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The BBC Music Magazine top 10 Symphonies


mnauta
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Any agreements, disagreements on the BBC Magazine list?

 

Not sure about #9 - Tchaikovsky Symphony No 6. I personally don't think it should be top 10 at all. It does have an amazing second movement.

 

The BBC Music Magazine top 10

 

1. Beethoven Symphony No 3 (1803)

2. Beethoven Symphony No 9 (1824)

3. Mozart Symphony No 41 (1788)

4. Mahler Symphony No 9 (1909)

5. Mahler Symphony No 2 (1894 rev 1903)

6. Brahms Symphony No 4 (1885)

7. Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique (1830)

8. Brahms Symphony No 1 (1876)

9. Tchaikovsky Symphony No 6 (1893)

10. Mahler Symphony No 3 (1896)

 

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/aug/04/beethoven-eroica-greatest-symphony-vote-bbc-mozart-mahler

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No Bruckner, no Vaughan Williams, no way. This kind of list is so subjective it is pointless.

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Any agreements, disagreements on the BBC Magazine list?

 

Not sure about #9 - Tchaikovsky Symphony No 6. I personally don't think it should be top 10 at all. It does have an amazing second movement.

 

The BBC Music Magazine top 10

 

1. Beethoven Symphony No 3 (1803)

2. Beethoven Symphony No 9 (1824)

3. Mozart Symphony No 41 (1788)

4. Mahler Symphony No 9 (1909)

5. Mahler Symphony No 2 (1894 rev 1903)

6. Brahms Symphony No 4 (1885)

7. Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique (1830)

8. Brahms Symphony No 1 (1876)

9. Tchaikovsky Symphony No 6 (1893)

10. Mahler Symphony No 3 (1896)

 

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/aug/04/beethoven-eroica-greatest-symphony-vote-bbc-mozart-mahler

I would make some changes:

Beethoven No 3

Beethoven No 9

Brahms No 1

Brahms No 4

Bruckner No 7

Bruckner No 8

Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique

Mahler No 2

Mahler No 6

Tchaikovsky No 5

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According to article they polled 3 conductors:

 

Simon Rattle

Marin Alsop

Sakari Oramo

 

Sorry, but for a international magazine that's not the most authoritative group (except Simon Rattle)

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My personal desert island list would be quite different as well, with only 3 overlaps with the BBC list (although significantly higher overlap with AnotherSpin)

 

Beethoven 3 & 7

Brahms 1 & 4

Bruckner 4 & 7

Mahler 4

Schumann 3

Mendelssohn 3

Tchaikovsky 5

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According to article they polled 3 conductors:

 

Simon Rattle

Marin Alsop

Sakari Oramo

 

Sorry, but for a international magazine that's not the most authoritative group (except Simon Rattle)

 

While I agree in principle, these lists will always be extremely subjective anyhow, so even if you interviewed more well know names you still wouldn't necessarily be any wiser.

 

Maybe if you samples 50 high profile conducted you would have some trends emerging.

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Beethoven 9, though it's an old chestnut I don't listen to much anymore, has to be top of the list for me. And I'm sorry to admit it, but Mozart symphonies are mostly lost on me.

 

Thanks to the OP and other contributors for pointing out works I might be interested in hearing more of.

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My personal desert island list would be quite different as well, with only 3 overlaps with the BBC list (although significantly higher overlap with AnotherSpin)

 

Beethoven 3 & 7

Brahms 1 & 4

Bruckner 4 & 7

Mahler 4

Schumann 3

Mendelssohn 3

Tchaikovsky 5

In fact Mahler No 4 is my first love from all his symphonies...) I included it in my list but then decided in favor of more universally acclaimed No 2.
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In fact Mahler No 4 is my first love from all his symphonies...) I included it in my list but then decided in favor of more universally acclaimed No 2.

 

I personally don't care very much about whatever is "universally acclaimed".

 

Look at Mendelssohn and Schumann in my list. Nobody takes Mendelssohn very serious these days, and the saying that Schumann couldn't orchestrate is still out there.

 

And to this day, Beethoven 9 really bores me. There you go, I said it.

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And to this day, Beethoven 9 really bores me. There you go, I said it.

 

I can hardly complain - it *is* constant. If I can "dis" Mozart, you can certainly "dis" the 9th. :)

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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I personally don't care very much about whatever is "universally acclaimed".

