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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

BBC Worldwide Press Releases

Classical music’s most boring masterpieces revealed

Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Brahms' Requiem and Puccini's Madam Butterfly have today been named among classical music's most tedium-inducing masterpieces.

The poll, carried out by BBC Music Magazine, asked ten leading critics of live music to name their top boredom inducers. Critics taking part in the poll included Fiona Maddocks of the Observer who nominated Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, Neil Fisher of The Times whose vote went to Rossini's Cenerentola, and Michael White of The Daily Telegraph who argued that Wagner's Tristan und Isolde is "the sound equivalent of water torture".

Other famous works to make the newspaper reviewers' list include Bruckner's Symphony No. 7, as suggested by The Independent's Jessica Duchen, and Gloria by Vivaldi, which Richard Morrison of The Times said "just about takes the biscuit as the dreariest thing to drip from the Red Priest's quill".

Oliver Condy, Editor of BBC Music Magazine, commented: "It's a controversial idea, and quite a contentious list, but it's reassuring to know that even the critics are tempted to fall asleep in the concert hall from time to time. In future, if you do happen to find yourself drifting off in a Bruckner concert, don't be too harsh on yourself."

The critics' list of tedious works:

  • Fiona Maddocks, the ObserverPurcell's Dido and Aeneas
  • Michael White, The Daily TelegraphWagner's Tristan und Isolde
  • Richard Morrison, The TimesVivaldi's Gloria
  • Jessica Duchen, The IndependentBruckner's Symphony No. 7
  • Hilary Finch, The Times Puccini's Madam Butterfly
  • Michael Tanner, The SpectatorBrahms' Requiem
  • Neil Fisher, The TimesRossini's Cenerentola
  • John Allison, The Sunday TelegraphBritten's A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Ivan Hewett, The Daily Telegraph Mahler's Eighth Symphony
  • Anna Picard, The Independent on SundayProkofiev's Scythian Suite and Orff's Carmina Burana

Bored to pieces will be published in the August 2011 issue of BBC Music Magazine, on sale 6 July, £4.60.


BBC Music Magazine is the world's best-selling classical music monthly. Covering all aspects of live events, broadcast and recordings, each issue carries a complete BBC work and provides a comprehensive and expert guide to classical music. BBC Music Magazine has a monthly circulation of 42,834 (ABC Jan-Dec 2010) and is published by BBC Magazines Bristol, a trading name of Bristol Magazines Ltd., which is a subsidiary of BBC Worldwide Ltd.

Carolyn Wray

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