BBC Music Magazine asks conductors: name the “greatest” symphonies

Posted on: August 10, 2016

BBC Music Magazine surveyed 151 conductors working across the world to come up with a top twenty great symphonies,” reports Mark Brown in Thursday’s (8/4) Guardian (London). “The ‘Eroica,’ Beethoven’s Third Symphony, came in at No. 1, followed by his Ninth, the ‘Choral,’ in second place. Mozart’s last symphony, No. 41, the ‘Jupiter,’ was in third place while Mahler occupied the next two places with his Ninth and Second symphonies respectively. Surprisingly, Beethoven’s Fifth, with its instantly recognizable duh-duh-duh-duuuh opening, missed out on a top 10 spot, coming in 11th place. Oliver Condy, editor of the magazine, admitted it was no great surprise Beethoven dominated the list. ‘It has been over 200 years since Beethoven’s symphony number three was written and the vote suggests that it has not been improved on in those years, which is remarkable really and is testament to his absolute genius.’ … The most recent work on the list is Shostakovich’s Symphony No 5, ranked at 17.” Click here for the Guardian article listing the top ten works; the top twenty appear in the September issue of BBC Music Magazine (some content password-protected).

Posted August 10, 2016