John Wilson and His Sinfonia of London Tour UK with Hollywood’s Greatest Hits, November 2023

John’s pop fans in Britain have nothing to worry about—all the goodness of The John Wilson Orchestra (1994-2019) is now squeezed into his new/old/new group, the Sinfonia of London. Thank Kennedy Street Productions, who brought Barry Manilow and Gladys Knight to UK’s shores, for this shrewd spectacular run aimed at the 2023 Holiday Season. Now we’ll hear the rest of the movie music John’s been transcribing all these years.

More info to come as I find it. I understand as of 2 December 2022 tickets are already flying off the box office shelves.

Meanwhile here’s The John Wilson Orchestra‘s “signature” tune, the MGM Overture composed by Johnny Green; more info on that medley here.


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John Wilson Conducts the Sinfonia of London at the Royal Albert Hall in a Concert of Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Others, 16 July 2022

From The Guardian, Fiona Maddocks: “The final work, Elgar’s “Enigma” Variations, was one of the best, most alert and detailed performances you could hope for. Wilson, whose gestures on the podium are so unassuming he appears to do nothing more than beat time, had scrutinised the score, and asked probing questions about every familiar phrase, making it fresh. The Sinfonia of London, mostly a recording ensemble, is made up of leading principals or chamber musicians who want to play for Wilson. You can hear their devotion.”

MY BELOVED CONDUCTOR SPEAKS!

[Proms Director] David Pickard and I had a conversation about Sinfonia Of London’s connection in the past to English music, principally John Barbirolli’s famous record of English music for strings and it is as we know Ralph Vaughan Williams’s 150th anniversary so I thought opening with the Tallis Fantasia would be (a) good thing. And built that around I guess the English romantics and a fairly recent work by a living composer, Huw Watkins, who is Welsh and one of my favorite composers and a piece which he actually happened to write for Adam Walker, who’s our principal flute. The rest of the program con-sists of things you might know and you might not know. Walton’s Partita, which is a tour de force but it’s rarely done, and I think that’s because it’s so impossibly difficult. … Very difficult! One of the first violins came up to me and he said, “This is absolutely bloody murder!” We really sweated over it, and I—I hope to pull it off.

John & SOLAbove: Partita for Orchestra by William Walton (1957) written originally for the Cleveland Orchestra.

Sat 16 July 2022 18:30
Royal Albert Hall
London, United Kingdom
Sinfonia of London
Adam Walker (flute)

EXTRA! Available in PDF:


The entire audio of the BBC Proms 2 BRITISH CLASSICS can be downloaded here



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Hollywood Soundstage; or, John Wilson and the Sinfonia of London Play Orchestral Music from the Movies (Chandos, 2022)

Love this cover. Actually, it’s kind of sophisticated. Look! It has the magic words Hollywood and John Wilson and nothing more need be said. Now I know what to get for Christmas for my other old lady friends.

Hollywood SoundstageAbove: John conducts the Sinfonia of London in Frederick Loewe’s “Embassy Waltz” from My Fair Lady.

Actually, I think that’s Musical Director Johnny “Two-Harps” Green up there with the MGM Orchestra.


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My Beloved Conductor John Wilson’s Concert Schedule 14 September 2022 Through 25 June 2023

After wading through the unsurprising reviews of John’s 16 July concert at the Royal Albert, thought I’d list his upcoming performances:

Above: I’m afraid nothing on this list arouses my delight except the Martin-Blane standard, “Love”, here suavely sung by the co-composer himself, Ralph Blane; kickass arrangement by Ralph Burns, who 6 years later orchestrated Richard Rodgers’s No Strings.


The dates link to the ticket sites. The other highlights link to available recordings.

Wed 14 September 2022 19:30
Göteborgs Konserthus
Gothenburg, Sweden
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Leonard Elschenbroich (cello)

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Thu 15 September 2022 19:00
Vara Konserthus
Vara, Sweden
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Leonard Elschenbroich (cello)

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Wed 21 September 2022 14:00
BBC Philharmonic Studio
MediaCityUK, Salford
BBC Philharmonic
Timothy Rideout (viola)

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Sat 08 October 2022 13:30
Duke’s Hall, RAM
London UK
Royal Academy of Music Orchestra

  • Lili Boulanger: D’un matin de printemps
  • Robert Schumann: Symphony No 3 in E flat, op 97, ‘Rhenish’

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Thu 20 October 2022 19:30
Sheldonian Theatre Oxford
Oxford UK
Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra
Louis Schwizgebel (piano)

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Sat 11 November 2022 19:30
Duke’s Hall, RAM
London UK
Royal Academy of Music Orchestra

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So speaks my beloved conductor John Wilson: ‘I am delighted beyond words to be taking Sinfonia of London on our first live tour, playing in some of the UK’s most exciting venues.  All ninety of us are looking forward to welcoming audiences who know the orchestra through our recordings, our televised appearances at the BBC Proms, as well as anyone coming to hear us for the first time. We hope our programme will thrill and inspire you!’

