Classical composer beats Taylor Swift in UK pop charts

Classical composer beats Taylor Swift in UK pop charts


norman lebrecht

October 23, 2015

It’s being claimed that Ludovico Einaudi is the first classical composer to break the pop charts for 20 years.

That would be since since Henry Mikolai Gorecki, we reckon.

But Gorecki sold a million copies of his 3rd symphony.

Einaudi has some way to go.


Universal press release:

Ludovico Einaudi this week becomes the first classical composer in over 20 years to reach the Top 15 in the Official UK Album Charts.

His new album ‘Elements’ debuted at No.12 (Einaudi’s highest ever chart position) – overtaking pop stars James Bay and Taylor Swift and beating the likes of Scouting for Girls and Fightstar.

It is the highest-charting modern classical album since the Polish composer Henryk Gorecki’s ‘Symphony of Sorrowful Songs’ reached No.6 in 1992.

Einaudi, who studied with Luciano Berio and is the grandson of former President of Italy, Luigi Einaudi, also becomes the first classical pianist to reach the UK Top 15.  He is No.1 in the UK Classical Charts too.

Ludovico Einaudi says:

“As a composer, it is a great thrill for me to have an album in the Top 15 of the pop charts.  I’m delighted that listeners have embraced the sound of ‘Elements’ and hope they continue to enjoy my music.”


  • harold braun says:

    Classical composer???

  • John Borstlap says:

    Einaudi is not a ‘classical composer’.

    David Hockney is not Leonoardo da Vinci, as Zaha Hadid is not Andrea Palladio.

    With restaurants, quality cooks fight to conquer the Michelin stars and judges assess according to knowledge, understanding and taste. In music, anything goes, it seems.

    • Anon says:

      Cuisine, thankfully, is a broader church. The traditional cooking of the Roux family can earn star(s) as readily as the new of Blumenthal; Martin Berasategui just as Eneko Atxa.
      Should we not celebrate the good in music whether it meets one person’s narrow definition of “classical” or otherwise?

      To most of the world, Einaudi is classical, and it is undeniably good. It’s easy to think it is simple to churn out these easy piano melodies, but it really isn’t. Think of all the people writing straightforward piano works to ape Einaudi; there are many of them, yet none really produce pieces which connect or work in the same way. Einaudi does that with aplomb.

  • Fred Obelisk says:

    Even good news is dismissed if the strict definition of Classical is not met?
    Some are refining themselves out of existance.

  • Mathias Hausmann says:

    To be honest, classical music or not, it all sounds the same….

    • Anna says:

      …you mean “boring”…. Thats what it is. They call it new age music but there is nothing really new there. It only shows how the general music education needs to be fixed. Or the ears of those who like this miaauwing and barking 100 times repeting the same thing over and over again. I think Hannon had at least a goal when writing his finger exercises.

  • Dave says:

    Boy, is that a misleading headline. Taylor Swift has been on the charts for 52 weeks and James Bay 31 weeks. You made it read like Einaudi was showing up the pop stars. Naughty…Naughty.

    • Simon Reich says:

      Regardless of whether they were in the charts for a while or not, these type of headlines run all the time. If Taylor Swift knocked off Mumford & Son’s, they’d run the same headline. The thing that is more surprising to me, is the fact that a musical genre that is not usually associated with pop chart success, has broken in

      • David says:

        The point is… Einaudi isn’t in the same league as Taylor Swift as far as sales go. The whole comparison is bogus and I don’t care a fig about Swift. This is just a filler headline with no merit whatsoever.

  • Boo Long says:

    Taylor Swift’s tunes occasionally wander into chromatic territory unlike anything of his!