Results of the 2010 Classical Countdown

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Throughout the month of December, we asked listeners to vote for 50 favorite pieces of classical music. Hundreds of you took our survey and many of you wrote in with suggestions of your own.

Here are the final results of the 2010 Classical Countdown. Thank you to everyone who participated.

1. Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 "Choral"

2. Antonin Dvorak - Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95 "From the New World"

3. Johann Sebastian Bach - Brandenburg Concerti

4. Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92

5. Gustav Mahler - Symphony No. 2 in C Minor "Resurrection"

6. Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67

7. Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 3 in E flat Major, Op. 55 "Eroica"

8. Ludwig van Beethoven - Concerto for Piano No. 5 in E flat Major, Op. 73 "Emperor"

9.  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Requiem in D Minor, K. 626

10. Sergei Rachmaninoff - Concerto for Piano No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18

11. Ludwig van Beethoven - Concerto for Violin in D Major, Op. 61

12. George Frederic Handel - Messiah

13. Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 "Pastoral"

14. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551 "Jupiter"

15. Samuel Barber - Adagio for Strings

16. Johannes Brahms - Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45

17. Gustav Mahler - Symphony No. 1 in D Major "Titan"

18. George Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue

19. Giuseppe Verdi - Messa da Requiem

20. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Concerto for Violin in D Major, Op. 35

21. Ralph Vaughan Williams - Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

22. Jean Sibelius - Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 43

23. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550

24. Gustav Mahler - Symphony No. 5 in C Sharp minor

25. Johann Sebastian Bach - Goldberg Variations, BWV 988

26. Johann Sebastian Bach - Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring 

27. Bedrich Smetana - The Moldau

28. Camille Saint-Saens - Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78 "Organ"

29. Sergei Rachmaninoff - Concerto for Piano No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30

30. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 "Pathetique"

31. Johann Pachelbel - Canon and Gigue in D Major

32. Sergei Rachmaninoff - Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

33. Giacomo Puccini - Madame Butterfly

34. Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov - Scheherazade, Op. 35

35. Richard Wagner - Gotterdammerung: Dawn and Siegfried's Rhine Journey

36. Johannes Brahms - Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98

37. Igor Stravinsky - The Rite of Spring

38. Frederic Chopin - Polonaise in A flat, "Heroic"

39. Johannes Brahms - Concerto for Piano No. 2 in B flat Major, Op. 83

40. Johann Sebastian Bach - Mass in B minor, BWV 232

41. Richard Strauss - Der Rosenkavalier: Suite (1945)

42. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64

43. Antonin Dvorak - Symphony No. 8

44. Hector Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique, Op. 14

45. Franz Schubert - Symphony No. 8 in B minor "Unfinished"

46. Claude Debussy – Suite Bergamasque: Clair de Lune

47. Edward Elgar - Concerto for Cello in E minor, Op. 85

48. Sergei Rachmaninoff - Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27

49. Aaron Copland - Appalachian Spring

50. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Romeo and Juliet


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Comments [110]

Michael Meltzer

WQXR, when you want to delete my comments, that's unfortunately your prerogative. But DO NOT rewrite them, that is misrepresentation and unethical journalism.

Jan. 06 2012 02:30 AM
Joanne from New Jersey

Bravo, what a way to end the year with such beautiful music! Thank you.

Dec. 29 2011 08:24 PM
Dan from the Bronx from Bronx, NY

I also like Steve's idea for a CD set of the Top 50. It may be predictable and rout but still a collection of great music. I will look forward to listening again this year.
Some of the criticisms have merit though; and I would not mind a follow up after the New Year of some more out-of-the-box selections. Maybe limited to works from contemporary composers such a Glass and Adams.

Dec. 09 2011 01:04 PM
Ed Schneck from Belle Harbor NY

I agree that your top 50 presentation each new years is totally predictable and shamefully neglects other great works that many people love.
Perhaps its time to retire this tired format and not do the predictable "vote for your favorite" routine. Almost every old listener to WQXR already knows what will be on the list every time, so its lost its vitality and freshness..Certainly there is nothing wrong with hearing those grand works,but for the NEW YEAR why not play 50 different "Classical" compositions that are equally special (and popular) and give up on the old voting routine.Maybe the 50 favorites of your announcers. Surprise us. If your program director cant come up with a new list of 50 spectacular recordings .that include everything from Etudes or.Chamber music to Symphonies from the WQXR archives something is wrong! Fleetwood where are you?

Jan. 22 2011 08:03 PM
Joe G. from NYC

It seems the underlying reason for these solicitations is to compile a "safe" playlist so we get to hear the same music over and over. If someone has a "favorite" I daresay they know it by heart and probably have one or more recordings of the piece. I do and I'd rather be surprised and discover things I'm not familiar with.

Jan. 15 2011 07:50 PM

I had hoped that with the change of format to non-commercial that there would have been more thought and imagination put into the Countdown. Alas, it is the same old list. While I did not listen to the Countdown, I'm willing to bet that as usual any vocal or choral work was given a mere excerpt while every Beethoven symphony was played in its entirety.

Going forward, why not mix things up a bit by substituting or adding monthly countdowns of favorites in different categories? Examples could include "favorite opera", "favorite concerto", "favorite conductor", "favorite instrumentalist", "favorite singer", to suggest a few. This would allow those who are frustrated by the exclusion of their favorite works in the annual list a chance at having their works represented

Jan. 15 2011 08:38 AM
Michael Meltzer

The countdown checklist has to be dispensed with, it ony has two purposes:
1. It gives someone with absolutely no opinion an opportunity to vote and make a choice. Unfortunately that choice is meaningless and distorts the results.
2. It save the results counters some time and labor. That shouldn't be an issue.
I've always liked the question, "If you had to go to a desert island for a couple of years, what 10 or 12 pieces of music would you be unhappiest to be without?"
I think the results to this question would offer a lot of surprises to the station.

Jan. 15 2011 05:39 AM

I am a loyal true Beethoven man. I have the spirit of Beethoven in my blood. There is no compromise. I believe Beethoven is the best. I never get tired of hearing his music. Don't get me wrong, I love other music too. Handel's Messiah, Mozart's opera The Magic Flute, Bach's Brandenburg Concertos. Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, But no Haydn symphony has as powerful an energy as Beethovan 3rd ( Eroica) and even though I love Mozart symphonies same could be said for him too. I love Tchaikovsky too. especially his 5th Symphony, but no one can beat Beethoven!

Jan. 12 2011 11:45 AM
Sibern from Brooklyn

Next year make it the "Classical Countdown of music you hate."
That'll perk up your ears.

Jan. 12 2011 08:42 AM
Jeffrey Gross from Brooklyn

Well, at least there wasn't any Respighi - QXR seems to have an odd obsession w/ this decidedly 2nd rate (if occasionally fun) musician.

Jan. 08 2011 09:09 PM
F. Williams from NYC

As Harold, I turn the radio off during the countdown; it's the same every year and I can't bear all of the pounding Beethoven symphonies at one sitting.

