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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Beethoven crowned most popular composer in Classic FM poll

Published 28/03/2016 | 21:06

Classic FM presenter John Suchet said Beethoven's music is
Classic FM presenter John Suchet said Beethoven's music is "universally popular"

Beethoven has beaten Mozart for the first time to be crowned the most popular composer in the 2016 Classic FM Hall Of Fame poll.

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The world's largest annual survey of classical music tastes saw more than 170,000 votes cast by the public.

German composer Beethoven , who died in 1827 at the age of 56, achieved 19 pieces in this year's chart, with Piano Concerto No 5 (Emperor), Symphony No 6 (Pastoral) and Symphony No 9 (Choral) placing in the top 10.

Mozart's Clarinet Concerto was the lone top 10 composition, of a total of 16 overall, from the Austrian child prodigy who died aged 35 in 1791.

Classic FM presenter John Suchet pointed to film scores as a possible explanation for Beethoven's rise.

"Ever since we launched the first Classic FM Hall Of Fame in 1996, Mozart has taken precedence," he said.

"I think that Beethoven's new position as the most popular composer has to do with films such as the Oscar-winning The King's Speech, which famously used his 7th Symphony, but his music is so universally popular."

The broadcaster added: "If you land on any street in any town in any country of the world, someone will know Beethoven's work."

While the two composers have reached joint first place in three previous charts, Beethoven has never secured more pieces in the top 300 than Mozart.

This year's chart features a diverse range of classical music from well-known living composers to timeless favourites who remain as popular as ever.

For the seventh time since 1996, and reclaiming last year's title, Ralph Vaughan Williams's The Lark Ascending has been voted the nation's favourite piece of classical music.

Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 2 is in second place.

Among the highlights in the 2016 Classic FM Hall Of Fame, John Williams's famous Star Wars theme has reached its highest ever position.

It jumped 38 places to number 44.

Star Wars has beaten Williams's five other entries in the chart, including Schindler's List, Jurassic Park and Raiders Of The Lost Ark, and confirmed his place as the most popular living composer.

Howard Shore's The Lord Of The Rings remains the nation's favourite film score at number 28.

Sir Karl Jenkins has been voted the UK's most popular living composer, with three pieces in the Classic FM Hall Of Fame.

Jenkins's The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace is the highest placed piece by a living composer, at number 15.

The last few years has seen a surge in popularity of orchestral music used in video games.

The highest new entry is the video game score Shenmue by Koshiro and Iuchi.

The music for the Final Fantasy series, written by Japanese composer Nobuo Uematsu, has dropped out of the top 10 to number 17.

The full top 300 list is published online at www.classicfm.com.

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