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The People's Classical Chart

Enjoy some of the most famous classical compositions and recordings, and some not so familiar, in the ever-entertaining company of Bill Bailey.

Fresh from his Remarkable Guide To The Orchestra tour of the UK, the much-loved comedian presents this characteristically lighthearted but informative countdown of the most-heard classical recordings across Britain over the past 75 years. The show is the follow-up to a countdown of pop recordings, The People's Chart, which was aired by Radio 2 at Easter and revealed the most-played pop recording as Procol Harum's Whiter Shade Of Pale. Both charts have been compiled by music licensing company PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd).

Bill reveals the top 30 and builds towards the announcement of the classical recording that's been played the most on the radio, in shops, supermarkets, restaurants, airport lounges, hold music and, to quote Mr Bailey himself, "specialist laminated flooring facilities" - in fact everywhere that the classics are heard.

Along the way, there's plenty of room for Bailey to illustrate the music as only he can, bringing the genre to life with his customary irreverence and huge enthusiasm. We'll hear plenty of world-famous melodies but also some surprise inclusions, and find out which classical composition makes the top 30 in no fewer than four different recordings.

Bailey waxes lyrical about "Beethoven in the countryside"; plays music by Charles Darwin's great nephew; reveals which composer inspired both Kraftwerk and Muse; which classical staple with Disney connections is in the top ten twice; and which one was written immediately after a tonsillectomy.

Just as with the earlier show, there are also numerous guest interviewees, a truly varied cast of musicians and celebrities with close connections or great love for the pieces in the chart. The line-up includes classical aficionado Guy Garvey of Elbow, vocalists such as Hayley Westenra and Katherine Jenkins, cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, violin virtuoso Sarah Chang and world-famous pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy, plus Sir Patrick Moore, conductors Sir Charles Mackerras and Robert Haydon Clark and choreographer Matthew Bourne.

Rolf Harris marvels at a 19th century English romantic and Stephen Fry is on hand to talk about "one of the most romantic films ever made" and the piano concerto forever associated with it. Then, just before 2pm, Bill unveils the all-time classical classic!

Release date:

2 hours

Last on

Mon 28 Dec 2009 12:00