Jan. 06 2011 07:18 PM

While I generally agree with "Marianne from Hudson Heights", I can now say that she now knows one person who likes (Stavinsky's) Dumbarton Oaks: me!! OK, it's not the greatest Stravinsky piece but I find it rerreshing. As for overplayed, annoyingly "sweet" or "rousing" works, my all-time list of completely overplayed and over-rated is Handel: Water Music; Bizet, Symphony in C and L'Arlesienne suites: Rimpsky-Korsakov's Scheherezde. I could go on. See my earlier posted comment regarding the regrettable ommissions form the "top 50".

Jan. 06 2011 04:52 AM
Daniel Freeman from Manhattan

It is hard to believe that the Brahms Symphony No. 1 is not on the list. I happen to love his 4th above the others (all are great) yet one would expect the Brahms 1st, universally acclaimed as the great and first successor to the Beethoven symphonies is not to be found while the likes of the Pachelbel Canon are. As for Bach, it is good to see that listeners at least recognize the Mass B minor (although it really whould be in the top 10) but that the St Matthew Passion is not listed!! Astonishing. I guess it's too "heavy" for 'QXR listeners yet is almost universally cited by serious music critics and scholars as perhaps the greatest singing piece of music created. As for Verdi, the Requiem rightfully gets it place but not one of the operas!! Astonishing. Also astonishing, the single Chopin piece on the list is the "Heroic" Polonaise, surely a terrific work but is there nothing else of Chopin's that is deserving to be in the top 50? Also interesting is that Mahler's Resurrection Symphony (no 2) gets it due but an equally great workm his Symphony no. 3 is omitted. As for "Chamber Music", I rubbed my eyes in disbelief after searching the list more than one time to find---there is not a single pice of 'Chamber Music" on the list. My conclusion from all of this" while there are enough musically sensitive and educated listeners to at least get Beethoven hight grades (but not one of his piano sonats or string quartets), the "average" listener is not being educated or enlightened very much by WQXR. One of the problems is that programmers often play a particular composer but repeat the same work of the composer, seemingly over and over, while entirely neglecting the diversity of that composer's output.

Jan. 06 2011 04:30 AM
Sherry Asch from Brewster NY

My first time checking countdown online...cannot believe that Mendelssohn is nowhere to be found..his violin concerto? C'mon people...

Jan. 05 2011 08:51 AM
Michael Meltzer

I just noticed that, although the Elgar Cello Concerto appears in the countdown, Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik does not.
Unless your listening public has lost its collective mind, I think that says it all.

Jan. 04 2011 07:45 PM
Don Farrow from New York

It's the first time I've checked out the countdown. The thing that surprised me the most was Dvorak at #2. It's a great piece of music but the second greatest work ever composed...? Is there a bit of nationalism sneaking in there that so many could make that choice?

Jan. 04 2011 07:08 PM
richard rosenbluth from englewood, nj

I agree with much of what Bob Ginsberg says. I love the non-commercial aspect of WQXR, and the longer pieces we are able to hear. But the repetition is getting to me(how many more times do I have to listen to the Capriccio Espanol and the Siegried Idyll anyway). As for the talkshows, I would only listened to George Jellinek and David Dubal--I simply make do without the rest.

Jan. 04 2011 03:02 PM
paul cooper from MEW JERSEY

i will never say anything bad about the count down u cannot make all happy in this world that is just it ha ha . i like the count down from about # 10 up to fifty they were all great

Jan. 03 2011 09:27 PM
Bob Ginsberg from NYC

As several commentators noted, the countdown is a game, not a concert. The real problems with QXR are the weak signal (I live in Manhattan and can't get the station; I have to listen through the computer) and the programming, which is repetitious and limited. We get an hour or two of organ music and choral music, but almost no programs devoted to piano music, art songs, or chamber music. And the endless talk talk talk talk. Fred Child sounds like a nice guy, but all he does is play brief excerpts and talk talk talk. Same for McLaughlin. And Bob Sherman has been blathering on for 40 years. The old QXR had minimal commentary; now the announcers can't shut up. The glowing exception is the overnight show, where Nimet, Clayelle, and Steve say as little as possible. If only I could stay up.

Jan. 03 2011 06:49 PM
Michael Meltzer

Marianne's point is provocative. How do you choose your "Album of the Week," and why is there such a thing in the first place? It doesn't sound like anything but a sales promotion, and while we are still waiting for the new WQXR's Mission Statement, one can't imagine "CD sales" being a legitimate or acceptable part of it, for a not-for-profit entity.
Doesn't its repetitive play exclude playing time for other new issues?

Jan. 03 2011 03:29 PM
marianne from hudson heights

Like others, I initially thought the problem with programming was due to a lack of a decent music library. But the original WQXR libray was part of the sale of the station.

Take a look at the "albums of the week." Mostly politcal correctness, or favoring the sponsors, because often the performers are appearing at the sponsor's venue -- YMHA,
Met Mus., etc. Why not an album from Harmonica Mundi? recently considered the best publisher of classical music by the powers that be (although some of us knew this already).

It's obvious that WNYC has abandoned its educational mission. Don't forget, it got it's license from the State Department of Education. This is obvious if you look at the #2 winner (played several times a week to the exclusion of some of the greatest composers working int he western world) , and the fact that Gershwin is on the list.

Jan. 03 2011 01:32 PM
Rosanna from NYC

Happy New Year to all! It was wonderful to hear Clayelle Dalferes announce WQXR's 1st musical selection of 2011, J.S. Bach's 3rd orchestral suite!!!!!!! A truly magnificent combination, which made this longtime listener supremely happy-- AND there followed Mozart's "great" mass, K. 427 in the next broadcast hour!!!!! Thank you, Clayelle, and WQXR programming staff for a blissful and joyous start to 2011.

Jan. 02 2011 07:00 PM
Michael Meltzer

Footnote: One knotty programming problem must be where to fit in the flow of new CD releases, which the listeners certainly deserve to know about.
I suggest that this category be extricated from the regular programming and have a two-hour program one or two nights a week called "New Release."
I think people would look forward to tuning in to such a program, and it clarifies the the task of daily programming to listener preference.

Jan. 02 2011 02:13 PM
Michael Meltzer

Since the Countdown Poll is the only comprehensive questionnaire WQXR offers its listeners all year, I would hope that its main point really is find out what the gaps are in the programming and get a better feel for what listeners want year-round.
To that end, write-in is the only accurate and fair way, unless you give a checklist of 1,000 titles.
Even that is possible, with categories. I would suggest: Orchestra & String Orchestra; Ensemble (rather than Chamber, so you can include brass quintets); Piano Solo & Duets; Vocal & Choral. Whether violin & piano should be "Ensemble" or a separate category needs discussion because there is such an enormous amount of it.
If not a checklist, the categorized list of 1,000 could be posted for listener reference and reminder anyway. There's no paper shortage on the internet.
The information gleaned would be much more important that which are the "top 50" unless someone is again selling "all the classical music your family will ever need."

Jan. 02 2011 01:50 PM
John Dixon from Old Greenwich, CT

Though entertaining, Countdown disturbing for its narrowness. Don't give us a list of 50 to choose from; list at least top 100 next time, as another listener suggested.
I couldn't figure out the "write-in" option. You were supposed to enter one at a time, but format allowed only entering one selection.
Why virtually no chamber or solo work. No Schubert's Trout or Death and the Maiden, no Mendelsohn Octet, no Dvorak American quartet, no Beethoven sonatas?
And YES, BOOST YOUR SIGNAL. We can see the Manhattan skyline from Greenwich, but your signal undependable here.

