Sir Simon Rattle conducted the score from memory, performing the uncut version of this symphonic treasure.
Notes to editors
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No 2 will be released 19 March 2021 on CD (Hybrid SACD) and via all major streaming and download services, including Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, Primephonic and IDAGIO. Click here to view Rattle's complete LSO Live discography.
About Sir Simon Rattle, LSO Music Director
Sir Simon Rattle was born in Liverpool and studied at the Royal Academy of Music. From 1980 to 1998, Sir Simon was Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and was appointed Music Director in 1990. In 2002 he took up the position of Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic where he remained until the end of the 2017-18 season. Sir Simon took up the position of Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra in September 2017. He is a Principal Artist of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Founding Patron of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.
Sir Simon has made over 70 recordings for EMI record label (now Warner Classics) and has received numerous prestigious international awards for his recordings on various labels. Releases on EMI include Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms (which received a Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance) Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, Mahler’s Symphony No 2, Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Rachmaninoff’s The Bellsand Symphonic Dances, all recorded with the Berlin Philharmonic. Simon’s most recent recordings include Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust, Helen Grime’s Woven Space, Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, Turnage’s Remembering, and Beethoven’s Christ on the Mount of Olives, which were all released by the London Symphony Orchestra’s own record label, LSO Live.
Sir Simon regularly tours within Europe and Asia and has strong longstanding relationships with the world’s leading orchestras. He regularly conducts the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Staatskapelle Berlin, Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and the Czech Philharmonic. Recent operatic highlights include Parsifal with the Berlin Philharmonic at the Baden-Baden Osterfestspiele; Der Rosenkavalier with the Metropolitan Opera, New York; a semi-staged production of The Cunning Little Vixen with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Centre; and Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie with the Staatsoper Berlin.
Music education is of supreme importance to Sir Simon, and his partnership with the Berlin Philharmonic broke new ground with the education programme [email protected], earning him the Comenius Prize, the Schiller Special Prize from the city of Mannheim, the Golden Camera and the Urania Medal. He and the Berlin Philharmonic were also appointed International UNICEF Ambassadors in 2007 – the first time this honour has been conferred on an artistic ensemble. In 2019 Simon announced the creation of the LSO East London Academy, developed by the London Symphony Orchestra in partnership with 10 East London boroughs. This free program aims to identify and develop the potential of young East Londoners between the ages of 11 and 18 who show exceptional musical talent, irrespective of their background or financial circumstance.
Sir Simon has also been awarded several prestigious personal honours: he was knighted in 1994, received the Order of Merit from Her Majesty the Queen in 2014, and had the Order of Merit of Berlin bestowed upon him in 2018. In 2019, Sir Simon was given the Freedom of the City of London.
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Photo: © Mark Allen