Classic FM Hall of Fame 2020: Top 300 countdown as Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending named number one

Classic FM has revealed the UK’s favourite pieces of classical music in its Hall of Fame 2020

Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 2:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 2:04 pm

The radio station’s annual survey of classical music tastes received more than 130,000 votes in this year’s edition, with Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending taking the top spot.

What are the most popular classical songs?

The Lark Ascending was voted the most popular piece of classical music for the second consecutive year, marking its tenth time at the top in the chart’s history.

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Which classical song is your favourite? (Photo: Shutterstock)

Williams’ classic beat Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Elgar’s Enigma Variations to the number one spot, ranking in second and third respectively.

Williams also made a second appearance in the top 10, with the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis score ranking at number five overall.

Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart were also featured among the top 10.

Which classical composer is the most popular?

While Williams took the top spot with the nations’ favourite piece of classical music, Beethoven and Mozart were voted the most popular composers overall, with both having 17 entries in the chart.

This year marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, with his Ninth Symphony reaching its highest ever position in the chart at number two.

Classic FM presenter John Suchet said: “With over 130,000 votes - the highest in four years - more and more people are turning to classical music.

“It’s fascinating to see the variety of music that the nation has chosen in these uncertain times – from familiar pieces such as The Lark Ascending and Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2; Elgar’s stirring Enigma Variations and Cello Concerto, to film scores including Schindler’s List, Star Wars and Harry Potter. It shows that classical music really is for everyone.

“And as a fan of Beethoven, I’m thrilled that, in the 250th anniversary year of his birth, he has been voted the most popular composer, sharing the title with Mozart.

“For me, Beethoven’s music lifts the spirits every time.”

Which songs made the top 10?

These songs were voted the nation’s ten most popular in 2020:

The Lark Ascending - Ralph Vaughan Williams

‘Choral’ Symphony No.9 (includes Ode to Joy) - Ludwig van Beethoven

Enigma Variations (includes Nimrod) - Edward Elgar

Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis - Ralph Vaughan Williams

‘Emperor’ Piano Concerto No.5 - Ludwig van Beethoven

1812 Overture - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Swan Lake - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Requiem (includes Lacrimosa) - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The Nutcracker - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

The full list of chosen works can be viewed at