Friday, 9 January 2015

9 Symphony Challenge

Choosing 9 Symphonies Challenge

Los Angeles based blogger CK Dexter Haven ( or recently posted a fun, if not a little (or rather a lot) geeky challenge. The rules are simple, but strict 
If you had to pick nine symphonies — no more, no less — by different composers to include as part of a proverbial desert island survival kit, what would they be?  I asked myself this question just for grins over the recent Christmas & New Year’s break…
  • You can only pick one symphony per composer
  • You must choose numbered symphonies 1 through 9 only.  NoSymphonie fantastique, Symphony of Psalms, Symphonic Dances, etc.
  • Once you choose a numbered symphony, you cannot choose another similarly numbered symphony by a different composer (i.e. no choosing both Beethoven’s 7th and Sibelius 7th).
I like a geeky contest as much as the next person, perhaps even more than the next person, so I immediately started putting my list together. In true classical music blogger style, I have offered two lists. One containing more popular or mainstream favourites and the other containing some more obscure favourites. 
I'd love to hear from others what their list looks like. Leave a comment below or tweet me

List of top 9 symphonies to know

Rachmaninov 1
Sibelius 2
Schumann 3
Nielsen 4
Shostakovich 5
Mahler 6
Dvorak 7
Schubert 8
Beethoven 9

List of more obscure symphonies to discover

An obscure list should break the rules a bit and throw in some wildcards in typical nerdy blogger style, so I've added a 10th symphony.

Charles Ives 1
Alan Hovhannes 2 "Mysterious Mountain"
Henryk Gorecki 3 "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs"
Hugo Alfven 4 "From the Outermost Skerries"
Philip Glass 5
Martinu 6 "Fantaisies Symphoniques"
Rautavaara 7 "Angel of Light"
Eduard Tubin 8
Vagn Holmboe 9
Henk Badings 10

I hope that my list of obscure symphonies has inspired a few people to come up with their own list of symphonic obscurities.

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