Sat 26 November 2022 19:30
Symphony Hall Birmingham
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Sinfonia of London
Martin James Bartlett (piano)

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Mon 28 November 2022 19:30
St David’s Hall
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Sinfonia of London
Martin James Bartlett (piano)

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Thu 1 December 2022 19:45
The Anvil Theatre
Basingstoke, United Kingdom
Sinfonia of London
Alice Coote (mezzo-soprano)

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Fri 2 December 2022 19:30
Barbican
London, United Kingdom
Sinfonia of London
Alice Coote (mezzo-soprano)

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Sun 4 December 2022 19:30
Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Sinfonia of London
Martin James Bartlett (piano)

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Sat 31 December 2022 15:00
Berlin Tempodrom
Berlin, Germany
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
Circus Roncalli

  • Nino Rota: Musik aus dem Film ›Der Pate‹
  • Leroy Anderson: ›The Typewriter‹ und ›Fiddle Faddle‹
  • Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Musik aus dem Film ›Robin Hood‹
  • Maurice Ravel: ›Boléro‹
  • Henry Mancini: Musik aus dem Film ›The Pink Panther‹
  • …und mehr…

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Sat 31 December 2022 19:00
Berlin Tempodrom
Berlin, Germany
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
Circus Roncalli

  • Nino Rota: Musik aus dem Film ›Der Pate‹
  • Leroy Anderson: ›The Typewriter‹ und ›Fiddle Faddle‹
  • Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Musik aus dem Film ›Robin Hood‹
  • Maurice Ravel: ›Boléro‹
  • Henry Mancini: Musik aus dem Film ›The Pink Panther‹
  • …und mehr…

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Thu 5 January 2023 17:00
Stockholm Concert Hall
Stockholm, Sweden
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Kim Criswell (vocals)

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Thu 9 March 2023 19:30
Caird Hall
Dundee, United Kingdom
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Timothy Orpen (clarinet)

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Fri 10 March 2023 19:30
Usher Hall
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Timothy Orpen (clarinet)

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Thu 11 May 2023 20:00
Sydney Opera House
Sydney NSW, Australia
Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Stephen Hough (piano)

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Thu 12 May 2023 11:00
Sydney Opera House
Sydney NSW, Australia
Sydney Symphony Orchestra

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Sat 13 May 2023 14:00
Sydney Opera House
Sydney NSW, Australia
Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Stephen Hough (piano)

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Wed 17 May 2023 20:00
Sydney Opera House
Sydney NSW, Australia
Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Stephen Hough (piano)

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Thu 18 May 2023 13:30
Sydney Opera House
Sydney NSW, Australia
Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Stephen Hough (piano)

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Fri 19 May 2023 20:00
Sydney Opera House
Sydney NSW, Australia
Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Stephen Hough (piano)

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Sat 20 May 2023 20:00
Sydney Opera House
Sydney NSW, Australia
Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Stephen Hough (piano)

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Wed 7 June 2023 19:00
Queen Elizabeth Hall
London, United Kingdom
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Wed 8 June 2023 19:00
Queen Elizabeth Hall
London, United Kingdom
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Sat 24 June 2023 20:15
The Concertgebouw
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
Howard McGill (saxophone)

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Sun 25 June 2023 14:15
The Concertgebouw
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
Howard McGill (saxophone)



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My Beloved John Wilson’s Concert Schedule 6 March Through 16 July 2022, Plus an Update on That E-album About an English Conductor

To those of you patiently awaiting the release of my text+audiolinks album JOHN WILSON AN ENGLISH CONDUCTOR: It’s about half finished but go ahead and rummage around. I’m taking the time to refine my observations about John’s artistic path. Anyone who knows me from A POET FROM: LOVE, INSANITY, STEPHEN GYLLENHAAL, AND THE CREATIVE PROCESS knows this is my real bag.

Ah, there’s the man whose every gesture makes my heart beat faster.

