'In the bleak mid-winter.' Gustav Holst
21 April 2014, 20:38
Ralph Vaughan Williams' pastoral favourite comes out on top as the nation's favourite piece of classical music, with Mozart being crowned the nation's most popular composer with the most entries in the chart.
The Lark has well and truly ascended as the soaring violin melody has taken the number one spot in the Classic FM Hall of Fame 2014. Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2, the piece at the top of the chart for the past three years, now sits at number two.
With 22 entries overall, up from 19 last year, Mozart achieved more chart positions than any other composer in the Classic FM Hall of Fame 2014. Beethoven, meanwhile, remained static with 20 appearances in the countdown.
This year's chart also revealed a huge rise in popularity in orchestral music used in video games, with eight entries in the top 300 including two in the top 20. Since Classic FM started playing video game soundtracks regularly last year, the station has attracted a significant number of new, younger listeners. In the last year alone, the number of 15 to 24 year olds listening to Classic FM each week has grown by 27 per cent.
The music for the Final Fantasy series, written by Japanese composer Nobuo Uematsu, was the highest video game music entry at number seven, while The Elder Scrolls Series, composed by BAFTA award winner Jeremy Soule, came in at number 17.
Classic FM’s John Suchet said: "Exactly 100 years after Vaughan Williams composed The Lark Ascending, its poignancy and beauty are as powerful as ever. And with video game music making its mark like never before, it's clear that we’ve attracted a great many younger listeners as Classic FM continues to grow. I'm thrilled to welcome them to the nation's classical station."
Vaughan Williams' rise to the top of the chart may have been helped in part by its inclusion in one of this year's most high-profile soap story lines: the music served as a poignant soundtrack to the moment character Hayley Cropper (played by Julie Hesmondhalgh) ended her struggle with cancer by mixing a lethal cocktail of medicine.
What do you think? You can review the entire chart here, and let us know your thoughts below.