Radio entertainment and showbiz

Dan Walker reveals nation’s favourite in Classic FM Hall of Fame

The top 300 pieces of classical music were played on Classic FM across the Easter weekend, with the new number one revealed by Dan Walker just before 9pm this evening.

More than 100,000 votes were cast by the public in this year’s chart with Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2 coming out as the nation’s favourite piece of classical music.

While the piece has always been a popular choice with the public, this is the second year in a row that it’s number one, and the tenth time since the poll was launched in 1996.

2024 is another record year for movie music, with popularity for film scores at an all-time high. In total, 39 film scores appear in this year’s chart – representing 13% of the music – and the number of scores has increased every year since 2016. This compares to the first ever Classic FM Hall of Fame, 28 years ago, when there were just two film entries.

The number one film score is John Williams’ soundtrack to Schindler’s List, at number 10. Williams, the composer behind movie themes such as Star Wars (number 40), Jurassic Park (45) and Harry Potter (57), remains the most popular living composer, with seven entries.

Hans Zimmer, who wrote Gladiator (43) and Interstellar (108) has six entries, while composer Debbie Wiseman has four entries, including her score to the film Wilde at number 198, up 92 places from last year.

Welsh composer Sir Karl Jenkins, who celebrated his 80th birthday in February, enjoys his best-ever year in the Classic FM Hall of Fame, with four entries, all up on their 2023 places. He is the most popular living British composer, an accolade he shares with Debbie Wiseman.

Two of Jenkins’ pieces have reached their highest positions – The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace (4) and Palladio (64). Wiseman’s highest entry is The Glorious Garden at number 19.

Mozart retains his crown as the nation’s most popular composer, with 13 entries in total, followed by Beethoven and Tchaikovsky with 11 each, and Bach with nine pieces.

Dan Walker, who rounded off the chart this evening, said: “The Classic FM Hall of Fame always gives us a window into our taste in music and 2024 is no different.

“Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2 is an enduring and powerful piece and remains the nation’s favourite.

“The increasing popularity of movie music is one of the biggest changes we’ve seen in the past 28 years of the chart and this time we have an all-time record of 39 entries, led by the legendary John Williams.

“We should also congratulate Sir Karl Jenkins and Debbie Wiseman on being recognised as the most popular living British composers.”

The Classic FM Hall of Fame 2024 – top 20:

Rachmaninov                          Piano Concerto No.2
Vaughan Williams                  The Lark Ascending
Vaughan Williams                  Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
Jenkins                                     The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace
Elgar                                          Enigma Variations
Beethoven                                Piano Concerto No.5 (‘Emperor’)
Holst                                         The Planets Suite
Beethoven                               Symphony No.9 (‘Choral’)
Shostakovich                           Piano Concerto No.2
Williams                                  Schindler’s List
Allegri                                      Miserere
Morricone                                The Mission (includes Gabriel’s Oboe)
Beethoven                               Symphony No.6 (‘Pastoral’)
Mozart                                     Clarinet Concerto
Mozart                                     Requiem
Dvorak                                    Symphony No.9 (‘From the New World’)
Ungar                                      The Ashokan Farewell
Sibelius                                   Finlandia
Wiseman                                 The Glorious Garden
Barber                                     Adagio for Strings


The Classic FM Hall of Fame 2024 – top 5 film scores:

Williams                                  Schindler’s List (10)
Morricone                               The Mission (12)
Shore                                        The Lord of the Rings (26)
Williams                                   Star Wars (40)
Zimmer                                    Gladiator (43)

The full Classic FM Hall of Fame countdown is now available on catch-up on Global Player.

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