Back at the end of February, I blogged here about the impending 'Classic FM 2012 Hall of Fame'. I was torn then as to what my final 3 choices would be from what was and is a wealth of wonderful music.
Well dear reader, as promised then (albeit slightly later than planned), here I am reporting back with my top 3 choices. Although later than planned, it is in fact apt that I do so now because this year's Top 300 countdown begins this morning at 9am and will run throughout the Easter-long weekend between 9am-9pm, concluding with the No.1 on Easter Monday evening.
So here, in advance of that imminent countdown, are my Top 3 Classical composition choices that I submitted on the Classic FM website in advance of the February 29th deadline.
No.3 - Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite
Whilst my top 2 choices were assured of their place in my Top 3, the final choice was an open contest between a number of compositions.
In the end, this wonderful piece won the nod because of the many and varied wonderful suites that make up the whole.
We begin, with the wonderful opening 'Prelude' - Suite 1...
We then move into the stirring March - Suite 2...
Next is a famous section though one that I personally, find rather over-rated! It's the Sugar Plum Fairy - Suite 3...
Next by contrast is an absolute favourite of mine! For those of my generation, it'll be synonomous with the 1990 film Home Alone! Yes, it's Trepak - Suite 4...
Next is the slower Arabian Dance - Suite 5...
Next is another short but wonderfully sweet section, the Chinese Dance - Suite 6...
As the Suite nears its conclusion, it continues to increase in intensity with the infectious Reed Flutes - Suite 7...
We then reach the final and without doubt in my mind, the best of the 8 suites. A delectable selection of sounds as heard above, all coming to a crescendo of volume with the romantic, beautiful Waltz of the Flowers - Suite 9...
It's this final piece that for me, makes Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite so delicious and wholly worthy of its place in my Classic Hall of Fame Top 3 selection.
No.2 - Rossini's William Tell Overture
Again for me, it's all about the wonderful climax and there's no better conclusion to a classical piece of music than here.
It begins in a desperately melancholy manner and indeed is such, that you couldn't likely realise what is to follow. But follow it does, as it launches into a loudly dark section before we move into the glorious Finale. Suddenly, from the dark, comes the light and the light is blinding!
When those 'galloping horses' arrive on the scene, there's nothing going to get in the way of what is one of the finest pieces of classical music I have ever had the pleasure of listening too!
An absolute joy and delight and likewise wholly deserving of its place in my Classic Hall of Fame Top 2 selection.
But as an extra treat, here is that wonderful finale once more in the conclusion to that wonderful, gritty film, Brassed Off!
So what can trump these 2 majestic choices? Well, there is one that can do just that...
No.1 - Beethoven's 7th Symphony
It was on my return from a visit to the wonderful, captivating city of Berlin in 2006 that I watched a DVD of the Fall of the Berlin Wall that I had purchased at Checkpoint Charlie whilst there.
It was a harrowing, traumatic but an ultimately joyous and uplifting experience and no matter how many times I watch it, it reduces me to tears. If the DVD was memorable enough just through the true story that it told, what made it even more so was the soundtrack that was played to segments of the story. What I hadn't realised at that time was that the stirring, moving music that I was listening too and which so aptly could have told the story of that Wall was in fact Beethoven's 7th Symphony.
I was truly captivated by this piece of music and in particular, the haunting 2nd Movement - the Allegretto. If I had to choose one movement from any piece of classical over all others, then this 2nd Movement would be it.
Yet, on finding out where this sound came from and realising that it made up a part of Beethoven's 7th Symphony, I quickly came to know and likewise fall in love with the remaining 3 movements. The joy of the 3rd movement after the melancholy of that wonderful second and then the wonderful, zestful 4th and final climactic movement gives the symphony a life of its own. It's as if it is speaking out on all of the the differing human emotions that we feel.
As a complete symphony, it cannot in my mind be beaten and I adore it. It has to be my No.1 choice.
So where will these 3 choices end up in the 2012 Classic Hall of Fame Top 300? Well, we're about it to find out!