Jan. 02 2011 01:10 PM
Myriam Thelemaque from WEST MILFORD, NJ


Jan. 02 2011 12:41 PM
Morty Rosner

In response to those,myself included, who lament the absence of Haydn: I agree with Harry from Bklyn that Haydn is penalized b/c he was too prolific. So here's a suggestion for next year: list one representative Haydn symphony and one Mozart Piano Concerto from among those chosen. Ditto for Bach keyboard concertos. I love Bob's suggestion to double the list . I'm sure write ins included more Brahms, the Bruch, Barber, and Korngold violin concertos, some Schumann (has the birthday boy disappeared?). And where is the Sibelius Violin Concerto? Expansion is a good thing.

Jan. 02 2011 10:48 AM
Elaine from Nanuet NY

After reading quite a few of all the coments sent to you there is one I haven't seen yet. Why not spread out the number of days you have the countdown and divide them into sections. Early music( Rennaisance and Baroque). Opera,Choral works,Chamber music
( mentioning the composers name and
approximate time they will be performed in case someone, like me, does not want to listen to the whole program), music from the past 50 years and today.Finally have
a general countdown leading to New Year's day which would be like the one now
in length. The others would be evening .or late afternoon and evening. This would give listeners a better chance to hear their requests. There are a number of pieces I would like to put on the list but I know they won't make it. This way there will be time for other works. Hope this helps. Thank
you for being on the air.

Jan. 02 2011 10:21 AM
Harry from Brooklyn, NY

Let me be frank: I never listen to WQXR during the countdown. I adore Beethoven's symphonies, but I don't want to hear them all at once. I listen to the radio to hear some surprises, which NEVER occur during the countdown -- and NEVER occurred even in the years when votes were hand-counted from semi-legible post cards.

People who miss certain works do not understand how a popular poll works. Haydn (like Handel or Vivaldi or Bach, for that matter) is punished for being prolific; with so many works to choose (over 100 symphonies), his fans spread their votes far and wide, resulting in a low total for any one work. New music enthusiasts face the same problem: with so many gifted composers and so many interesting works to choose from, votes get scattered. Beethoven was very shrewd to write only 9 symphonies and a single violin concerto.

It's also worth noting that the classical music audience skews strongly toward conservative choices. The last time you went to Carnegie Hall or Avery Fisher or the 92nd Street Y, did you note the large number of grey manes, canes, and walkers? These audiences are wonderfully passionate, but their tastes were formed half a century ago, and the opportunities to introduce them to new ideas were lost for many reasons, including snobbism of the musical establishment.

I am impressed by the diversity of WQXR's programming, which ranges from early music to the likes of John Adams and Michael Torke, with many stops at familiar masterpieces. The poll is important to the traditional audience, so let's keep it, but also keep the varied programming the rest of the year.

Jan. 02 2011 02:03 AM
Bob from Sarasota, FL

In my view, the WQXR year-end list was a good list, and the listeners, by and large, worked hard and did a good job.

With that said:
- If you give us a list of just 50 pieces (last year's list), we will, as a group, only pick from those 50. VERY few additional works made the final list this year due to write-ins. Why not? -- because it's easier to click on items from a list than to write in something else. So this year's list is almost the same as last year's list. Duh. This is NOT a Good Thing.

- Solution: put together a list of many more than what you will play. If you'll play only the top 50, set up a list of 100, or 200. Anyone familiar with classical music can do that, and there are many people at the station who could do it in their sleep. So then, we would not be locked into the same list, year after year.

And a final word about the voting: sure, everyone knew that Beethoven's 9th would be #1. It ALWAYS is. That's in the nature of these surveys. So we should all relax a little. The big pieces will predominate, and, in fact, they're pretty good (just heard too much). The smaller gems (Beethoven late quartets, anyone?) will have to come from regular programming, or not at all. (Oh well....)

So, hey, WQXR, how about something else that's not heard every day? Just asking. (Terrance McKnight is doing a good job on this, by the way.)

But the main point is, fix this year-end thing by listing more than just last-year's choices -- Please?


Jan. 02 2011 12:07 AM
Mike Handelsman from Brooklyn, NY

I am happy to observe the numbers of those who deplore the exclusion of Haydn's works in the Countdown. That Joseph Haydn never (ever!) makes the list is sadly more a reflection of public tastes than station policy, as WQXR does frequently present his work.

Not wishing to disparage tastes (which ARE personal) of fellow listeners and contributors to this blog, I'll take an historical approach, with the assistance of an essay by David P. Schroeder. (link provided) I will quote the last sentences of the first paragraph here.

"Can we even talk about a great Viennese triumvirate that includes Haydn, who was something of a late bloomer in comparison to his two illustrious contemporaries, from a peasant background, bogged down in the mosquito infested swamps of Eszterháza in the service of an aristocratic patron, unlike Mozart and Beethoven, who broke those bonds? They clearly appeal more to our democratic sensibilities, while Haydn appears on the surface to be stuck in an ancient regime time warp well after most of Europe and America had moved forward."

In a post on another recent QXR blog, in which I also lamented the exclusion of Haydn from the "countdown", I referred to his lack of contemporary New York "snob appeal", suggesting he may not be "cool enough". I think that Dr. Schroeder in the remark I quoted gets to the kernel of that coolness gap. (Nothing cool about a lifetime of service to a prince!) However, he proceeds in his essay to discuss the role of Haydn's late symphonies in the progress of the 18th Century Enlightenment - borrowing from his book "Haydn and the Enlightenment", Oxford Univ. Press, 1990. Charles Rosen's "The Classical Style", Norton, 1970, firmly places Haydn in that immortal triumvirate - with no attempt at justification! Thankfully, no justification by any of us is needed to enjoy the beauty and absorb the intellectual content of his massive oeuvre. In concerts, the Haydn piece is almost always the program opener (as comedian Shecky Green was for Frank Sinatra!) Yet, I recall the many times I heard people saying on the way out, "They should have ended with the Haydn - it was the best piece."

Jan. 01 2011 10:15 PM
Michael Meltzer

The overwhelming recommendation seems to be, "Get real!" (I have been writing in the Bartok Concerto for Orchestra for years - the 1950's Reiner recording is still in print, why do think that is?).
Given that the Elgar Cello Concerto could be considered a loftier effort than the Pomp and Circumstance March #1, if the two were together in your original check list, which would really get the votes?
If you say the Cello Concerto, you are in Never-Never Land.
I see in the complaints below, a music teacher who can send you more new listeners than you will ever recruit on your own. One hopes that you are paying serious attention.

Jan. 01 2011 08:49 PM
Richard Levine from River Vale, NJ

Been a listener for fifty years. Can hardly do without the classical music and opera you continually play. It is always easy for people to find fault. I assume all of you at the station are constantly doing the very best you can to continue the tradition as well as possible under less than perfect parameters. Keep it up.(go Beethoven)

Jan. 01 2011 08:48 PM
John Basmajian from Richland, WA

Very disappointed in your count-down and the favoites request about a month ago. I tried to participate in both, but you seem to have an aversion for opiinions of music lovers outside of metropolitan NYC. However, my P.O. Box is continually bombarded with your requests for donations.

