By Faroe Decker
KBYU-FM, Classical 89, will broadcast the top 40 classical songs picked by their viewers. Every April Classical 89 runs a contest for their viewers to submit five of their favorite classical pieces, which are compiled into a top-40 list.
The countdown will air Monday, May 10, through Friday, May 14, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on 89.1 and 89.5 FM. A list of this year”s Top 40 Classics will be posted May 17 on KBYU-FM”s Web site at www.kbyufm.org/top40.
Walter Rudolph, KBYU-FM”s general manager, first came up with the idea of having classical 89 listeners select a top-40 list.
Rudolph said many classical stations have similar listener top-40 lists. KBYU”s lists differ slightly from year to year with Beethoven usually in the top 10.
This year, KBYU-FM had several hundred participants vote for their five favorite songs. In the past, KBYU-FM has invited different groups to submit their top five and has compared their responses to the general public. One year KBYU-FM invited grade school children to submit their top five classical songs.
Rudolph said people who don”t tune in on a regular basis would probably be surprised at how many tunes they don”t think they know, that they actually do.
“People hear remakes of classical songs in movies and on television commercials and then hear them in their original format and say, ”Oh, this is how it really went,”” Rudolph said.
Past top-40 entries have included Beethoven”s “Symphony No. 9,” Vivaldi”s “The Four Seasons” and Handel”s “Messiah.”
Luke Howard, a BYU associate professor of musicology, said lists such as Classical 89”s tell a lot about what people like and enjoy, and provide a chance to showcase good music.
Howard looked at a list of pieces that have placed in past KBYU-FM Classical Top 40 Contests and said the songs on the list were all popular and easy to listen to and understand because they are tuneful and melodic and written in the tonal tradition.
“The hymns, pop songs, TV music and movie music are for the most part tonal music,” he said, “and that”s why we respond to works like this rather than contemporary pieces.”
To encourage listeners to send in their top five favorites, KBYU-FM entered participants in a random drawing to win tickets to the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City and accommodations for two.
Howard said contests like this are a chance to showcase good classical music and show that classical music is still important to a lot of people.
Rudolph said it”s always fun to find out what is classic and what is the newest thing that made it to the list.