 

Look at Mendelssohn and Schumann in my list. Nobody takes Mendelssohn very serious these days, and the saying that Schumann couldn't orchestrate is still out there.

 

And to this day, Beethoven 9 really bores me. There you go, I said it.

That's the point. Such list would be completed from at least two perspectives:

- My favorite symphonies;

- Most important symphonies in history.

One would complete either first or second list, and they are not necessarily be the same. I think I probably was making second...))) That was the main reason why I put LvB 9 there. Ok, I am changing Mahler No 2 for No 4) The latter has very special place in my very personal list. It was on my first ever Mahler LP, it was first ever Mahler I heard live - Boston Symphony with Seiji Ozawa and Anne-Sophie von Otter in snowy Christmas Vienna many years ago. We (me and my future wife) got cheap entry tickets to Musikverein and were sitting on a huge persian rug at the back end of the hall during the concert...

 

I know Mendelssohn symphonies quite well, including Scottish, of course. Still not on the top, but chamber Mendelssohn is. Almost the same with Schumann, I simply adore some of his chamber music.

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My personal desert island list would be quite different as well, with only 3 overlaps with the BBC list (although significantly higher overlap with AnotherSpin)

 

Beethoven 3 & 7

Brahms 1 & 4

Bruckner 4 & 7

Mahler 4

Schumann 3

Mendelssohn 3

Tchaikovsky 5

 

This is closer to what I might chose, although I am somehow unable to enjoy Mahler...

I would replace it with Rachmaninoff's 2nd :)

 

How about Schubert?

Sibelius?

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Personally, I'd have put the Beethoven 5 and 7 instead of the 3 and 9.

I'd probably also put the Dvorak 9 in, but I like Dvorak in general, not just the symphonies.

And I like later stuff more than earlier, so as good as Mozart is, I'm not sure I'd have included it.

Probably wouldn't include the Brahms or Tchaikovsky.

 

But it is sort of silly exercise. It's all great music.

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This is closer to what I might chose, although I am somehow unable to enjoy Mahler...

I would replace it with Rachmaninoff's 2nd :)

 

How about Schubert?

Sibelius?

 

Love Schubert, but in the symphonic genre he never achieved the mastership of his piano and chamber music. He died to young unfortunately, 12 years younger than the age when Brahms finally attacked this genre.

 

With Sibelius, I'm still in the process of "learning" it, not yet there.

 

And while I appreciate Rachmaninov's symphonic output,not has not the same level of personal relevance to me as the others.

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That's the point. Such list would be completed from at least two perspectives:

- My favorite symphonies;

- Most important symphonies in history.

One would complete either first or second list, and they are not necessarily be the same. I think I probably was making second...))) That was the main reason why I put LvB 9 there. Ok, I am changing Mahler No 2 for No 4) The latter has very special place in my very personal list. It was on my first ever Mahler LP, it was first ever Mahler I heard live - Boston Symphony with Seiji Ozawa and Anne-Sophie von Otter in snowy Christmas Vienna many years ago. We (me and my future wife) got cheap entry tickets to Musikverein and were sitting on a huge persian rug at the back end of the hall during the concert...

 

I know Mendelssohn symphonies quite well, including Scottish, of course. Still not on the top, but chamber Mendelssohn is. Almost the same with Schumann, I simply adore some of his chamber music.

 

I'll leave the "most important" question to the musicologists, and have just given my personal preferences.

 

In any case, most important for what?

 

Relevance as a stand-alone work? Innovation? Impact? Number of times played? Number of times recorded?

 

If you were to add influence, we'd even need to add JC Bach, as he really started the symphonic genre.

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I'll leave the "most important" question to the musicologists, and have just given my personal preferences.

 

In any case, most important for what?

 

Relevance as a stand-alone work? Innovation? Impact? Number of times played? Number of times recorded?

 

If you were to add influence, we'd even need to add JC Bach, as he really started the symphonic genre.

Well... One would see something in different grades from subjective to objective, I believe)
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According to article they polled 3 conductors:

 

Simon Rattle

Marin Alsop

Sakari Oramo

 

Sorry, but for a international magazine that's not the most authoritative group (except Simon Rattle)

 

They just name those three, but at the beginning, the article says "BBC Music Magazine surveyed 151 conductors working across the world to come up with a top 20 great symphonies."

