5 April 2021, 20:38
The nation has spoken – here are the UK’s 300 favourite pieces of classical music, as voted for in the Classic FM Hall of Fame 2021.
Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending has been voted the nation’s favourite piece of classical music, for a record eleventh time, in the Classic FM Hall of Fame 2021.
The beloved piece, famous for its soaring violin solo, celebrated its 100th anniversary at the end of last year and was played out in the final moments of the landmark Easter weekend countdown.
Rachmaninov’s soaring Piano Concerto No. 2, and Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, closely followed in second and third place.
The pieces were revealed in a countdown of the nation’s 300 favourite pieces of music, voted for by nearly 53,000 people, over the Easter weekend.
After a year of lockdown, with streaming more popular than ever before, the nation voted 35 film and TV soundtracks into the top 300 – more than ever before. Schindler’s List by John Williams was the highest placed film score for the fourth consecutive year, at No.16.
The world’s biggest poll of classical music tastes also saw its biggest churn for over 15 years, with 48 new or re-entries into the chart.
There were more pieces by women composers than ever before (nine), from German Romantic Clara Schumann to Japanese video game composer Yoko Shimomura.
Black British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor saw his first entry into the countdown with his exquisite arrangement of African American spiritual ‘Deep River’.
Debbie Wiseman, Classic FM’s Composer in Residence, was the most popular living British composer with four entries, closely followed by Sir Karl Jenkins.
Plus, The Planets by Holst clocked in at No. 8 – its highest ever position after the centenary of the work’s first public premiere fell last year – and it was a vintage year for Haydn, with the most entries (five) the composer has ever had in the top 300.
The Classic FM Hall of Fame 2021 took place from 9am-9pm, Good Friday to Easter Monday. Catch up now on Global Player, the official Classic FM app.