Britain’s favourite classical piece of 2020 revealed

The Classic FM Hall Of Fame logged more than 130,000 votes this year.
The Classic FM Hall Of Fame logged more than 130,000 votes this year.

Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending has been voted Britain’s favourite piece of classical music for a second year running.

Last year, the English composer’s 15-minute work returned to the top spot in the Classic FM Hall Of Fame, after being briefly displaced to third by Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.

The composition – written in its earliest form just over a century ago – was inspired by a poem of the same name by George Meredith.

More than 130,000 votes were cast in the latest edition of the annual survey.

In the 250th anniversary year of his birth, Beethoven was voted the nation’s most popular composer, alongside Mozart – with both scoring 17 entries in the chart.

The Hall Of Fame features a record 28 film soundtracks, with John Williams’ score to Schindler’s List voted both the most popular piece by a living composer and the top film score.

It climbed 14 places to number 14.

Investitures at Buckingham Palace
Sir Karl Jenkins (John Stillwell/PA)

Sir Karl Jenkins is the UK’s most popular living composer, and The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace is his highest entry at number 22.

Classic FM presenter John Suchet said: “Over the past 25 years, the Classic FM Hall of Fame has become a barometer of the nation’s tastes in classical music – and it couldn’t be more relevant than now.

“With over 130,000 votes – the highest in four years – more and more people are turning to classical music.

“It’s fascinating to see the variety of music that the nation has chosen in these uncertain times – from familiar pieces such as The Lark Ascending and Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2; Elgar’s stirring Enigma Variations and Cello Concerto, to film scores including Schindler’s List, Star Wars and Harry Potter. It shows that classical music really is for everyone.

“And as a fan of Beethoven, I’m thrilled that, in the 250th anniversary year of his birth, he has been voted the most popular composer, sharing the title with Mozart.

“For me, Beethoven’s music lifts the spirits every time. Although our current world may feel very different, what has remained is classical music’s unique power to uplift, motivate and energise, as well as to soothe and calm.

“That’s why it’s the perfect antidote.”

Votes were cast online at ClassicFM.com and by post between January 20 and March 22.