The Top Ten in the Hottest 100 Classical of the 20th Century

I should have known this week would be dedicated to blogging about the ABC Classic Hottest 100 Classical of the 20th Century. My mind has been filled with the glories that are currently playing – even the Shostakovich “Leningrad” Symphony’s presence in the 50s is cool to me. But, here are my predictions for the Top Ten – which has a lot in common with Jonathan Powles’ list.  This is in no particular order.

Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue. This is fusion music that is actually cool. And performed by one of the greatest figures in 20th Century music. Bernstein’s legacy will last far longer than conductors like Herbert von Karajan.

Orff – Carmina Burana.  This is a Big Song.  Performed by all the most wonderful performers… and this bloke.

Rachmaninov – Piano Concerto No. 3. I am hedging my bets here and wondering if No. 2 will be up there as well or instead of this. However, I suspect its dominance of the film Shine will help the “concerto for elephants” to the Top 10.

Copland – Fanfare for the Common Man. This song gets regular airings on radio – especially in past years, as well as TV sport coverage.  First version – the original. The second version – Woody Herman

Vaughan Williams – The Lark Ascending. One of most beautiful masterpieces of the century, and ceaselessly popular. Don’t worry – no Rieu this time. Choose between the attractive female violinists or the male violinist inside the cathedral.

Holst – The Planets. I think John Williams need to pay the Holst estate for taking ideas from this suite for his soundtracks. Here is my favourite movement – Uranus, conducted by Australia’s first great exported conductor, Sir Charles Mackerras.

Mahler – Symphony No. 5. Having had the other 20th Century Mahlers in the 50s and 60s, I’m not as sure about this one as I was when the countdown started. But here it remains – largely for the Adagietto

Prokofiev – Peter and the Wolf. This work is probably where a lot of children receive their musical education – that’s because it’s fun. And this is the best video of same – with Sting and the Rubbery Figures.

Barber – Adagio for Strings. One of the most performed works through films, TV and on the radio, there is probably little chance this won’t be near the top.

Elgar – Cello Concerto  I’m stuck for the last one, because I’d like to think Shostakovich, with the 5th Symphony and Stravinsky, with the Rite of Spring (not Firebird) would be in the list. But I think, considering the presence already of many British composers, that the Elgar Cello Concerto will make it and it will be the Jacqueline du Pre version with John Barbirolli that will be played. That’s why someone else is playing it here. The Lloyd Webber who plays music.

Postscript. My partner, @clairebbbear has asked me, as soon as I wrote the first version of this, why I put Fanfare for the Common Man in the Top Ten instead of Ravel – Bolero. So, I’m going to put in a reference to it. I loathe and detest Blaro, but it probably will be in the Top Ten.

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6 thoughts on “The Top Ten in the Hottest 100 Classical of the 20th Century

  1. not convinced re p & the woluf, maybe fantasia on a theme of T T instead of/as wel as lark?
    there are four soloists booked for saturday’s big night…..for concerti? 3 concerti 1 solo piece? etc….dunno

  2. I’m in complete agreement about John Williams. if you took out the Holst and the Wagner, there wouldn’t be much left. Youré probably right about the Elgar Cello being in the top 10, but perhaps also the Sea Pictures.

  3. Hi: s-o -o interesting, your list. Agrees with quite a bit of mine. Have only had 4 of my 10 played so far: Elgar Sym. #1 – disappointed that it was @ 78, other 3 today (Wed.) Sculthorpe, Edwards’ ‘Maninyas’ & Rach Sym # 2. Remaining are P & the wolf, ‘Firebird’, Mahler Sym 5 (agree with you entirely), Porgy & Bess, & two outsiders, Walton, ‘Crown Imperial’ – Coronation march 1937, and M Tippett, Concerto for Double String Orch. – one of the most joyous of 20C comps, but hardly ever played on ABC C-FM.

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