Skarach's world

Favourite five symphonies

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The recent Simon Russell Beale series has inspired a number of articles in the Guardian:

I like lists so I thought I would try my own! Of course this is an invidious task, but it is quite easy for me to come up with four out of five:

  1. Haydn – Symphony No.85
  2. Beethoven – Symphony No.3
  3. Mahler – Symphony No.9
  4. Ralph Vaughan Williams – Symphony No.5

These four would be immovable for me – they represent the pinnacle of each composer’s craft. The trouble starts with the fifth choice! I would have great difficultly selecting my favourite Brahms or Schumann symphony – the facile answer is whichever one you are listening to at the time. Then there is Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Elgar, Schubert, Dvořák, Mendelssohn and Prokofiev – all of them have great claims. I wouldn’t choose Mozart – aside from a few cherished works (Nos 25, 35, 36, 40, 41) – I would say that his genius is greatest in opera, choral and chamber works. So, at the moment,  I would have a work that I have listened to a lot recently:

  1. Bruckner – Symphony No.5

Thankfully we don’t really need to make these decisions!


One thought on “Favourite five symphonies

  1. Pingback: Favourite English symphonies | Skarach's world

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