Greatest Symphonies of All Time


The Contenders: Page 2

21 Symphony No. 11 in G Minor, Op. 103 - Dmitri Shostakovich

Stupendous symphony ranging in dynamics to dulcet harps to solo double basses sounding like machine guns to the full force of all the orchestra playing maximally. An incredibly inspired symphony particularly good as a visual spectacle when seen live with superb colour added by use of the whole range of wind instruments & massive percussion section. AGB

22 Mahler's 9th Symphony

It is curious that this symphony should not even make it into the top ten, as it is one of the most introspective, emotional, and passionate symphonies of all creation, beginning with the heartbeat of Mahler, continuing a sense of warmth throughout the Landler, a ruckus of violent chaos in the Rondo, and the famous release of the Adagio. That this symphony be so far neglected is criminal; surely it is the fault of being incomprehensible to the uninitiated that bars it from the popular appeal of a top ten list.

To criticize the work, especially, for being overlong is deliriously foolish; a single melodic line of thought is present throughout every movement, with every note contributing so fascinatingly and constructed so purely with objective view of emotion and sweetness in death. Perhaps only in the first movement there are moments of boredom, but even these moments are justified and necessary in the context of the whole; after every war comes a period of great prosperity and ...more

My personal favorite work of art. The finale is the most moving single movement in the repertoire. - mahlerialiszt

It's a sin not to include this piece in the top two. The opening notes of the last movement is beyond any human creation that have ever existed.

Best music ever

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23 Sibelius' 2nd Symphony

This symphony absolutely belongs to the very best and most wonderful symphonies of all time! Listen to the fantastic finale. It is one of the greatest highlights in history of music. Coda and reprise are unmatched and on the same level as the most tremendous finales of Anton Bruckner.

Absolute intensity throughout. Slightly folksy, but still majestic on a grand scale. Transitions effortlessly from the brooding to the triumphant.

The opening trumpet fanfare in the finale provides such a feeling of triumph and elegance, making the ending to a concert beyond spectacular.

Shapeless and weak despite its often strikingly original thematic material. The last movement is torture. Completely surpassed by the composer's Fifth. Life is too short.

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24 Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major, Op. 100 - Sergei Prokofiev

This incredible piece of music has a depth, drama and beauty that surpasses the greatest Shostakovich symphonies, and makes a mockery of all who calls Prokofiev a cynical an non-personal composer. The last minutes of the Adagio is one of the most heart-breakingly beautiful places in all orchestral music.

25 Scriabin Symphony 1
26 Beethoven's 6th (Pastoral) Symphony

Number 1 for me - intensely moving

Simply the greatest piece of art ever created by a Han being. I would like to die listening to the fifth movement.

The builds and blends in and out of woodwind solos really do it for me.

How does something so perfectly beautiful just appear in a man's head without even making any noise?

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27 Tchaikovsky Symphony 1
28 Sibelius' 5th Symphony

One of the really great symphonies.

Big and beautiful!

Big and strong like another 5th symphony we know,take a listen to the Sibelius 4th.

29 Schubert's 9th Symphony

This symphony is really great and wonderful. It is probably the most Important milestone, that was directly leading to the fantastic symphonies of Anton Bruckner.

Ah, Schubert, the master of the melodic symphony. What a brilliant piece of music. Should be higher up on the list.

This has got to be the most underrated symphony on the entire list.

Have always loved its wide romantic verve

30 Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony

Stunning masterpiece particularly the French horn movement and the finale, amazing vitality, before his death symphony no. 6

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31 Saint Saens 3rd (Organ) Symphony

A real wonder. I love Schubert, Beethoven and others' symphonies, but Saint-Saens' work is the one I can listen to again and again with always the same admiration

This symphony is powerful and moving and works both at an intellectual level and an emotional level. Most satisfying.

A very under played and under rated symphonic work but its truly awesome. - plmilligan1968

I am never tired of listening to this extraordinary masterpiece

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32 Schubert's 8th Unfinished Symphony

One of the greatest symphonies of all time. As I get older I found out the greatness in this work, not when I was younger. Cannot believe Schubert in his mid twenties, can compose such a work - the 2nd movement, in a different world!

Surprised to see this down here. This is one of the greatest Symphonic masterpieces ever written.

Comes from another dimension. How Schubert thought it up defies my comprehension.

Special... Even with only two movements, but it sounds perfect and beautiful

33 Symphony No. 2 in C Minor - Gustav Mahler
34 Mahler's 3rd Symphony

I was extremely fortunate to be present at Bernard Haitink's recent Proms performance at the Albert Hall. To see this work live was to behold a wondrous miracle. The diversity & inspiration of the composition show what an inspired composer Mahler was. The first movement is a multidimentional symphony in itself. The addition of a boys choir in the 5th movement lightens the intensity of the other movements. A must see at least once in your lifetime.

I played the finale of this symphony in the 8th grade, so I have a special place in my heart for it. - higgsboson2142

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35 Borodin's 2nd Symphony

A big Russian boisterous sounding symphony. - plmilligan1968

36 Bruckner's 4th (The Romantic) Symphony

This symphony is actually easy to listen to, and has some great music.

Beautiful opening; uncharacteristic Schubertian slow movement, famous hotn call in the scherzo and a stunning final movement coda that only conductor Celibidache interpreted as a vision of entering into Heaven. Truly Spiritual.

37 Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21 - Ludwig Van Beethoven
38 Beethoven's 8th (Little One) Symphony

Light hearted and cheerful themes run through this wonderful symphonic work. - plmilligan1968

39 Mozart's Symphony No.41

Ah, the "Jupiter," because it's fitting for the king of the gods. The culmination of Mozart's genius in instrumental music. A perfect blend of melody, counterpoint, harmony, rhythm, emotion, form, etc. This piece puts a smile on my face like very few can - ALL 4 movements. It may sound deceptively simple and shallow to the uninitiated, but trust me it doesn't reveal its secrets immediately. Anyone who dares to disagree upon repeated listening hasn't studied the score, seen it performed live, or just doesn't understand the trancendental. I'm appalled it's #39 (08/2015) on this list?! Get out of town! Where my Mozart fans at? Represent!

This symphony is exhilarating without being offensive to the ear. It combines all of Mozart's greatest qualities: clarity, elegance, grace, and lyrical melodies, in one epic piece. It never gives the listener a break, but continuously pushes forward with memorable themes and beautiful harmonies.

Should be in the top five. A beautiful work that was WAY ahead of its time.

I am absolutely *agog* that the mighty Jupiter is *so* far down on this list. Just the finale alone would be enough for me to put it in my top 10.

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40 Dvorak's 8th Symphony

Perfectly written
Totally can tell what perspective he was writng it from
Underrated symphony
Folklore based on Prague

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List StatsUpdated 23 May 2017

2,000 votes
89 listings
8 years, 274 days old

Top Remixes (10)

1. Beethoven's 5th (Fate) Symphony
2. Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Op. 47 - Dmitri Shostakovich
3. Symphony No. 1 in D Major - Gustav Mahler
1. Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Op. 47 - Dmitri Shostakovich
2. Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 43 - Jean Sibelius
3. Beethoven's 9th (Choral) Symphony
1. Brahms Symphony No.1 in C Minor
2. Brahms Symphony No. 4
3. Dvorak's 9th (New World) Symphony

View All 10


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