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5 Favourite Symphonies?


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1. Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 4

2. Beethoven - Symphony No. 5

3. Dvorak - Symphony No. 9

4. Mozart - Symphony No. 40

5. de Meij - Symphony No. 1

Tchaik 1 gets a special mention because,though I am not terribly fond the finale, I adore the first three movements. But I love all the pieces of the symphonies I've listed above.

Furthermore, Bukvich 1 gets a special mention as being the most... unique symphony I've ever heard or played.

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It's hard to specify 5 favourite symphonies, but I will name 5 for each period:

Classical style:

1. Beethoven's 3rd "Eroica"

2. Mozart's 40th in g minor - especially second movement

3. Mozart's 25th in g minor - massively underrated

4. Beethoven's 8th - so unique

5. Beethoven's 7th

Romantic style:

1. Tchaikovsky's 6th - amazing work in every aspect

2. Franck's symphony in d minor

3. Mahler's 4th - so simple in easy to follow

4. Brahms' 4th - one of his rare symphonic masterpieces, I don't really like german romantic symphonies

5. Nielsen's 1st - nice to hear good Danish symphonies.

Early 20th century:

1. Shostakovich's 5th - one of the fines neo-Mahlerian works

2. Prokofiev's 1st - so cute, however, awfully orchestrated. ;)

3. Shostakovich's 1st - amazing work for 19 year old composer, slightly weak in form though.

4. Rousell's 3rd - very unique work

5. Skerjanc's 5th - one of the finest Slovenian symphonies, check it on youtube.

Modern style:

1. Duttilleux's 1st - I just love the orchestration, strange harmonies and good formal approach.

2. Lutoslawski's 3rd - this exciting stylistic hybrid never gets boring in 30 minutes.

3. Rautavaara's 5th - cosmic and magical music

4. Rautavaara's 7th - simply beautiful

5. Sulek's 6th - a Croatian symphonic masterpiece.

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OK, it’s difficult to name the top 5, but I have a clear top 3:

1. Mahler 6

2. Rachmaninov 2

3. Prokofiev 5

There are some others that I like very much, in no particular order:

Haydn 102+103

Mozart 36 (Linz)

Brahms 1-3

Nielsen 2+3

Martinů 1+2

Bartók Concerto for Orchestra (no symphony, but as close as you can get with Bartók)

Lutosławski 3

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  • 1 month later...

In no particular order:

1. Mozart 41 (I've yet to hear anything written in C major that is as exciting as the last movement, plus I love the second movement)

2. Tchaikovsky 6 (Beautiful and emotional)

3. Mahler 8 (Perhaps the most powerful finale ever written)

4. Dvorak 9 (Fantastic overall work)

5. Beethoven 3 (I love the development section of the first movement, also very musically revolutionary)

I also like Schubert 8, Mahler 2, Tchaikovsky 2 (mainly the finale), Mozart 35 and 40, and Beethoven 5, 6, and 9.

I'm also trying to explore newer symphonic works.

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  • 6 months later...

I feel like this is a good topic to revive... I've already discovered some great pieces by "lurking" on this thread, and I think it would be nice to hear some new members' favourites. So, here are my top 5:


1. Mahler - Symphony no. 9

For all the hype some of his earlier symphonies get, I think this is Mahler's most mature and profound work. The sprawling 1st movement is quite possibly my favourite musical experience of all time, and the 3rd movement contains some of Mahler's best contrapuntal writing and most adventurous harmonies (in a bitterly sarcastic scherzo, no less!)

2. John Adams - Harmonielehre

It is too a symphony!

3. Debussy - La Mer

Even though the movements stand well on their own, this is--unlike Debussy's other orchestral collections--closer to a symphony than an orchestral suite, in my opinion. Semantics aside, it's a fantastic piece.

4. Ives - Symphony no. 4

This piece combines everything wonderful about Ives--from comforting, New Englandy hymns to chaotic collages to ethereal, otherworldly experiments in orchestration--into a delightfully messy commentary on life, the universe, and everything.

5. Kurt Atterberg - Symphony no. 3

It's probably a bit strange to include this piece but nothing by Sibelius (since Atterberg's output largely consists of mediocre Sibelius imitations), but for some reason, I find myself frequently re-listening to this one. In his 3rd symphony (especially the last movement), Atterberg seemed to achieve just the right balance between Romantic gushing and a more stark, primal, Scandinavian sound.


Schnittke and Rautavaara are also some of my favourite symphonists, but it's difficult to choose a really outstanding symphony from either of them.

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Incredibly difficult to pick from a few century's worth of symphonic development. But after hard scrutiny  :shiftyninja: :


1. Beethoven: Symphony 3 'Eroica' - The piece that first got me excited about classical music.

2. Mahler: Symphony 9

3. R. Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie

4. Prokofiev: Symphony 5

5. Shostakovitch: Symphony 11 'The Year 1905'


This list should really be way longer  <_< .

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...
Guest siegfried

 1. R. Strauss - Alpine Symphony

 2. Beethoven - Symphony no.5

 3. Tchaikovsky - Symphony no.6

 4. Mahler - Symphony no.2

 5. Mendelssohn - Symphony n.3 "Scottish"  


Edited by siegfried
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  • 3 weeks later...

There should be a spreadsheet for this thread so we can see who is coming up tops.  Who will win the ULTIMATE SYMPHONY SHOWDOWN...!!!? Who needs to procrastinate and tally up what we've got so far?  

Funny You should say that. That's immediately what I started doing when I started reading this thread. Haven't finished yet, so if anyone else has done it, I didn't see. When I wake up in the morning I will tally results. There are some clear favorites. 



Oh, well I guess that is the end. I love excel, so I'll do averages and totals based on composers, but here are the winners to date:

At ten votes:

Beethoven 7

Beethoven 9

Dvorak 9


At nine votes:

Beethoven 5

Mahler 5

Mahler 6


8 votes:

Tchaikovsky 6


7 Votes:

Mozart 40


6 Votes:

Mozart 41

Beethoven 3

Sibelius 2

Sibelius 7

Mahler 8

Prokofiev 5


5 votes:

Tchaikovsky 4

Messiaen Turangalila

Webern Symphony

Brahms 3

Bruckner 9

Mahler 2


Mahler came in first place with 43 total votes, Beethoven in second with 41, Tchaikovsky third with 22, and Mozart and Sibelius tied for 19 total votes. 

Edited by foreignwords
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  • 1 year later...
  • 1 month later...

more or less in order...


Berio - Sinfonia (Mahler 2?)

Webern - Chamber Symphony

Lutoslawski - Fourth Symphony (eats the third for breakfast)

Messiaen - Turangalila Symphonie

Stravinsky - Symphony of Psalms


Honorable mentions: Mozart 41, Mahler 4 & 9, Tchaikovsky 6

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