Jan. 01 2011 08:31 PM
Don Dunsmore from NJ

I have to agree with so many people who are disappointed with the continued poor reception, the excerpts for certain pieces, the repetitive menu of music every day and the overabundance of Beethoven in the top 10. Sadly QXR seems to play the same 15-20 pieces every week. I get seasick from listening to "Le Mer" so often. Did you lose your music library along with you band designation? Not to mention all the wonderful programs like "Exploring Music" which have been banished to unlistenable times. There is MUCH room for improvement!!!!!! Hopefully soon!

Jan. 01 2011 07:29 PM
Morty Rosner from Teaneck, NJ

If I'm not mistaken,the original countdown did not offer a prepared list of pieces to choose from. That was more democratic and offered more interesting choices. A quick glance at the results here shows that more than 3/4 of the winners were selected from your list. That accounts for the choice every year of tidbits like the Rosenkavalier Suite but not Ein Heldenleben or AS Zarathustra.Or Bach's Jesu Joy... but not the St M. Passion. Or Schubert's 8th but not the Quintet in C or the Trout. And where are, Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Bartok, all bedrock composers of a former century? Here's a suggestion: the countdown should not include pieces under 15 minutes. That would prevent Brahms 2nd Piano Concerto, one of the greatest in the repertoire, from coming in 8 places behind the Pachelbel Canon or Barber's Adagio 21 places ahead of the Brahms 2nd Sym. But the real problem lies with your daily programming and the need to program short pieces in order to accommodate various announcements. That accounts for the Tallis Fantasia, the Pachelbel Canon, Clair de Lune and Rosenkav. Your listeners are merely spitting back the same tired music you play all day. Your programming has caused me to run away from the standard repertory. I can't listen to Appalachian Spring and Rhapsody every second day. Give us more credit: Ma Vlast does not end with The Moldau. Vaughn Williams, Shostakovich and Prokofiev wrote wonderful symphonies. Haydn wrote 104 of them yet they are rarely heard on QXR. Continue doing what you're doing; you provide the only breath of air on the radio but please, broaden your repertoire!

Jan. 01 2011 07:25 PM
Douglas Lackey from Wayne NJ

I like the countdown, because I like to know what other people like. But clearly three polls are needed: one for orchestral music, one for opera, and one for solo and chamber works. As it is, we have the absurdity of Rhapsody in Blue rated ahead of The Marriage of Figaro, and Rachmaninoff's 2nd Symphony rated ahead of Schubert's Quintet in C.

Jan. 01 2011 06:38 PM
mike from Bronx

Congratulations on the continued concept of the top 50. Dubious thanks for the excerpts from the B Minor and other works cited by previous commentations. Does one read chapter 17 of a classic book, oh perhaps Tale of Two Cities, and put it aside? Does one watch the middle 8 minutes of 60 Minutes and then turn away [well, maybe, if it is truly boring]. But the idea of truncation is absurd. Play the whole piece, extend your countdown to 3 or 4 days, get with it. You dumb down the entire dignity of classical music (as several others have noted). Snippets will not do. Shame on you. With every snip and excerpt you subtract from the sum of [classical music] human knowledge. Cf. Santayana I believe, but I am be wrong. Another reader comments that you played the entire Applachian Spring. That is played about once a week on the station anyway. Enough, and also of the New World Symphony, Rhapsody in Blue and other chestnuts roasted about once a week, and to my view, far too often.

Jan. 01 2011 05:56 PM
Steve from Bronx

Mike from NY has a point, although the Beethoven triple and Brahms double are far from top drawer representations of those two geniuses. The exclusion of Haydn renders this "poll" a travesty. Finally, the most potent point is made by Howard Marder. WQXR has descended to little more than a "Top 40," "easy listening" station, afraid of challenging listeners. How sad.

Jan. 01 2011 05:23 PM
Bill from Boonton, NJ

I also enjoyed the countdown but am disappointed that so many composers are under represented or left off and others seem over represented. My suggestion would be that rather than have only 50 selections to vote on plus write ins, have at least 100 selections to vote for. You could pick from the write ins from this year's voting. Beautiful concertos by Bruch, Chopin, Grieg, Sibelius and other were left off as well as fun suites by Prokofiev, Groffe, Grieg and others were also not on the choose from list. Sonatas and other shorter works by Debussy, Ravel, etc should also be included.

Jan. 01 2011 03:22 PM

I didn't vote so I guess I should keep my comments to myself. I don't vote because I can never decide on 3 favorite pieces.
But I am always amazed to see how things change from year to year. Not too long ago, Vivaldi "Four Seasons"
was number 2. This year it didn't make the cut. Brahm's Symphony # 4 on list but not Symphony# 1. How is that possible. ?
Do enough people vote to make these listings meaningful?
Is it possible that a write in campaign to FCC might convince them to allow WQXR
to increase transmission power?

Jan. 01 2011 03:16 PM
Howard Marder from Manhattan

With the dumbing down of WQXR and the terrible, terrible talk programming of Bill McLaughlin, Jeff Spurgeon and others, it is a pleasure to take advantage of internet radio and listen to stations like Swiss Radio International that present classical music, name the piece and leave out all of the ego-centric talking. On top of that there are no commercials for products as you now have in the guise of public support organizations. It is amazing how, in one-year's-time, you've managed to totally bring a terrific radio station to its knees. What a disappointment.

Jan. 01 2011 03:12 PM
Robin Taylor Roth from Berkeley Heights, NJ

Many of the complaints about the results can be traced back to the method of collecting votes. While simple, it was most limiting. Yes, there was a write-in option, but the impression one has of write-ins is that they have no chance of making the list.

Jan. 01 2011 03:09 PM
concetta nardone from Elmont, NY

I wish the countdown could be separate categories such as opera, etc. I did not vote because I have favorite operas, chamber music, etc. Different categories of classical music would make the countdown more interesting.
Happy New Year.

Jan. 01 2011 02:16 PM
Doug from NJ

I enjoyed the countdown and thank QXR for continuing it. After reading so many comments here about the need for more musical diversity, however, I suggest the following for QXR's consideration: 1 year of a typical countdown, followed the next year by a vocal/choral music countdown, followed the next year by a chamber music and instrumental soloist countdown, then back to the typical countdown the following year. Open up the countdown event to wider tastes over a 3-year rotation. Anyone scanning this year's results (and prior years) can see that vocal music, instrumental solos, and chamber music take a back seat, way, way back, to the popular symphonies and concertos. But I think that most classical music lovers must admit, if they're honest, that there are enough gems that are not symphonies to fill a countdown.

