Monday, April 25, 2011

That silver moon has never been so unpopular

This was going to be a thrilling live-blogging event covering the final stages of the Classic FM Hall of Fame, but then I had to cook the dinner and eat it and play several games of Uno and get the kids ready for bed and read Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean's The Wolves in the Walls. So instead you get a post-Hall of Fame analysis. Actually as I write this, I'm listening live to the #1 entry, and the first thing I must say is that the audio on Classic FM's Internet radio player is crappy. It doesn't do the music any favours, at any rate.
And the shocking and incredible news is that RVW's lark has finally descended, to be replaced at the top by "Rach 2" as we sophisticated types call it. The same 10 pieces are in the Top 10 as last year, though in a slightly different order. The more interesting story of this year's HoF is how there was a small invasion of the chart by some pieces for brass band, namely Simon Dobson's Penlee (#106), Gustav Holst's A Moorside Suite (#118), Eric Ball's Resurgam (#202), and Ray Steadman-Allen's The Lord is King (#263). I haven't heard (of) any of these except the Holst. These unusual entries were apparently part of a concerted campaign - the sort of thing that got Malcolm Arnold's Padstow Lifeboat into last year's charts (and it vanished without trace this year).
Were there campaigns supporting other pieces, or did they just happen to do better this year than ever before? Is there any significance to Piazzolla's Libertango zooming up to #167? Or Tchaikovsky's Piano concerto no.2 or Prokofiev's Lieutenant Kijé becoming much more popular than ever before? We could thank the movie Black Swan for the highest-ever position of Swan Lake, but is there any particular reason why Beethoven's Für Elise, Rossini's William Tell overture, or Saint-Saens' Danse macabre are doing better this year?
Why, for that matter, has Dvorak's Rusalka fallen to an all-time low at #237? Beethoven's Romance no.2 was once #62 on the chart; now it's #235. Why? Why? For God's sake, why?

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