Meanwhile, here’s his concert schedule—including his appearance with the Royal College—for the next few months (with links to music):

John’s schedule for 5 November 2021 to 18 February 2022 can be found on my posting here.

Sun 6 March 2022 20:00
Berliner Philharmonie
Berlin, Germany
DSO Berlin

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Thu 17 March 2022 19:30
Royal College of Music
London, UK
Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra

(Note: John ill, replaced by Martin Andre)

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Fri 8 April 2022 19:00
Sheffield City Hall
Sheffield, United Kingdom
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Louis Lortie (piano)

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Sat 9 April 2022 19:30
The Bridgewater Hall
Manchester, United Kingdom
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

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Thu 21 April 2022
The Bridgewater Hall
Manchester, United Kingdom
Halle Orchestra

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Fri 20 May 2022 19:30
Usher Hall
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Louis Schwizgebel (piano)

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Fri 21 May 2022 19:30
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Louis Schwizgebel (piano)

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Sat 16 July 2022 18:30
Royal Albert Hall
London, United Kingdom
Sinfonia of London
Adam Walker (flute)



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John Wilson Conducts the Sinfonia of London + Royal Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra in Richard Strauss’s “Metamorphosen” and Gives Me a Perfect Screenshot, 23 October 2020

I don’t know what I did to please the gods but on this 2020 October morning, somehow, I took a perfect screenshot of John conducting, while watching the (UK time) 7:30pm performance of the Royal Academy of Music (Finzi, Strauss). “Metamorphosen” is from his new album on Chandos.

Screening Room, SF 1979Above my beloved John, who I’m pleased to have captured as crisply and revealingly as Robert Elswit with his pic of Jake and Stephen Gyllenhaal (Steve’s gift to me): Himself conducting the Sinfonia of London in Strauss’s “Metamorphosen” (Chandos, 2022).

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For Valentine’s Day, 2022: My Desired and Beloved John Wilson Conducts the Sinfonia of London in Maurice Ravel’s Bolero, 1928 (Chandos, 2022)

Imagine Ida Rubenstein, who commissioned this late work from the old man, dancing to it in private…not to her lover, but to the portrait of her lover, to which she can be just as revealing as she pleases…

I can be as revealing as I please, John (remember what I used to do for a living?). Happy Valentine’s Day, mi amor.

I see you like this, John, and I’m a puddle of goo. Above: My number one stroke song. In case you missed it, you mooks, that’s Bolero up there, Maurice Ravel’s 1928 one-movement orchestral piece, played by the Sinfonia of London and conducted by the man I love, John Wilson, for Chandos records, February 2022.

Additional texts in PDF:


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Following My Beloved John Wilson’s Concertizing 5 November, 2021 Through 18 February, 2022

Including his appearance at the Royal Academy and his January tour with the National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands:


Fri 5 November 2021 19:30
National Concert Hall
Dublin, Ireland
RTE National Symphony Orchestra
Peter Moore, trombone

[full audio of this concert here and below—click any title]

[program notes here]

Sat 20 November 2021 19:30
Snape Maltings, United Kingdom
Sinfonia of London
Pavel Kolesnikov, piano

The Arts Desk in their review of this concert described the Sinfonia as “bold John Wilson’s latest super-orchestra, an army of technicolor generals”.

Sat 21 November 2021 19:30
Snape Maltings, United Kingdom
Sinfonia of London

Wed 1 December 2021 14:15
Birmingham, United Kingdom
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Nina Feng, violin

Sat 22 January 2022 20:15
De Doelen
Rotterdam, Netherlands
National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands

Sun 23 January 2022 15:00
Concertgebouw De Vereeniging
Nijmegen, Netherlands
National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands

Tue 25 January 2022 21:00
Muziekgebouw Frits Philips Eindhoven
Eindhoven, Netherlands
National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands

Wed 26 January 2022 20:00
Theater & Congres Orpheus
Apeldoorn, Netherlands
National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands

Thu 27 January 2022 21:00
TivoliVrendenburg
Utrecht, Netherlands
National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands

Fri 28 January 2022 20:15
TivoliVredenburg
Utrecht, Netherlands
National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands

Sat 29 January 2022 20:00
Theater Kerkrade
Kerkrade, Netherlands
National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands

Sun 30 January 2022 14:15
Amare
Den Haag, Netherlands
National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands

Wed 9 February 2022 19:30
St David’s Hall
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Philharmonia Orchestra
James Ehnes, violin

Wed 10 February 2022 19:30
Royal Festival Hall
London, United Kingdom
Philharmonia Orchestra
James Ehnes, violin

Fri 18 February 2022 19:30
Royal Academy of Music
London, United Kingdom
Royal Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra

Click on any of the titles below to access/download the entire audio of John’s 18 Feb 2022 RAM concert. Find the compete video on YT here.