Jan. 01 2011 12:42 PM
mike from New York, NY

How can we have afinal countdown of the 50 all-time classical musical favorites that doesn't include the Brahms Violin Concerto, Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, the Berlioz Requiem, the Beethoven Triple Concerto and Brahms' Double, any of the great operas of Mozart, Verdi,
Donizetti and Bizet, none of the great chamber works like Beethoven's Razumovskys, Schubert's Trout or Bach's Concerti for Harpsichord or Violins.To say nothing of darker horses like Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez and Boccherini's Guitar Concerti?
I'm disillusioned, disappointed and depressed. Happy New Year.

Jan. 01 2011 11:51 AM
Paul Cohen from Brooklyn

I think Morton makes an excellent point about the choices being influenced by the season. I agree with others that entire works should be played, even if that would extend the playing time to two days. To others, who seem disappointed by the "mainstream" nature of most of the pieces, remember that WQXR is now the only classical station in NY, and also, the only non-rock music station, so it serves a very broad audience. It would be wonderful to have another classical station, featuring more contemporary music. I would not listen to it, but it would be wonderful nevertheless. My own disappointment? No ballet music. No Prokofiev.

Jan. 01 2011 11:39 AM
Michael from New Jersey

Where is Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. It was on the list previous years with usually a high ranking.

Jan. 01 2011 11:18 AM
rlb from Suffer, NY

What surprised me is the conservative nature of you listeners choices. It may be good for WQxr's programmers what there listeners like, but it does a disservice to those listeners who don't want to listen to Q2 on their computer to hear interesting off the beaten path music. I was struck by the fact that there was no chamber music favored at all

Jan. 01 2011 11:00 AM

first, thank you, WQXR, for doing such a great job year-round.

i am not an afficianado, by any measure. so, many of the pieces i treasure listening to were not on the list, or even mentioned here in the comments section.

so, i think that strengthens my point: if even i have a much different experience listening to an entire piece, rather than only its most popular passage, more sophisticated listeners than i must be grinding their teeth.

i am sure there are constraints on your formatting that we all are unaware of. but, perhaps there is some elasticity in these constraints.

oh, and thanks for bringing back everyone's favorite "Scheherazade" on Christmas Eve -- it was a delightful surprise, especially appropriate to the occasion.

best wishes for the new year.

Jan. 01 2011 10:40 AM
Morton from Jersey City

I didn't read all the comments, so, it is possible my comment may have been mentioned, but; you should also consider the month that the "Countdown" was held;.
e.g. if the countdown were held in July, would the Messiah rank so high?? and would there be so many requiems??

Jan. 01 2011 10:39 AM
Angry Ed from Englewood, N. J.

For shame, wqxr, for shame.Playing only excerpts of great works? Who on your staff chose which pieces to edit? And who chose what portion to play and what to discard? Is this murderer also a reader of condensed books?wqxr has lost all credibility as far as I'm concerned, and that is really disappointing.What a fraud. For shame, wqxr, for shame.

Jan. 01 2011 10:14 AM
Michael Meltzer

WQXR needs to recruit a board of advisors consisting of successful composers, conductors and performers. Being in New York, you can probably actually get them to have occasional real meetings.
The first issue on the table: Repertoire, and how best to plumb the archive.

Jan. 01 2011 09:57 AM
Mary from Michigan

This was a great feature. It's fun to see what other people like. There were some surprises and some reminders of forgotten treasures. Thanks to WQXR for doing it.

Jan. 01 2011 09:35 AM
Alan from nyc

Michael, to your point, here are my top five composers who were shamefully overlooked on this countdown and are also too often ignored on WQXR:

1. Benjamin Britten
2. Shostakovich (Symphonies Nos. 5, 7, 13)
3. John Adams (Harmonielehre, Nixon in China, Shaker Loops, The Dharma at Big Sur)
4. Philip Glass
5. Bartok(!) (Concerto for Orchestra, Music for Strings Percussion and Celesta, Miraculous Mandarin)

And dare I say, how about the Berg Violin Concerto, Reich's Music for 18 Musicians, Golijov's Ainadamar. A little acknowledgement that classical music didn't end at 1950 maybe?

Jan. 01 2011 09:15 AM
Irma N.Nesci from Ramsey, NJ

The comments are almost as much fun as the countdown itself. I haven't been this involved since American Idol TWO years ago. Keep up the good work WQXR and do heed some of the suggestions, especially opening up the selections through write-ins, and more variety in programming. My husband and I are avid listeners.

Jan. 01 2011 08:50 AM
David from Marlboro, NJ

It is inconceivable that the following were not on the top 50 but were on the top 40 for the previous several years: Vivaldi's the 4 Seasons, Mozart's Piano Concertos # 20 and 21, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto and Symphonies # 4 and 5, Brahms' 1st Symphony and 1st Piano Concerto, Tchaikovsky's 4th Symphony and Schubert's Great Symphony
Meanwhile we have such esoteric pieces as Rachmaninoff's 2nd Symphony and Elgar's Cello Concerto (which incidentally I never have heard)

Jan. 01 2011 08:39 AM
Michael Meltzer

The top 1/3 of the results would probably be more or less the same regardless of how you set up the voting. The rest of the results are more a product of your list and your program choices, than what people have in their piano benches or take home from the music store (if they can find one).
For instance, the following ten items would bump ten of the final choices right off the list:
1. Brahms : Lullaby
2. De Falla: Ritual Fire Dance
3. Malotte: The Lord's Prayer
4. Franck: Panis Angelicus
5. Tartini: The Devil's Trill
6. Corelli: La Folia
7. Schubert: Serenade (Standchen)
8. Schumann: Traumerei
9. Dvorak : Humoresque
10. Chopin: Prelude in A-major
11. Chopin: Nocturne #2 in E-flat
-There are more, but that should illustrate that an effort is still needed to connect WQXR with the public's real taste in repertoire.
If you think the above list is too simplistic, so do I. But, the alternative is not to contrive a static, irrelevant playlist that repeats over and over, but education and real and tasteful variety, drawing from your vast archive, present and past.
Bill McGlaglen is terrific. Bring back David Dubal, Peter Schickele, the personalities that bring the classical music message home!

Jan. 01 2011 04:36 AM

No love for Haydn? There ought to be at least one Haydn symphony in the countdown.

Jan. 01 2011 02:01 AM
Jason from NY

WQXR's repetoire is diverse during the late evening and early morning hours. However, during the daytime there is no creativity in the playlists. How many times can a person listen to the Gods entering Valhalla in one week? Similarly, how many times can one listen to Beethovens 1st, 2nd or 3rd Symphonies? The countdown refelects the lack of diversity in the music. Beethoven earning five of the top ten positions? Crazy. WQXR's programming director needs to start listening to Classical 94.5 Buffalo NY. That station does alot more on a shoe-string budget. How large is WQXR's music library anyways? Seems like they play the same music on a loop. Maybe our donations are being sent over to WNYC to support their progressive liberal political movement programming, rather than spending that money on a progressive classical music library.

