Lark Ascending tops classical poll

The music played during the tearful final moments of Coronation Street's Hayley Cropper has been named the nation's favourite piece of classical music.

The Lark Ascending was played during the final scenes of Hayley Cropper on Coronation Street
The Lark Ascending was played during the final scenes of Hayley Cropper on Coronation Street

Ralph Vaughan Williams's The Lark Ascending has risen to the top of the annual Classic FM Hall Of Fame list, compiled from more than 100,000 votes from the station's listeners.

The composition - written in its earliest form exactly a century ago - toppled Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 2, which has reigned for three years.

The Lark Ascending last topped the poll in 2010 and three years ago it was named the nation's favourite Desert Island Discs tune.

British composer Vaughan Williams was inspired by a poem of the same name by George Meredith and his first version for violin and piano was written in 1914. Some six years later he completed the more familiar orchestral version.

It found a wide audience recently when it was played as Hayley, played by Julie Hesmondhalgh, took a lethal cocktail to end her suffering on ITV's Coronation Street, following a battle with cancer. It was the long-standing character's favourite piece of music.

The Classic FM Hall Of Fame list features a strong showing for orchestral music used in video games, with two entries in the top 20.

The station began to broadcast game soundtracks regularly last year, thought to have help boost its profile among a younger audience.

The music for the Final Fantasy series, written by Japanese composer Nobuo Uematsu, was the highest video game at number seven, while The Elder Scrolls Series, composed by Jeremy Soule, was 17.

Mozart achieved the most entries in the chart with 22 entries in the overall top 300 - up from 19 last year - with his Clarinet Concerto at number five proving his most popular .

Classic FM presenter John Suchet said: "Exactly 100 years after Vaughan Williams composed The Lark Ascending, its poignancy and beauty are as powerful as ever."

The station is releasing an album featuring many of the most popular pieces and the full top 300 - which was being counted down over the Easter weekend - will be at classicfm.com.

The Classic FM Hall of Fame 2014 top 20:

2. Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No 2

3. Vaughan Williams - Fantasia On A Theme by Thomas Tallis

4. Beethoven - Piano Concerto No 5 ("Emperor")

5. Mozart - Clarinet Concerto

6. Elgar - Enigma Variations (includes Nimrod)

7. Uematsu - Final Fantasy Series (soundtrack)

8. Beethoven - Symphony No 6 ("Pastoral")

9. Allegri - Miserere

10. Beethoven - Symphony No 9 ("Choral")

11. Elgar - Cello Concerto

12. Jenkins - The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace

13. Bruch - Violin Concerto No 1

14. Holst - The Planets

15. Barber - Adagio For Strings

16. Tchaikovsky - 1812 Overture

17. Soule - The Elder Scrolls Series (Soundtrack)

18. Pachelbel - Canon

19. Beethoven - Symphony No 7

20. Dvorak - Symphony No 9 ("From the New World")