Ten of the best: Symphonies

Whether you love them or hate them, the Symphony is apart of the classical music repertoire. Every year the ABC does their top 100 classics on ABC Classic FM. This is an open event where members of the public vote on their favourite classical works. In that spirit, A Flat Major.com has decided to do a top 10 symphonies list.

How did we come up with our list? We thought carefully about this list and chose works that we believed illustrated the repertoire. We looked at characteristics such as:

  • Significance within the genre
  • Orchestration
  • Originality

For those of you who are unfamiliar with what a symphony is, check out The Symphony – An Interactive Guide, or the extensive page on the Symphony at Wikipedia.

“A symphony must be like the world. It must contain everything.” Gustav Mahler

Curious about our top ten symphonies? Here it is:

  1. Symphony No. 8 in E-flat major “Symphony of a thousand” – Gustav Mahler (composed 1906)
  2. Symphony No. 40 in G minor – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (composed 1788)
  3. Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 – Ludwig van Beethoven (composed 1824)
  4. Symphony No. 3, Op. 36 “Symphony of Sorrowful songs” – Henryk Gorecki (composed 1976)
  5. Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27 – Sergei Rachmaninoff (composed 1906-1907)
  6. Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 “Pathetique” – Peter Illych Tchaikovsky (composed 1893)
  7. Symphony of Psalms – Igor Stravinsky (composed 1930)
  8. Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47 – Dmitri Shostakovich (composed 1937)
  9. Symphony No. 94 in G major, Hoboken 1/94 “Surprise symphony” – Franz Joseph Haydn (composed 1791)
  10. Symphony No. 5 – Ralph Vaughan Williams (composed 1938-1943)

There are hundreds, if not thousands of symphonies in the orchestral repertoire. There was a lot of work to narrow our list down to just ten.

Did you agree with our list? Did you see items that you believe are missing? Tell us what you would have as your top ten symphonies list.




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