Jan. 01 2011 01:57 AM
Alejandro Nolasco from Bronx, NY

Where would NYC be without WQXR? Thank you for once again spending a whole year rescuing all of us from the musical wilderness of this cacophonous 21st Century!! Having said this, WQXR is sending a bit of a mixed signal with its 2010 Classical Countdown. First, the message is clear: any one out there composing classical music right now, nice job, but you must die ASAP and wait at least half a century if you plan on making it to this list. (Lindberg, Rautavaara, Golijov, Reich, Riley, Silvestrov, Hakola, Part, Tsontakis, Takemitsu, Rouse, Penderecki, Aho, etc., eat your hearts out!). Oh, also, make sure you're either white European or white North American). So much wonderful music being neglected! On the other hand, and this is a contradiction I can't fully grasp, why shun Papa Haydn? I'm sure in my life time (I'm 34) I'll see some change. Or am I being naive about the demographics involved in this kind of survey?. In any event, Happy New Year!!!

Dec. 31 2010 11:57 PM
Josh Stein from Woodmere, NY

What happen to the instrumentalist in the year countdown?

Dec. 31 2010 11:45 PM
Fred from Queens

I hate to be the party pooper, but how is this different from the usual chestnuts we always hear year round? The countdown is a bit of a bore.

All this breathless anticipation. I'll be amazed if Beethoven's 9th doesn't list as #1. (How could I have ever guested?)

Dec. 31 2010 10:52 PM
Sam from work

Its been 3 1/2 hours since you updated the countdown. Why is it so hard to keep this thing current?

Dec. 31 2010 10:36 PM
Bob from Sarasota, FL

I love the countdown. Having said that, I also have read the other comments, and I agree with many of the negative ones (sorry about that; I also feel positive about the station overall and am very happy you're still around.) Here are some thoughts:

1) The "old" WQXR had a lot more days devoted to the countdown, not just 2. They also had many more works in the list. What is wrong with that? Peoples' attention spans are not really that limited, you know. We do like classical music, after all.

2) You used to play only complete works. What is wrong with that? Generally, people like hearing the whole thing, not snippets that fit the time you've got. We do like classical music, after all.

3) We used to send in our choices, and they got tabulated and totalled up, and it was a real list of actual preferences. Now, you can type in your choice, or, more easily, just pick 3 items from last year's list. Gee... what will most people do?

There's always going to be a tendency to get the same stuff every year... but why lock it in, year after year??? Why not have a change? Creating a bigger list to select from would be an easy step. We do like classical music, after all.

\OK, having said that, I assume and believe that you will continue to improve the programming, and I will certainly continue to listen.

(And by the way, thanks for bringing back Nimet at night!... Loved the new Christmas update.)

A listener for over 30 years,

(PS, if a listener is out of the good radio reception area, just connect your computer to your stereo and listen on-line. If you need to, get a kid to connect it up -- They like to do that sort of thing, and you'll enjoy it afterwards. It's way better than FM.... I'm in Sarasota, FL, thousands of miles away, and my reception, via internet and my stereo, is better than when I was in NYC.)

Dec. 31 2010 10:13 PM
David from Marlboro, NJ

OK so we are at #3 the Bach Brandenburg Concerti and with only 2 more pieces remaining the following have not yet been heard: Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, Tchaikovski's 4th Symphony, Brahms' 1st Symphony, Vivaldi's the 4 Seasons' Dvorak's Symphony from the New World and of course Beethoven's 9th. It is amazing to me that 4 of the aforementioned were not on the list of the top 50.

Dec. 31 2010 10:01 PM


Dec. 31 2010 09:59 PM
Sam from work

Again, its been over 2 hours and you have not updated the countdown. Why not update as soon as you announce and start playing the next piece? How hard can that be?

Dec. 31 2010 09:38 PM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

Fortunately, Mahler's Symphony #2 (Resurrection) made it into the top ten, so that we could hear it "in its entirety" as Jeff stated in his intro. Well, why shouldn't we hear the entire work?!? WQXR is always boasting that it is no longer beholden to corporate interests so that it can now play more music, yet you can't even extend the Classical Countdown for more than two days in order to play the works (in their entirety) that your listeners chose! You should be able to do a countdown of the top 100 works during the week between Christmas and New Year's. I think that would be a great way to begin a new year! Please think about doing something like that for next year.

Dec. 31 2010 09:26 PM
Bill D from NJ

I think playing excerpts of some pieces and the entire of others is kind of questionable. If you can't fit the 50 pieces in the current timetable, why not expand it out to cover more days? So instead of two days, make it 4. Are you assuming listeners will resent having to listen to all of Handel's messiah? That by playing portions of the pieces, it will keep the audience?

For those of you complaining about the signal, I sympathize, though I can pick it up where I live, it isn't the greatest signal. However, the station cannot boost the signal strength, the problem is in the broadcast band the strength at each frequency on the dial is allocated along with the license (presumably to keep stations at the same frequency from fringing on one another), and 105.9 FM was something ridiculous like 800 watts, when 96.3 I believe was many times that strength. FM has another problem, unlike AM, it doesn't bounce, it is line of sight, so if you add low power and the nature of FM signals, it isn't a great fit. One of the reasons that the station that bought the 96.3 channel did so was because being where it was, it had a higher power license and as a commercial channel that is even more critical (not saying I wished it had happened this way). I suspect WNYC and WQXR looked into trying to get the power boosted and were told by the FCC no way.

One possible savior might be if WQXR could be broadcast as an HD channel, which a lot of the FM channels in particular are doing (basically, if you broadcast digitally, you can fit a lot of sub channels onto the standard broadcast signal). WNYC itself could do that on their main channel; it would mean getting an HD radio, but they have come down in price (How about it, QXR?)

The other savior probably will be that eventually it will be easy to pick up the stream wirelessly, through 4G or even universal wifi, so you could be travelling in the car or wherever and pick up the stream...

For now though, it is what it is. I would bet the HD route is more feasible, assuming WNYC decides to make that move (requires new transmitters and such).

Dec. 31 2010 08:35 PM
Mike from NJ

Wonderful stuff
Love that you're keeping the list up-to-date
Happy New Year!!!

Dec. 31 2010 07:55 PM
Christopher from Inside the WQXR Studios

....I can't see where a Top-50 CD would be of any interest to most of the listeners here...for myself, one of the reasons I'd like the list is to go through my library and see which (what) pieces I don't have...then I go and purchase same....

Dec. 31 2010 07:35 PM
Christopher from Protesting outside the WQXR studio

Can we not get numbers five through one before they are played ?

Dec. 31 2010 07:32 PM
Sam from work

Its after 7pm and you haven't updated the countdown since 4 pm. I am at work and can't listen to the music, but I can imagine it if I know whats on.

Dec. 31 2010 07:19 PM
Gretta & Bill from Brooklyn

What a pleasant end-of-year ritual. We've been listening to and commenting on the selections over the past two days. Thanks for the glorious music now and all year long. Happy New Year!

Dec. 31 2010 06:17 PM
Pat from Fair Lawn, NJ

Why don't you publish the list before you play it? I would like to know when the pieces are coming, so I can be sure to have the radio on to hear the ones I like.
I also agree that you should play the entire piece, not just exerpts.
Maybe should have only write in votes. that way you will gewt a true idea of what peoples' favorites are. The check off list doesn't allow for much variety and encourages peopl not to think for themselves.

