United Kingdom classical radio station Classic FM has released its latest composer popularity poll, and British composer Ralph Vaughn Williams’ violin meditation The Lark Ascending is the top listener choice. It bumped Rachamaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto down to second place.
Kerry Andrew of the UK Guardian dissents:
“So what does it say about us as a nation? That we like the cosy, armchair favourites? That we all want to go for a cream tea after a day tilling the fields? Perhaps, but if listeners are making ‘safe’ choices it is because programmers are too. This is, after all, a Classic FM poll – hardly the forum for playing Stockhausen’s pioneering electronic works or Renaissance composer Gesualdo’s astringent microtonal nuances on a regular basis. If the poll had been conducted with listeners to BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction or the broad-ranging classical website Sinfini the results would have undoubtedly been different.”
I hear you Kerry, but speaking personally, if American classical audiences made The Lark Ascending their number one pick, I’d be ecstatic. Over at WQXR in New York City it’s Beethoven, Beethoven, Beethoven, and Beethoven (duh duh duh duuuhhhhhh . . . ).
For those of you who have never heard The Lark, here it is. Enjoy.