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Conductor John Wilson, the Sinfonia of London, and Classic Composer Erich Korngold: My Beloved John’s 4 September 2021 Concert at the BBC Proms, London

6 September, 2021. Labor Day. (Bosses 2 – Labor 1) I suspect a few people in the UK might lately be visiting here as part of their Monday morning getting-into-gear ritual, so apologies for the lateness of this new posting, but I had to make the potato salad. Mister Grumble likes my potato salad.

Another reason for the delay: I needed to see what John was wearing for this radio concert, because the work clothes my bonny chooses to wear for any particular program always convey a meaning to me—so I had to wait for his picture (forget the bullshit reviews) to come out in The Guardian or The Independent… As you can see below, he was attired in a simple concert tuxedo, which I truly hope was comfortable. (Still wore his lucky cufflinks, though.)


John and SinfoniaAbove: Erich Korngold’s Symphony in F, Conducted by John Wilson and played by the Sinfonia of London, BBC Proms, September 2021.

The importance of John Wilson’s white tie and concert tailcoat. This is what I couldn’t determine during the early days of my passion for John: Whenever he wore the tailcoat at the Proms conducting The JWO, his fancy showtunes orchestra, I wondered, was it because he was following in the historically deep tradition of maestros (Bernstein, Barbirolli etc) in dignified full dress…or was it just part of the show? So when John eschewed the tailcoat for his very important 4 September “Viennese” concert at the Royal Albert—where he could have so easily camped it up—this is what his choice said to me:

This music is serious. This presentation is serious. Spectacle doesn’t apply here. Sentimentality doesn’t apply here. Pay attention to the music! An assured, masterful bit of programming—not just some splashy entertainment, but a true, potentially life-changing encounter with Art. For only ten bucks a bottom-price ticket, I understand. I hope you Brits appreciate what you have.

John, dearest: It was only quite recently that I decided the satisfaction I get, devising interesting fantasies about making love to you in full dress (in my imagination we’re both in our work clothes, you in your tailcoat, me in my sarong), belongs best in a particular narrow stream of writing that has nothing to do with the way I regard you in real life: as a fellow artist I’d enjoy exchanging energies with. So, hooray for your concert blue suit, your concert tuxedo, your rehearsal T-shirt, all of which remind me that an actual human being strives and pulses behind the baton to create something beautiful.

Which brings us to the concert program. I don’t know the Berg so I’ll let that one alone, except to say the soprano has a nice strong tone. The Zemlinsky encore? You clever lad. Your Ravel waltz is as tight as when you conducted it at the Royal College, here even more ravishing coming from a fuller orchestra. I’d also get a kick reading your markings for Strauss’s Die Fledermaus Overturehave never quite heard those musical values brought out before. Very yummy.


NOTES for Korngold: Symphony in F (Chandos, 2019) can be found here.


The third movement of Erich Korngold’s Symphony in F. The Mister and I have exchanged a few strong words on this subject; however, since one cannot talk reason to a woman in love, I’m not going to include his remarks here. It’s a wonder that this single movement can bring out such contentiousness among people, even in someone like Mister Grumble, who wouldn’t’ve given a fig for Korngold if I hadn’t rediscovered Korngold through my wanton passion for conductor John Wilson and all the music that surrounds him. Even Leonard Bernstein and his protegee, John Mauceri, couldn’t agree: read my earlier post ”Leonard Bernstein Hears Korngold’s Symphony in F-sharp for the First Time”[going off to make dinner, spaghetti with chicken-tomato sauce, back asap]



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John Wilson Conducts the Sinfonia of London, 4 September 2021 at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall in a Debut of Erich Korngold’s Symphony in F-sharp

For you fans, here’s the program for the 4 September, 2021 concert:

Francesca Chiejina, vocalist

John Wilson in PicadillyAbove Mister Personality: The Big Band medley from the BBC’s Swingin’ Christmas with The John Wilson Orchestra. List of tunes in the medley can be found on my blog posting, “My Beloved John Wilson Conducts The John Wilson Orchestra in a Swingin’ Christmas on BBC2, Christmas Day 2010”.



