Monday, November 08, 2010

Favourite 19th Century German art music works

ABC Classic FM have been revisiting their listener-voted Top 100 Classical Works which they originally compiled in 2001. Described as The Classic 100 Ten Years On even though it's only been nine years (EoR expects the next one will be in eight years time) it's interesting to see what people prefer in classical music (or what they don't by the ommissions). The two lists are not directly comparable, since listeners could nominate ten works this time, but only one last time.

EoR's favourite composer, Jean Sibelius is there with four (non challenging — where's the Fourth Symphony or Tapiola?) works compared to only one last time. No Webern, no John Dowland (but no change from last time there).

Nine composers make up over half the chosen works: Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Schubert, Rachmaninoff, Sibelius, Mahler, Mendelssohn and Bizet. That's not too bad: nearly half of them aren't German. Nearly.

Three musical forms account for almost half the works: concerto, symphony and opera.

Selections are seriously skewed towards the late nineteenth century. They drop off dramatically for the second half of the twentieth century (and those few are works like Gorecki's Symphony 3 and the Giazotti arrangement of Albinoni's Adagio — not exactly challenging listening), and there are no works from the last decade.

There are no women composers in the list.

1 comment:

  1. Since they allowed listeners to suggest 10 works each, I'm curious what the full combined list looked like.

    I'm surprised at Tallis' "Spem in alium" - I would have thought something like Byrd's 5-part Mass would have been more well known.

    Of course, I always struggle with lists like this - a study of my iPod would show the exact opposite pattern to the bar chart above, with the majority pre-1650 or post-1900, and very little in the 1850-1899 bin. :-)


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