Claude

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They just name those three, but at the beginning, the article says "BBC Music Magazine surveyed 151 conductors working across the world to come up with a top 20 great symphonies."

 

Good point. Reading the article certainly helps (should have done that myself...).

 

Do I understand this correctly that the 151 conductors only gave their top 3? That's a weird methodology to come up with a top 10 (sorry in a previous life I ran a market research department)

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They were asked: '...to name the three symphonies they consider the greatest.' The results were then complied into a top 20.

 

Here's the BBC Music Magazine's complete list of the Top 20:

 

01 - Beethoven 3

02 - Beethoven 9

03 - Mozart 41

04 - Mahler 9

05 - Mahler 2

06 - Brahms 4

07 - Berlioz Symphonie fantastique

08 - Brahms 1

09 - Tchaikovsky 6

10 - Mahler 3

11 - Beethoven 5

12 - Brahms 3

13 - Bruckner 8

14 - Sibelius 7

15 - Mozart 40

16 - Beethoven 7

17 - Shostakovich 5

18 - Brahms 2

19 - Beethoven 6

20 - Bruckner 7

1070957250_Imprimatur.NihilObstatSepia3Crop(2).jpg.2162a44365e84a5df7d456bf8026ed67.jpg

 

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They were asked: '...to name the three symphonies they consider the greatest.' The results were then complied into a top 20.

 

Here's the BBC Music Magazine's complete list of the Top 20:

 

01 - Beethoven 3

02 - Beethoven 9

03 - Mozart 41

04 - Mahler 9

05 - Mahler 2

06 - Brahms 4

07 - Berlioz Symphonie fantastique

08 - Brahms 1

09 - Tchaikovsky 6

10 - Mahler 3

11 - Beethoven 5

12 - Brahms 3

13 - Bruckner 8

14 - Sibelius 7

15 - Mozart 40

16 - Beethoven 7

17 - Shostakovich 5

18 - Brahms 2

19 - Beethoven 6

20 - Bruckner 7

Thanks. From a methodology point, only asking for the top 3 greatest will give a certain bias, asking for a slightly longer list would have been better. But I should probably stop obsessing about this kind of detail.

 

In any case, in the end the full top 20 list looks pretty comprehensive to me.

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Thanks. From a methodology point, only asking for the top 3 greatest will give a certain bias, asking for a slightly longer list would have been better. But I should probably stop obsessing about this kind of detail.

 

In any case, in the end the full top 20 list looks in the end pretty comprehensive to me.

 

They probably figured they were more likely to get an answer if they asked for only 3; asking for 5 or 10 might make it less likely to get a response. People tend not to answer any kind of poll or questionaire as soon as it takes even a bit of effort.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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They probably figured they were more likely to get an answer if they asked for only 3; asking for 5 or 10 might make it less likely to get a response. People tend not to answer any kind of poll or questionaire as soon as it takes even a bit of effort.

Good point, that's why a market research agency is giving out incentives, from chocolate bars to actual money. I guess this wasn't an option here. But I'm sorry for terribly derailing this otherwise entertaining thread.

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Love Schubert, but in the symphonic genre he never achieved the mastership of his piano and chamber music. He died to young unfortunately, 12 years younger than the age when Brahms finally attacked this genre.

 

With Sibelius, I'm still in the process of "learning" it, not yet there.

 

And while I appreciate Rachmaninov's symphonic output,not has not the same level of personal relevance to me as the others.

 

I would be interested in hearing your top picks for the Schumann symphonies. I have the Haitink/RCBO set on Phillips (CD) and the more recent Nezet-Saguin set on DG (24/96 download). I used to have a DG LP of symphonies 1 & 4 (Karajan?) which has since been lost (not that I could play it anyway).

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I would be interested in hearing your top picks for the Schumann symphonies. I have the Haitink/RCBO set on Phillips (CD) and the more recent Nezet-Saguin set on DG (24/96 download). I used to have a DG LP of symphonies 1 & 4 (Karajan?) which has since been lost (not that I could play it anyway).

I like the recent Nézét set quite a bit, very energetic, among the flurry of recent 2015 complete sets (Rattle, Ticciati, Holliger) it is my favorite.

 

My other favorites of the last 10-15 years are Gardiner with the ORR, Paavo Järvi with the Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, and Dausgaard / Swedish Chamber. More historic, there's always Szell.

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