The conductor and arranger John Wilson, together with his orchestra, has been signed to EMI Classics. Which won’t come as a surprise to followers of the UK music scene. Wilson and his players have been among the most exciting elements of recent BBC Proms seasons, where their sound – as big and technicolour as the great MGM musicals whose music they regularly play – and ebullience won over audiences in the Royal Albert Hall and via live television broadcasts across the country.
Indeed, Wilson’s name is linked with MGM for his orchestrations as much as his concerts – the film company commissioned him to reconstruct the orchestrations that had been lost from important musicals such as Singing’ in the Rain and The Wizard of Oz. His first album for EMI will, perhaps inevitably, be of film scores.
Yet Wilson’s discography is rather wider. For a range of labels (among them Avie, Dutton and ASV) he has recorded the music of composers including John Ireland, Edward German and Eric Coates. At a time when light music is less frequently performed than for many years, Wilson may be a beacon in the darkness.
John Wilson is interviewed as part of Gramophone’s film music focus, in the April 2011 issue