Classical music features in Olympic ceremony

Classical music and the world's best classical artists descended on Stratford for the Olympic opening ceremony, and the effect on the charts has been palpable.

London 2012 Olympics - The Opening Ceremony

Classical music was a major factor of the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday night. A TV audience of nearly 27 million people tuned in to see the event which was helmed by movie director Danny Boyle.

Performers included The London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle (and featuring Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean on the keyboard), and the music featured the likes of Elgar's Nimrod, Vangelis' Chariots Of Fire and Eric Coates' theme from The Dam Busters. There were also nods to classical music from Parry's Jerusalem, and even Arthur Wood's theme from The Archers.

Following the parade of all the Olympic athletes, the Olympic flag was carried into the arena by Daniel Barenboim, alongside other notables including Doreen Lawrence and Shami Chakrabarti. Presumably, of all the flagbearers, Barenboim was the only one to have conducted an entire performance of Beethoven's 9th in the same evening and on the opposite side of the city.

The soundtrack album of the whole ceremony has landed in the UK compilation charts. It features some of the classical works alongside the pop selections from the ceremony, like the Arctic Monkeys, Dizzee Rascal and The Clash.

Have a closer look at which classical pieces were featured in the Opening Ceremony in our Classic FM picture gallery.

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