Classical 91.5

Classical 91.5's 40 for 40

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of WXXI-FM Classical 91.5 (in 2014), we asked you to help us celebrate. Beginning Tuesday, April 15th, we played your top 40 favorite classical works on air throughout the day, and posted more information about your favorites right here on this page. Learn more about each work that you chose as your top 40 favorites on Classical 91.5.

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For the last two weeks on the WXXI-FM Mystery Piece, we’ve been counting down the Top Ten greatest symphonies ever written, according to a survey of 151 leading conductors by BBC Music magazine.  Here's the list:

The BBC Music Magazine top 10

#1 Ludwig van Beethoven

Aug 28, 2016

Symphony No. 5

Beethoven's 5th Symphony barely made the list five years ago, coming in at #35.  But you spoke loud and clear this year; returning it to the #1 spot.  The familiar four note motif that trumpets its beginning are probably the most well-known four notes in history; even to the classical novice.  This symphony, wrote ETA Hoffman (a contemporary of Beethoven), "sets in motion the machinery of awe, of fear, of terror, of pain, and awakens that infinite yearning which is the essence of romanticism".  http://www.theguardian.com/music/tomserviceblog/2013/sep/16/symphony-guide-beethoven-fifth-tom-service

#2 Ludwig van Beethoven

Aug 28, 2016

Symphony No. 7

Although Beethoven was one of the most recognized composers of his time, he was not always the most popular or beloved.  His 7th symphony however, was welcomed by Viennese audiences at its premiere on December 8, 1813, with Beethoven conducting.  Audiences noted its energy, beauty and hopefulness of a victory over Napoleon.  Dedicated to both Count Moritz von Fries and Russian Empress Elisabeth Aleksiev, it was performed three times in the 10 weeks following its successful premiere.

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#3 Antonín Dvořák

Aug 28, 2016

Symphony No. 9, From the New World

Dvořák's Symphony No. 9, nicknamed From the New World, was written in the 1890s while Dvořák was living and working as the director for the National Conservatory of Music in New York City. The work premiered at Carnegie Hall on December 16, 1893.  As a skilled as seasoned composer and professor at the Prague Conservatory, Dvořák had a great deal of experience and expertise to bring to eager young musicians in the United States, where classical music was just beginning to establish itself. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/220717/New-World-Symphony

#4 Samuel Barber

Aug 28, 2016

Adagio for Strings

The  Adagio for Strings by American composer Samuel Barber, made its debut in 1938 when it was performed on the radio by the NBC Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Arturo Toscanini.  It evolved as an arrangement of the second movement of Barber's String Quartet. The deep emotion of this work, which has been described as passionate, tender, dramatic, powerful, and gentle, has made it popular for use in television, movies and at times of tragedy like the events of 9/11, when American's were searching for comfort and unity.

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