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28 August 2017, 18:45
The score for the 1997 blockbuster film Titanic, composed by the late James Horner, is the best-selling classical album of the last 25 years, according to the Ultimate Classic FM Chart, the biggest ever countdown of classical music album sales in the UK.
To celebrate Classic FM’s 25th birthday next month, we commissioned a poll which covered the top 300 albums released since 7th September 1992, when Classic FM first launched on air.
Compiled by the Official Charts Company based on UK music sales data, the countdown features 90 compilation albums and 26 film soundtracks.
Click here to explore the whole chart
Titanic: Music from the Motion Picture has sold more than one million copies in the UK alone, was certified triple platinum by the BPI and was number one album in 20 countries. The music has been integral to the phenomenal success of Titanic, which propelled Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet to stardom, and is the second highest-grossing film of all time.
Speaking exclusively to Classic FM about the success of Titanic in the chart, Sarah Horner, widow of James, said: “He [James] was a very individualistic thinker, so I don’t know if he would feel like that was his best work. Certainly, the public loved it, but what I would say is – and I think this is true for all the composers I know – is that their relationship with the audience was where they felt most emotionally connected in the world and was probably where they could honestly feel loved.”
“Touching the inner world of the audience was what most composers wish to do, and when he was successful at doing that, I think James felt like he had fulfilled his destiny.”
Mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins OBE is the number one classical music artist of the past 25 years, selling more than 2.7 million albums in the Ultimate Classic FM Chart.
Second Nature and Living a Dream were the most popular classical albums released in 2004 and 2005 respectively and both feature in the top ten, along with another seven of Katherine’s albums in the chart. Russell Watson is the most popular male artist, with almost 2.5 million album sales in the chart. The Voice and Encore are in second and third places in the countdown respectively, after Titanic.
“I was 12 when Classic FM was launched and I feel like we have grown up together. I listened as a child, so it was a huge moment for me when they first played my song on the radio - and when they announced my first number one, I remember bursting into tears! With so many friends and colleagues on the list, to be named the number one artist over Classic FM's 25 years is something I will treasure always. I hope you can hear the cheering all the way from Neath!”
With nearly 2.3 million album sales in the countdown, the biggest international classical artist is André Rieu. The ‘King of Waltz’ also has more albums in the chart than any other artist – 11 in total – but Rieu’s massive success doesn’t end there. His albums were the biggest sellers released in six out of the past nine years: Forever Vienna (2009), Moonlight Serenade (2010), And the Waltz Goes on (2011), Magic of the Movies (2012), Love in Venice (2014) and Dreaming (2016). The latter was in joint first place with Aled Jones and his album One Voice, released on the Classic FM label last year.
André Rieu said: “Ever since Forever Vienna became my first UK number one album eight years ago, the support from the British public has been incredible. I could not ask for more enthusiastic and loyal fans and every step of the way, Classic FM and its listeners have been with me. I am thrilled and honoured to be the number one international classical artist. Thank you and keep waltzing, Britain!”
The chart also reveals phenomenal popularity for singers and composers from Wales. Seven out of the top 20 albums are by Welsh artists, while six out of the top 20 best-selling artists are from Wales – more than any other nation. Charlotte Church, the Fron Male Voice Choir, Bryn Terfel, Aled Jones and Sir Karl Jenkins are all in the top 20 list, alongside Katherine Jenkins.
Elsewhere in the chart, the best-selling living composer is Howard Shore, known for writing the soundtrack to the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Italian pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi, whose work was first championed in the UK by Classic FM, is in second place. In his 85th birthday year, John Williams, the legendary composer behind some of the world’s best-known film scores such as Star Wars, Jurassic Park and Harry Potter, is third, followed by Sir Karl Jenkins.