Page last updated at 15:19 GMT, Monday, 28 December 2009

O Fortuna is 'most listened to classical piece'

Sheet music
The list features music played on TV and radio and in public places

O Fortuna, Carl Orff's composition from his 1937 oratorio Carmina Burana, has been named the UK's most widely heard classical track.

The piece, which recently featured on ITV talent show The X Factor, topped a list of the most played classical music of the past 75 years.

The top 30 most played recordings were revealed in BBC Radio 2 programme, The People's Classical Chart, on Monday.

Vaughan Williams's Fantasia On A Theme was in second place.

Third place went to a 1990 recording of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade by the London Symphony Orchestra and conductor Sir Charles Mackerras.

He said he was "delighted" the work had received so much play.

Latin poem

The list was compiled for BBC Radio 2 by royalties collection body PPL from songs played on TV, radio, online streaming and in public places such as shops.

German composer Orff's chart-topper was inspired by a medieval Latin poem. The stirring piece has been featured in anything from Michael Jackson tours to pre-match warm-ups for clubs such as Fulham and Doncaster Rovers.

Orff - O Fortuna (Kurt Eichhorn)
Vaughan Williams - Fantasia On A Theme By Thomas Tallis (Bernard Haitink)
Rimsky-Korsakov - Scheherazade (Charles Mackerras)
Tchaikovsky - The Sleeping Beauty (Mikhail Pletnev)
Schumann - Romance In F Sharp Major Op 28/2 (Joseph Cooper)
Delibes - Sylvia (Richard Bonynge)
Rachmaninov - Symphony No 2 (Vladimir Ashkenazy)
Holst - The Planets (James Loughran)
Tchaikovsky - The Sleeping Beauty (Valery Gergiev)
Schubert - Symphony No 5 (Neville Marriner)

In recent years it has been used on ITV1 talent show The X Factor to introduce the judges on stage.

The Munich Radio Orchestra's recording of O Fortuna from 1973, featuring the Bavarian Radio Chorus and Tolzer Children's Choir, is the one which has been most played, according to PPL.

Comic and musician Bill Bailey, who introduced the list on Radio 2, said: "Of course, we all knew the number one would be a 13th century Latin goliardic poem."

Classical music buff Stephen Fry, one of the show's contributors, added: "For some reason, it almost sounds satanic, although it's actually a religious piece."

Vaughan Williams' famous Fantasia was notably featured in the Russell Crowe seafaring epic Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World, as well as during TV coverage of the Oxford-Cambridge boat race.

The 1986 recording by the London Philharmonic orchestra, conducted by Bernard Haitink, claimed second spot.

The most featured work in the top 30 is Gustav Holst's The Planets, with four different recordings, including one by Manchester's Halle Orchestra - who recently recorded with rock band Elbow - at number eight.

Radio 2 head of programming Lewis Carnie said: "O Fortuna is a timeless piece of music that continues to be played, performed and loved over 70 years after its composition and this is a wonderful recording of the work."

PPL chairman Fran Nevrkla said: "This PPL People's Chart shows classical music's enduring popularity, from the great old recordings to new versions of the classics.

"We hear these recordings so often on the radio, on TV and out and about that it's good to remind ourselves of the artists and the record companies that put their time, talent and investment into making them."

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