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Lark Ascending tops classical poll

Published 06/04/2015

Ralph Vaughan Williams's The Lark Ascending was inspired by a poem of the same name by George Meredith
Ralph Vaughan Williams's The Lark Ascending was inspired by a poem of the same name by George Meredith

The Lark Ascending has been voted the nation's favourite piece of classical music.

Ralph Vaughan Williams's work topped the Classic FM Hall of Fame after listeners cast more than 200,000 votes.

It topped the poll last year as well and four years ago was named the nation's favourite Desert Island Discs tune.

British composer Vaughan Williams was inspired by a poem of the same name by George Meredith and his first version for violin and piano was written in 1914. He completed the more familiar orchestral version six years later.

It found a wide audience last year when it was played as Hayley, played by Julie Hesmondhalgh, took a lethal cocktail to end her suffering on ITV's Coronation Street, following a battle with cancer. It was the long-standing character's favourite piece of music.

The top five was completed by Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2, another Vaughan Williams work Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, Elgar's Enigma Variations and Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5.

The full poll - 300 pieces of music in total - also includes 12 pieces of music used to soundtrack video games, with two of them making the top 20.

Music from the Final Fantasy series, by Japanese composer Nobuo Uematsu, is at number nine while The Elder Scrolls, composed by Bafta award-winner Jeremy Soule, is at number 11.

John Suchet, who presents a weekday show on the station, said: "Twenty years after the very first Classic FM Hall of Fame countdown, I'm delighted that we've attracted so many votes for our chart. What I find truly exciting is the continued increase in a younger audience for classical music - I didn't expect to be thanking the video game industry for introducing the genre to a new generation of people, but it's wonderful."

The Classic FM Hall of Fame 2015 Top 20:

1. Vaughan Williams - The Lark Ascending

2. Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No. 2

3. Vaughan Williams - Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

4. Elgar - Enigma Variations

5. Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 5 ('Emperor')

6. Allegri - Miserere

7. Beethoven - Symphony No. 9 ('Choral')

8. Mozart - Clarinet Concerto

9. Uematsu - Final Fantasy

10. Beethoven - Symphony No.6 ('Pastoral')

11. Soule - The Elder Scrolls

12. Holst - The Planets

13. Kirkhope - Banjo Kazooie

14. Elgar - Cello Concerto

15. Bruch - Violin Concerto No. 1

16. Barber - Adagio for Strings

17. Pachelbel - Canon

18. Tchaikovsky - 1812 Overture

19. Jenkins - The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace

20. Dvorak - Symphony No. 9 ('From the New World')

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