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My Beloved Conductor John Wilson and His Hottest Recordings for Chandos, Plus a Few of His Signature Tunes Recorded with The John Wilson Orchestra

Recorded for the Chandos label:

Recorded with The John Wilson Orchestra:



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John Wilson Conducts the Royal Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra in Barber, Delius and Ravel, July 2021

Recorded at the Duke’s Hall, Royal Academy of Music, 2 July 2021. Found the donation window, incidentally. Back in January, 2020 after we heard John conducting them in Tchaikowsky I said to Mister Grumble, ‘That was as good as any small-city orchestra in the US. I’d’ve paid cash money for this,’ and darned if the RAM didn’t just make my life a little easier. Here it is.

Chocolate kisses for my John and a promise to teach him how to make s’mores when the time is right. Above: 2 July 2021 concert at the RAM, in full.

To continue from my earlier posting, “My Beloved John Wilson Appointed to the Henry Wood Chair of Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music and Conducts the RAMSO in Arnold Schoenberg’s ‘Verklärte Nacht’ (1899) at Snape Maltings, 6 June 2021”: We talked over beers, Mister Grumble and I, about John’s energy, among other things, a couple of weeks ago. After we toasted Bloomsday, he gave me his take on John and John’s music. Mister G isn’t as enamored of John Wilson’s enormous and varied repertoire—from Broadway tunes to Rachmaninoff to Turnage—as I am, but he has many good things to say about my beloved conductor’s basic character. I described to him (my angel baby is blind) how differently John looks and acts when he’s with the RAM, or the Sinfonia of London or the Royal Northern Sinfonia. Less tense, more in control, more in his element—happier. Plus he doesn’t sweat as much as on the stage of the Royal Albert. ‘Then this is where he belongs,’ said Mister Grumble.

EXTRA! Download PDF of Feb 2020 issue of Gramophone with John’s interview that mentions the Sinfonia of London here.

Program:

Cassandra Wright, soprano



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On BBC Radio 4 Front Row, 21 August 2019: Conductor John Wilson and Biographer Brendan Carroll on Korngold

An excerpt from John’s comments:

Front Row: What’s so enthralling to you about the music of Erich Korngold?

John: It’s very much his own style… You hear two seconds of music and immediately you know it’s by Korngold because by the way he was 13 or 14 he had a fully developed late-Romantic Austro-German style and, you know, had it not been for the Nazis and the Second World War he would have continued to develop his operatic skills, his symphonic skills, and he would now be as established as Richard Strauss…

John and the Sinfonia of London Do KorngoldAbove John, Andrew Haveron, John Mills, and other members of the Sinfonia of London: Front Row Interviews John Wilson at the top half.


Front Row: What made you choose the particular pieces [for the Chandos recording] that you did?

John: I think the Symphony, Korngold’s Symphony in F-sharp, is the last great Austro-German romantic symphony and…it was written 1947 to 52, it took 5 years, and…I think it was the piece that Korngold spent, lavished the most time on. I think it was the piece that he felt was he felt he really had to write because it was a labor of love… And you know, he couldn’t get a satisfactory performance out of it during his lifetime because he was considered old hat…and in 1972 I think it was, it was discovered in the Munich orchestra’s library and the first recording performance given… And I just felt that the time had come for a revised sort of conception of this symphony of Korngold’s.

I Moderato
II Scherzo Allegro
III Adagio Lento
IV Allegro Finale

NOTES for Korngold: Symphony in F (Chandos, 2019) can be found here.



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My Darling John Wilson Conducts The John Wilson Orchestra in a Semi-Staged Concert of My Fair Lady at the Royal Albert Hall, BBC Proms, 14 July 2012

Completely bummed out that John’s 21 January concert with the LSO at the Barbican was completely canceled, so here’s my bonny lad at the 2012 BBC Proms with his eponymous orchestra in a really classy semi-staged concert of the complete 1956 Broadway musical, My Fair Lady, book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe; orchestration (for the movie score) by Andre Previn, orchestration enhancement by John Wilson. Cast: Anthony Andrews, James Fleet, Alun Armstrong, Julian Ovenden etc, and as Eliza, Annalene Beechey.

[download pdf album here]

EXTRA! John Wilson and the Sinfonia of London play the Embassy Waltz from their new album, Hollywood Soundstage (Chandos, Sep 2022).



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