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The Father of Us All

Never mind the overblown dust-up about Joshua Bell in the Metro station. The big classical music news of the moment is The Classic FM Hall of Fame 2007, this year’s list of the top 300 classical works. Thanks to the astonishing reach of’s Classical Music news feed, I’ve just become aware of a UPI story being carried on that cuts right to the heart of the matter:

The 18th-century German baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach failed to place any of his music in the Top 30 favorites of 67,328 listeners who voted in Classic FM’s 11th annual poll.

Poor Bach, huh? Having given his all to break the top 30, he’s probably moldering away faster than ever. Apparently his music “just wasn’t catchy enough.” According to Classic FM’s Darren Henley, Bach was “the fifth most popular composer overall… but he maybe hasn’t got any of those seminal works that people are passionate about.” No, Bach may have fathered 20 children (or so they say—though who knows what the two Mrs. Bachs were doing when he was out noodling on his organ), but when it comes to seminal any Brit worth his or her jar of Marmite knows that the real musical sperm bank is Ralph Vaughn Williams, whose Lark Ascending topped the chart this year. The picture says it all, don’t you think?

Ralph Vaughn Williams

(Pic thanks to the BBC, which covered the poll but naturally missed the point of the story).