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What would you put in the Classic FM Hall of Shame?

We are in the top four of the annual Classic FM Hall of Fame, in which listeners, aided by diligent wretches paid a pittance to post on Twitter, choose their favourites and they are played in reverse order of popularity. Currently something by Beethoven is playing. Don’t ask me. I quite like classical music but know almost nothing about it, being only slightly better off than Ulysses Grant who knew two tunes, of which one was the Star Spangled Banner and one wasn’t. However, better educated members of my family were ranting about which pieces of classical music should be expelled from the Top Twenty for being over-rated, boring, associated with the European Union or similarly cursed.

My daughter, a musician, threw a particular wobbly at the appearance of Pachelbel’s Canon in the list.

What else would you suggest? And no complaining about that Final Fantasy thing being there; I thought that was nice.

Update: I have the beginnings of a Sociological Observation to make this post respectable. It is that the compère seemed very relaxed about the fact that the diligent wretches paid to post on Twitter were having an effect. He seemed to quite admire the internet campaign that got the Final Fantasy VII music into the top twenty. I am sure that in the old days organised campaigns would have been seen as cheating; now it is just the way things go.

29 comments to What would you put in the Classic FM Hall of Shame?

  • Alsadius

    How can you hate on Pachelbel? Anyone who can inspire this can’t be all bad.

  • Joe

    Carmina Burana & Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. Whatever artistic merits they might have had have been worn down by repetition and misappropriate. The rap version of the European anthem anyone: http://europeananthem.waterpiperecords.de/.

  • Joe

    Missappropriation. Sorry, iPhone autocorrect.

  • “How can you hate on Pachelbel?”

    You can if you are a harpist who often is asked to play at weddings!

  • DanP_at_AZ

    “How can you hate on Pachelbel?”

    You can if you are a harpist who often is asked to play at weddings!”

    Oh how I love that response !
    My lady harpy friend does a lot of wonderful harpy gigs with “performers” of various stripes.
    You know, chamber music, orchestras, and all that classical stuff.
    (OK, I really DO like listening).

    And, she does those “events” that more than help pay a bit of the rent.

    She divides her “wedding’s bride and mother” into two categories.
    1. “The Canon”.
    2. “The Stairway to Heaven”.

    I will leave “the student” to decide which floats her boat !
    Actually, she’s a child of “Heavy Metal”. Talk about “cross-over”.

    And, I’ll cheat a bit. She sings second soprano in a local “hot shot” university chorale group.
    When not playing piano or harp accompaniment for them.
    And she absolutely LOVES performing “Carmina Burana”. {:^)

    On the other hand, she also loves singing in a madrigal group. Spit ! ! !
    I can’t have “everything”. But, pretty damn close.

  • Stephen Willmer

    Almost anything I’ve ever heard by Carl Jenkins.

    He brings out the musical snob in me.

    Or, from faculty lounge standpoint of enforcing ideological purity, music by khatchachurian. Stalin liked his nates.

    On a separate but related note, a good candidate for the hall of shame is Classic FM itself, with its listeners have shit for brains insistence on playing “the best bits”, and those moronic DJs, classical music’s equivalent of Smashie and Nicey.

    Sorry, Natalie, can of worms!

  • My lady harpy friend does a lot of wonderful harpy gigs with “performers” of various stripes.

    Dan, is your lady friend a harpist, a harpie, or both? ;-)

  • Laird

    How can anyone hate on Pachelbel? Try this.

  • Mendicant

    Why the snootiness towards Nobuo Uematsu? (Final Fantasy VII composer), the guy is a genius.

    Aerith’s Theme is one of the most beautiful tunes I have ever heard. It has heart and soul and stays with you forever, especially if you played FFVII.

    Yuzo Koshiro, Rob Hubbard, Chris Huelsbeck, Oematsu, Hideki Naganuma, Jesper Kyd…these people have given me more musicaL memories than “serious” musicians.

  • Laird

    If I had to pick one of the current Top 20 to kick off the island (well, at least to give it a few years’ hiatus) it would be Handel’s Messiah.

  • Mendicant, I don’t think there is any widespread snootiness towards video games composers in general or Nobuo Uematsu in particular. As often happens when prejudices have died, everyone feels there is sure to be and warns each other against it, but the expected hostility rarely emerges.

    Aerith’s Theme has, after all, just been voted the sixteenth most popular classical piece in a public poll with a large number of people participating.

    There is a slight lingering snootiness against “unsporting” organised campaigns, but, as I suggested in the post, this is much less than it was.

  • David Gillies

    I think to qualify for the Hall of Shame, a piece of music has to satisfy two criteria: it must be a) overplayed and b) not very good. Great pieces that have been played to death don’t count; neither does obscure twaddle.

    My submission:

    Eine Kleine Nachtmusik – long way from Mozart’s best
    The Four Seasons – likewise for Vivaldi
    Bolero – turgid load of old cobblers for which we have Torville and Dean to thank.

