Just when you thought the most performed works of 2000-2010 were soft-focus sad songs, new results just in from the Music Sales Group in London and New York overturn the tables.
First from the London office of Chester, Novello, Dungaven and St Rose. At joint number 10, it’s Judith Weir’s piano quartet and Ludovico Einaudi’s Devenire with 35 performances each.
Above them, Philip Glass with The Sound of a Voice (39), Rachel Portman, The Little Prince (43), Kaija Saariaho Orion (45) and Hans Werner Henze L’upupa (46).
Into the top five goes Sir Maxwell Davies with The Kestrel Road (2003) – 54 performances.
At 4, it’s Philip Glass, In the Penal Colony (2000) – 65.
At 3, the soaring Finn Kaija Saariaho with her 2000 opera L’Amour de loin – 66.
The runner-up is Glass, again, with 87 plays of Concerto Fantasy for two timpanists.
But the translatlantic winner, and by a nautical mile, is Joby Talbot’s Entity (2008) with no fewer than 110 performances. Entity is an hour-long dance piece for Wayne Macgregor’s company, advised by six cognitive scientists who observe the brain/body relationship. In that respect, at least, it qualifies as a very 21st century piece. Talbot, 38, got an early boost as resident easy-listening composer at Classic FM. He has since become more complex.
Now don’t go away. Here come the US top ten from Schirmer.
At 10, it’s Avner Dorfman with Spices, Perfumes, Toxins (2006) – 33 performances.
At 9, Peter Lieberson’s gorgeous Neruda Songs (2005) – 34
At 8, Robert Xavier Rodriguez’s 2005 opera La Curandera – 37.
At 7, Gabriela Lena Frank’s Three Latinamerican Dances (2003) – 38
At 6 John Harbison, Concerto for Bass Viol and Orchestra (2006) – 45.
And now it starts to get interesting. In fifth place is Richard Danielpour’s opera Margaret Garner with 64 showings. At 4, it’s John Corigliano The Red Violin Concerto (2003) with 71 concerts. Number 3 is Nathaniel Stookey, The Composer is Dead for narrator and orchestra (2006) with no fewer than 104 performances.
In the runner-up position is Tan Dun with Crouching Tiger concerto for erhu and orchestra from a hit film – 139 performances.
But the winner – and who would have guessed? – is Joan Tower. Her 2008 piece Made in America, recorded in Nashville under Leonard Slatkin, won three Grammy awards and has been doing good box-office ever since.
No further comment at this pojnt. I’m still awaiting figures from Schott and one or two more. But I expect tomorrow to give the complete chart of 21st century classical best-sellers. And as you can see, it ain’t what you thought.