Dec. 31 2010 06:14 PM
susan from Northern Westchester, NY

I find it increasingly disturbing that I cannot hear the countdown, or any other music on your station, in the car. I have lived in this location for 38 years and I have always gotten reception in my car but since you went public I pay my dues but recieve less service. The reception is poor even lower south.
The music is beautiful when I can hear it at home on the radio or computer. I also do not like the excerpts and would prefer to have the whole work aired as voted for in the countdown.

Dec. 31 2010 05:59 PM

Have just signed up and have read the comments- some very amusing- others quite disparaging- many were disappointed in the programming- I enjoy the countdown, but will also bet #1 will be Beethoven's 9th.

Dec. 31 2010 05:41 PM

I've already complained to the music director there at WQXR concerning the fact that they play the same pieces over and over again only in different time slots. If you want to hear some good programming, go to WRTI.ORG or WWFM.ORG. They present a wide variety of music. You can go about a month without hearing the same piece again. If not, just stay tuned to WQXR and see how many times they play ELGAR'S: Froissart & In The South Overtures, TCHAIKOVSKY'S: Rococo Variations, HOLST: Jupiter from THE PLANETS and don't forget the CHAMBER VERSION of SAINT-SAENS: Carnival Of The Animals.
Sorry to piss you off WQXR, but don't you think it's about time you played music your audience would really like to hear. WRTI has a listener request program on Wednesdays from NOON to THREE. You could do one better by letting your listeners program one or two hours of music seven days a week. This way you could send your music director to the unemployment line. You'll be saving money and that would mean less begging for money three or four times a year. Be sure to get back to me. I'd love to hear from you.

Dec. 31 2010 04:44 PM
PinchasM from Highland Mills, NY

I have loved WQXR over the years and years, and now since the change, we can no longer hear it, even with an advanced FM antenna up near Woodbury Common in Highland Mills NY. We are only 50 or so miles out of the city. I have to sit at my computer, which is in a bedroom to hear everything clearly, and then it goes in and out. Thank you, and PLEASE boost your signal so ALL your listners can hear you.

Dec. 31 2010 04:41 PM
Bernie from UWS

Gosh, this makes me angry to see QXR excerpting works like this. As several commenters have already said, it denigrates the music to hear only 3 of the Goldberg Variations or a movement of Mahler 5. Are you afraid morning listeners can't handle a little Mahlerian drama?

Dec. 31 2010 04:19 PM
Nancy from NY

Maybe you should get rid of the countdown next year...really, your regular programming is much better and more interesting! Plus, the regular programming includes "entire" works, not just excerpts.

Dec. 31 2010 03:20 PM
Aaron Liskov from New York

Putting aside the inherent contradiction of making decisions about fine art on the whims of a popular vote, I disagree with the major complaint here against playing excerpts. First, a countdown is a "pops" concept, and some highly popular works are wildly uneven in their balance of popular and not-so-popular content. The Messiah is often performed in excerpts. Even when the whole piece is performed, a kind of excerpting occurs in the tradition of standing for the Hallelujah chorus, all the religious significance of this gesture notwithstanding. Second, this kind of excerpting is often more consistent with the historical development of the pieces. Many composers craved the performance of their music even in excerpted form, and concert practice in the 18th and 19th century encouraged this kind of dabbling over the unitary museum-like treatment of the classics which many expect today. Composers tacitly admit this when they convert longer pieces into concert-friendly versions a.k.a suites.

Dec. 31 2010 03:10 PM

Where is K 452?

Dec. 31 2010 02:51 PM
John Nicoletti from nowhere

Countdown is fun....but, some people here do not realize that when qxr went public, the transmission was reduced as well. Not only is there no reception after 20 miles or so, midtown manhattan has none either. Ilived 39th between 2nd/3rd, and, the transmitter is on the Empire State building. It is a shame, qxr may not last much longer, but, it reflects dying culture with regards to more refined tastaes. I mean, tonight, the average herd animal self seeker, will be entertained by a group of talentless dummies. That's the future folks. Not qxr.....too bad.

Dec. 31 2010 01:57 PM

I find it disturbing that you asked listeners to vote for their favorite works - and then, for the sake of compacting everything into an allotted amount of time, you're only playing *excerpts* of longer works, at your discretion.

But we didn't vote to hear excerpts- we voted to hear the *entire* work in each case. So, if you can't fit these into the time allotted, you should expand the time accordingly.

Otherwise, it's just another demonstration of how the "new" WQXR, under the auspices of WNYC, has been "dumbing down" classical music, beyond what the NY Times had already done.

Dec. 31 2010 01:57 PM
Vaughn from Jersey City, NJ

I have to agree with many of the people who have complained about not hearing the entirety of certain works. Only a portion of the Verdi Requiem? Only "How Lovely Thy Dwelling Places" from Brahms' Requiem? Yet you play all the movements of other works? Very inconsistent and disappointing.

Dec. 31 2010 01:32 PM
James Walberg from Stone Ridge, NY

I remember the days when you had to write down your top three favorites and MAIL them in. And to get a list, you had to send in stamped self addressed envelope). I think it is an excellent tradition but (as other listeners have pointed out) the process is clearly flawed. By eliminating the "choose three" from the website, you would get a broader range of works. Also I remember when the entire work was played and not just a movement which prolonged the countdown but was more enjoyable. Having the access to the playlists and on line listening is a big plus but I long for the "good old days" when classical music was not so dumbed down. I guess the bottom line is revenue like every other aspect of entertainment.

Dec. 31 2010 12:56 PM
marianne from hudson heights

I just turned off the Gershwin. Can you imagine a list of the supposed top 50 favorite classical music pieces omitting some of the greatest composers of the western world?

After listening to WQXR for 60+ years I'm dismayed by the programming and what the programming director (is he a musicologist?) thinks we ought to like.

Doesn't the director know that music was composed before Bach and Mozart? Why the daily emphasis on Dvorak, Bernstein (great showbiz stuff, but is this the showbiz station?), Bizet and Ravel and Debussy. The president of WNYC likes choral music, which explained all the second rate choral groups singing Christmas music.

Thank heavens we don't seem to get as much of Dumbarton Oaks as we initially did. I don't know anyone who likes it.

Last year I contributed as a Patron, with reluctance because I didn't like the programming ,but made this contribution out of love from what the previous QXR contributed to my life. I also like some of the announcers that come from the old station. I find it hard to forgive the new management for dumping some of the former announcers and replacing them with often irritating hosts -- lack of knowledge, chirpy, Miss Sunshine personality, tired voices, etc.

This year, I have spent a lot of time turning off the radio, which is permanently set to QXR. My donation is going to be minimal.

How many votes were cast for some of these pieces? What about publishing a list of the write--in pieces that never got played?

I remain a disappointed listener who loves great music, and remains hopeful.

Dec. 31 2010 12:46 PM
George from Brookside, NJ

I've been listening to WQXR for at least 60 years - how long have you been on? Now I can only get you here in NW NJ in the car or streaming. Can't you increase the power so we can hear you on the radio? We're only 35 miles from NYC!

