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April, 6

One in 10 classical music favourites are now from film soundtracks

Film scores have boosted the popularity of classical music, as one in ten tracks in the Classic FM hall of fame are now from movie soundtracks.

Thirty-four of the 300 pieces in the poll are from original cinematic scores, representing a record high of 11 per cent after a year of coronavirus restrictions saw Britons watching more at-home entertainment than ever before.

Britons’ favourite piece of classical music taken from a film is John Williams’ soundtrack to Schindler’s List, which ranks at number 16.

Williams, who has scored blockbuster series including Star Wars, Harry Potter and Jurassic Park, has nine separate pieces across the chart.

His Star Wars theme tune is at number 38 and ‘Hedwig’s Theme’ from Harry Potter ranks at number 47, both of which are slightly down from their positions last year.

Hans Zimmer has achieved his best ever showing with five compositions, including the Gladiator and Inception themes, while John Barry appears twice in the top 150.

Zimmer’s contributions to the 2017 war film Dunkirk and to the Lion King soundtrack are both new additions to the list.

Beyond the world of Hollywood, the top composer in the Hall of Fame is Mozart, whose works make 16 appearances on the list. He is followed by Beethoven and Bach, who have 12 each, and Tchaikovsky, who accounts for 11 of the entries.

Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, which was composed in 1914, has retained its status as the most popular piece of classical music.

The single-movement work, which is followed by Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme, also ranked top of a 2011 BBC poll to determine the nation’s favourite ever Desert Island Disc.

The cinematic popularity of this year’s choices - determined by more than 156,000 public votes - comes in stark contrast to the first ever Hall of Fame poll in 1996, when only two of 300 tracks originated from the silver screen.

“After the year that we’ve all experienced, with many of us watching more films at home than ever before, it is perhaps no surprise that movie music is at a record high, representing 11 per cent of the total chart,” said Classic FM presenter John Suchet.

“It is also clear that alongside the all-time favourites, there is a growing popularity of new classical music for film, television, video games and concerts – and with it, a new and younger audience.”

Video game soundtracks including Final Fantasy have now featured in the poll for almost a decade, making their first appearance in 2012.

Yoko Shimomura, the Japanese composer and pianist who scored the most recent Final Fantasy instalment, has this year’s highest new entry with the theme music from Disney’s crossover game Kingdom Hearts.

The success of the Netflix period drama Bridgerton, which premiered during the third lockdown, has also prompted renewed interest in classical music among younger audiences during the last year.

In line with its setting of London in 1813, the show reworks contemporary pop songs into orchestral instrumentals as part of its soundtrack.

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