Symphony No.2 Op.27
Sergei Rachmaninoff

27

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The second highest of Rachmaninov's 6 entries in the Ultimate Hall of Fame. This peaked at number 11 in 2004 but is placed at number 42 in the most recent countdown.

A magnificent work that helped re-establish the composer's self-confidence as a symphonist.

After the disaster of the premiere of his First Symphony, Rachmaninov fell into a depression and became unconvinced of his abilities as a symphonist. He was very unhappy with the first draft of his Second Symphony but after months of revision he finished the work and conducted the premiere in 1908 to great acclaim. The triumph re-established his sense of self-worth.

The Symphony is evidently not a simple or easy listen, not least because, at an hour in length, it requires considerable concentration — but it well repays the effort put in.