Dec. 31 2010 11:27 AM
L. Lubin from Ft. Lee, NJ

Around 20 years ago, when WQXR became the only NY full-time Classical station (following the demise of WNCN and the sale of WNYC), programming became focused on top-40 style repertoire, including isolated movements of symphonies and concerti. After a barrage of complaining letters your programming director (Tom Bartunik, I believe) went on the air and APOLOGIZED! for dumbing down content, and failing to live up to the station's audiences' expectations.
When the City sold WNYC I became a member, and within half a year the music programming I listened for (more often than WQXR) was dismantled. I felt utterly betrayed. I have declined to donate to WQXR so far, until I could see which way the winds are blowing there.
When WQXR was at 96.3 FM we had the top 96. is it such a far cry from 96 to 105? We hear the same pieces every year, only the order changes a little. And for the past week, you've been playing most of these same pieces in an effort to encourage us to vote for them, so we've been treated to the top 50 twice! The excuse given out when sponsors started dropping support for live orchestra concert broadcasts (Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland...were are you now?) was that there was too much duplication in programming.
Apparently you are more in thrall to PR and Marketing people than you are to your listeners. Do these people really know or care about the music we listen to? Their first priority is further their necessity, which means continuing to make changes. It was the PR and marketing people who benefited from and worsened the Gulf oil spill. The same attitude ruined WNCN, once the best of New York's THREE classical radio stations.
And if you start paying more attention to your listeners, who, from what I've read on the blogs, are a pretty erudite lot, and spending their money on PR and marketing people, you could afford a couple of good music dictionaries. There are a few of you who can't seem to get through a single evening without a few cringe-making pronunciation and factual errors.

Bah, Humbu and hopes for a better New year.

Dec. 31 2010 10:58 AM
Carl Forino from Avon, New Jersey

Where can I find the complete listing?

Dec. 31 2010 10:23 AM
Mike from Brooklyn, NY

It appears that the station management is returning to the old WNYC-FM days of playing "popular" segments of great works rather than the entire work - or at least on a selective basis. And it looks like a selection based on your belief that you know what's best for the listener! When listeners vote for The Goldberg Variations, aren't they're voting for 30 variations, and not just the two you played? (And if two, how do you know which two?) Same with the Mahler Fifth. Did the votes come in as "Adagietto of the Mahler Fifth"? I DO NOT THINK SO! Aren't those voters just as entitled to hear entire works they selected as were those who chose the Brahms Fourth, Tchaikovsky Sixth, Mozart Fortieth or Beethoven Ninth and WERE treated to the full piece? You seem to be saying "You can't really find that entire 70-minute work so appealing - you probably wait for that lovely slow movement. So we'll just play that for you!" I guess you do know better!

So tonight at midnight, give us that magnificent chorus from the Ninth. Why bother with the rest of that 70-minute piece? And, oh yes, happy New Year.

Dec. 31 2010 10:20 AM

Next year, please don't put out a checklist of 50 works; put out one of 100. If you always have the same 50 to check off, and you only play 50, well, you'll always play exactly the same pieces, year after year.

I know we can write in choices now, and that has added a few that were not on the list, but mainly people seem to have just checked off what was listed.

You can stretch a little and make this a better countdown. Why not take 30 minutes to add additional works from these composers, and some additional composers who didn't make it?


Dec. 31 2010 09:53 AM
Matthew Moll from Hudson Valley, New York

Wait, wait,...Lemmie guess.
"BEETHOVEN's 9th Symphony",
right??? :0}

Dec. 31 2010 09:40 AM
Josh Diaz from Larchmont, NY

I have been listening to WQXR for 12 years and I always wait every year. Jeff, I Hope at 9 am today you do a good job starting The Classical Countdown

Dec. 31 2010 06:24 AM
john from Basking Ridge, NJ

Does anyone know who the soprano is on No. 33? I believe it was from Madame Butterfly. The woman sounds like an etheric being. Thanks.

Dec. 30 2010 10:32 PM
Fabio from Stony Brook,N.Y.

I cannot believed that Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto did not make it among the top 5. It is being played now at number 29 (?)...
De gustibus...
Thanks for maintaining this year's end tradition.
Happy New Year to everyone.

Dec. 30 2010 08:23 PM
Rosanna from Manhattan

How disappointing that you only played the final chorus from Bach's Mass in B minor today! Why not play it through, such glorious music!!!! Also, contrary to John BBQ, I do not want to hear more Bill McLaughlin chatter & less chamber music-- horrors!!!! WQXR should restore the 11 PM to midnight slot to a chamber music format-- the best way to wind down a typically busy NY day; otherwise play choral works by Tallis & contemporaries, preferred by Eleanor Roosevelt, by the way.

Dec. 30 2010 07:16 PM

I missed something earlier today... how did Tchaikovsky's Symphony #5 tie itself at #42 and 43? Can someone explain?

Dec. 30 2010 06:01 PM
George Jochnowitz from New York

#42 and #43 are the same piece?

Dec. 30 2010 05:59 PM
Gev Sweeney from Ocean Grove, New Jersey

Only an excerpt from the b-minor Mass? Oof! It's a good thing I didn't vote for Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 . But I do like the idea of putting the top 50 on a CD. Sounds like a good fund-raising gift!

Dec. 30 2010 05:53 PM
john from BBQ

Scherazade is particularly germane and compelling in these trying times as was der Rosencavalier but that said we need Bill McGlaughlin at peek hours and Bruckner and less chamber music.
Bravissimo and mazeltov to Midge.

Dec. 30 2010 05:36 PM
Estella from Mount Vernon, NY

I would love a CD/DVD with the WQXR top 50? Is it available? Thanks for the top 50!

Dec. 30 2010 05:16 PM
Diana K. Gibson from Ringwood, NJ

So happy that the Classical Countdown continues! I have listened to the countdown for many years and must say I grew partial to hearing the intro to Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 preceding each work played in the Classical Countdown. It made it very clear that a new piece was ready to be rolled out and it announced the next work in the countdown. I miss hearing it! Any chance you can bring that back and re-introduce it into the countdown, pretty please? Keep up the good work and PLEASE BOOST your signal! Many thanks! Happy New Year!

Dec. 30 2010 05:07 PM

Thank you for providing this wonderful year-end event! It's something I look forward to each year, listen to for as many hours as I'm able, and about which I cheer whenever one of my favorites either makes it onto the list or moves up!
I totally agree that a CD/DVD with the top 50 would be a great idea!

Dec. 30 2010 04:28 PM
Pete Drexler from Croton on Hudson

Why a five minute exerpt from B minor mass and 20 minutes of Appalacian Spring? I hope you don't repeat last year's mistakes of playing short exerpts of major pre-20th century works by Bach, etc. and entire passages from Stravinsky and Prokorfiev, the latter two not even getting the votes to be in the top 50. Please honor the list as voted by your listeners and play it and nothing else! And please give proper due to the better major works instead of short plays. If you need more time, merely start the count down earlier.

Dec. 30 2010 03:12 PM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

Why did you only play an excerpt from the Bach B Minor Mass? You should have played the entire piece.

Dec. 30 2010 03:00 PM
Steve from New Jersey

How about a CD/DVD with the WQXR top 50? I'd buy one...

Dec. 30 2010 02:33 PM
Mark A. Ceaser from Northeastern PA

Thank you so much for having this every year. Makes the closing of each passing year so more enjoyable.

Dec. 30 2010 02:07 PM

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