Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture tops the Classic FM Hall of Fame for the first time ever
2 April 2018, 20:46
For the first time in the 22-year history of the Classic FM Hall of Fame, Tchaikovsky's cannon-fuelled epic has reached the No.1 spot. Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending falls to No.3
After four years in a row at the top, Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending is knocked into third place this year, while Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto remains in the Number 2 spot.
The 1812 Overture, which is famous for including a part for cannons, has been a regular feature of the chart, which is an annual poll of the nation's favourite music.
Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture has climbed in recent years from Number 13 in 2016, to Number 6 last year before shooting up five places to be crowned the nation's favourite piece of classical music in the 2018 chart.
Classic FM presenter John Suchet, who's currently writing a book about Tchaikovsky, said: "It's such a great show piece. You can hear it at all the big classical music concerts. If it's done properly, it's got a huge orchestra, it's got a big choir, it's got the lot. It start quite gently with a folk tune and there's no hint that by the end there's going to be fireworks and cannon. It's the perfect party piece!"
And if you can't get your hands on cannons, why not try paper bags, like this enterprising orchestra?
But the composer himself wasn't so sure. The 1812 Overture was one of his least favourite pieces. He wrote to a friend: "I [wrote] it with no warm feeling of love and therefore there will probably be no artistic merits in it."
The first performance of the piece was due to take place in a cathedral, but the building wasn't ready in time… so it was actually first performed in a tent.
Tchaikovsky has 14 entries in this year's Classic FM Hall of Fame, including The Nutcracker at Number 13. But he's some way off from Mozart, this year's most popular composer, who boasts 23 entries in the top 300.
This year's highest placed film soundtrack is John Williams' Schindler's List at Number 23, beating Howard Shore's The Lord of the Rings for the first time in 15 years. And Williams is also the most popular living composer in the 2018 chart.