    I’m sure I could come up with a couple more given some thought.

  • JeremiadBullfrog

    Ravel’s Bolero…ugh.

    The composer’s quote says it all (Wikipedia): “Don’t you think this theme has an insistent quality? I’m going to try and repeat it a number of times without any development, gradually increasing the orchestra as best I can.”

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Rhapsody in Blue, and anything ‘for Symphonic Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble’. Also lots of Carlos Chavez. And the Nabors/Welk ‘Kahlil Gibran Cantata’, of course.

  • Thomas

    I’m more or less sure the first tune was Yankee Doodle and t’other wasn’t. I really can’t see Grant’s Army band striking up the Star Spangled Banner to rouse the troops. G*d I hate that tune. Give me Yankee Doodle any day.

  • The tune to “The Star Spangled Banner” is, of course, taken from an old English drinking song, “To Anacreon in Heaven”.

  • Michael Lorrey

    Of course Pachelbel’s Canon in D should be burned to ash: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdxkVQy7QLM

  • manuel II paleologos

    I would ban people trying to elevate things like Gershwin and Weil to the lofty status of Classical Treasures by singing them in pompous wobbly operatic voices with impeccable orchestral accompaniments and discussing them in hushed tones.

    These are popular songs. The sight and sound of an opera singer in a big dress putting on one of those awful fake smiles and launching into “I got plenty o’ nuttin” is enough to give me thoughts of violence.

    I have a brilliant version of “Mackie Messer” sung by Brecht himself and it’s just growled out accompanied by what sounds like a cutlery draw. It’s earthy and brilliant, leave it alone.

  • Alisa

    The first movement of Beethoven’s 5th. There, I said it.

    Oh, and Laird: Handel in general.

  • Andrew Duffin

    Bolero; the violin concertos of Bruch and Tchaikowski; the Grieg piano concerto; anything at all from that tedious opera that’s set in a cigarette factory; Eine Kleine Nachtmusik; the St. Anthony chorale variations…

    How’m I doing? Are any of these even on the list? How would I know?

  • Alisa

    the Grieg piano concerto; anything at all from that tedious opera that’s set in a cigarette factory

    Hey, easy there!…:-)

  • PersonFromPorlock

    I would ban people trying to elevate things like Gershwin and Weil to the lofty status of Classical Treasures by singing them in pompous wobbly operatic voices with impeccable orchestral accompaniments and discussing them in hushed tones.

    Posted by manuel II paleologos at April 10, 2012 07:36 AM

    I once heard a recording of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau performing “Little Boy Blue Come Blow Your Horn” in English, with all the Lieder bells and whistles und a ferocious Cherman aggzent. Made my day, and not hearing it again has made many subsequent days.

  • All of Mahler’s symphonies, anything by James Macmillan and John Tavener.
    To all those who dislike Handel, fools !

  • Alisa

    I don’t really dislike him, Thornavis, I just find him too close to boring…

  • Most of Mahler. The 4th symphony Sounds like Jedward performing a Technicolor yodel into a badly tuned bassoon..

    Almost all of Wagner. Fat birds shrieking for hours on end…

    (Most opera in general -especially when some fat bastard playing the villain is doing that “ha-ha-ha”-ing type “singing”.)

    But more generally almost anything more or less explicitly derived from folk music (which is bascically dreck anyway).
    I vaguely recall someone saying of it it’s just the same only “played louder”.

  • Laird

    I like David Gillies’ Hall of Shame definition of “overplayed and not very good”. With that in mind, many of the nominees in this thread fail by virtue of one or the other. James Macmillan and John Tavener? Certainly not overplayed (at least, not on the western side of the Atlantic). Beethoven’s Fifth? Overplayed, yes, but also indisputably good. And I think the Mahler symphonies fail on both grounds: you don’t hear them all that often, and they are very good.

    But I’ll give you Bolero.

    Anyway, I thought we were limited to those on the Top 20 list.

  • DanP_at_AZ

    Took me a while to get back “here”. I do have another life.

    Dan, is your lady friend a harpist, a harpie, or both? ;-)

    Yes. To my great good fortune ! {:^)

  • I was afraid the Final Fantasy grassroots/internet infantalism was going to be from FF7, one of the most overrated games of all time, and it was. Fortunately it’s actually a good piece from the game, and the version in the provided link is one of the best versions of any game music that I’ve ever heard. If I wasn’t flat broke from paying taxes, I would buy that CD immediately.

    Also nice to see the Skyrim theme on the list (#238), though I don’t think it’s deserving.

  • Sally

    a) Anything by the pianist Lang-Lang who sounds like a robot thumping the keys;
    b) The bl**dy Lark Ascending! I would like to take an air gun to it…
    c) A dreadful Shostakovitch piece which is actually called “The Assault on Beautiful Gorky” but which I refer to as “Dreadful Plinky Plonk Commie Music”!