10 more works that have been dumped from concerts

10 more works that have been dumped from concerts


norman lebrecht

January 04, 2019

A vigorous response to our first list of works that have gone out of fashion yields a further set of former concert favourites, now in disuse:

1 Berlioz, Roman carnival overture

2 Honegger 3rd symphony

3 Prokofiev 5th piano concerto

4 D’Indy, Symphony on a French Mountain Air

5 Goldmark violin concerto

6 Henze 7th symphony

7 Birtwistle, Endless Parade

8 Irving Fine, Notturno

9 Kancheli 6th symphony

10 Schnittke, concerto grosso 4



  • MacroV says:

    I don’t think Roman Carnival has fallen out of favor. And I don’t think the others were ever particularly in vogue. Maybe the d’Indy and Goldmark.

  • kuma says:

    Emmanuel Krivine/CSO will be performing Berlioz Roman Carnival Overture in April.

    • Pedro says:

      And MTT is conducting it next week in Paris

    • opus30 says:

      The conductor of the community orchestra I play in trots it out every third year or so, as he seems to be obsessed by it despite us having a less-than-average English horn player.

  • Rudy says:

    Copland, El Salon México

  • Rudy says:

    Copland: El Salón México

    Shostakovich: Symphonies 2 and 3

  • Pedro says:

    Yuja Wang is playing Prokofiev’s fifth piano concerto all over the world.

  • Alexander Platt says:

    You are so right, Norman, as you were in your original list (Malcolm Arnold 5 — a masterpiece!!). Honegger symphonies seem to have disappeared, another loss.

  • Meaux Feaux says:

    This is stupid. You’re just naming random works now. Irving Fine’s Notturno has never been a ‘concert favourite’, whilst Roman Carnival has never fallen out of favour. If you just want people to name works that they like in order to keep the clicks coming and keep ad revenue trickling in then just say so.

    By your rules, here’s my work that has been ‘dumped from concert halls’:

    Ellen Taafe Zwilich’s Violin Concerto. I well remember the time when it was played as often as the Mendelssohn…

  • Tom says:

    Khachaturian Piano Concerto, Weber Konzertstuck for piano, Dohnanyi Variations on a Nursery Tune, Wieniawski Violin Concerto #2, Bloch Schelomo, Dvorak Scherzo Capriccioso, Gluck overture to Iphigenia in Aulis, Cherubini Anacreon overture, Handel-Harty Water Music Suite, any Chabrier

    • boringfileclerk@yahoo.com says:

      Thibaudet toured with the Khachaturian a few years back. Convinced me of the piece.

    • Stuart Donaldson says:

      Thanks for getting this back on track. My nominations: Bloch Concerto Grosso No.1; Kalinnikov Symphony No. 1; S Saens Violin Concerto No 3

      • Mick the Knife says:

        Bell has been touring with the SS concerto the past month.

      • PETER LONGSHAW says:

        ‘seen’ live Kalinnikov 1 twice in London in last 10 years: Jarvi (N) & Vanska and recently with BSO under Baakels in Portsmouth….whereas I have neber heard Glazunov 4 or Rinsky ANTAR ever in concert

    • Stuart Donaldson says:

      Thanks for getting this back on track. How about Bloch Concerto grosso No 1; Kalinnikov Symphony no 1; S Saens Violin Concerto no 3; Rimsky Korsakov Piano Concerto?

  • Sixtus says:

    In 40+ years of concertgoing in Boston and NYC I have never heard items 4-10 live. And since around 2002 when concert streaming over the Internet became widespread I have been monitoring the worldwide orchestral repertory, even recording many thousands of streamed concerts. In an automated search of my hard disks items 5-10 hardly show up at all, if ever. My conclusion: these pieces have never been fashionable enough to fall out of favor. Given the criteria, they are ineligible for this list. There are very many once truly fashionable and, dare I say it, better and easier to listen to works that deserve a more regular concert appearences than these.

  • Michael says:

    I’d like to see the list of overplayed pieces that need to go silent:

    Bruch: violin concerto no. 1
    Mendelssohn: violin concerto in e minor
    Rachmaninoff: piano concerto no. 2
    Berlioz: symphonie fantastique
    Mussorgsky: pictures
    Schubert: unfinished symphony
    Rachmaninoff: paganini rhapsody
    Mendelssohn: Italian Symphony

    • Petros Linardos says:

      In an ideal world they should be played much less often, not removed from concerts: there is always a younger generation that deserves to hear them.

      For all the above works there are good alternatives, usually from the same composer.

      To that list I would add Tchaikovsky’s 1st piano concerto, which I wish were often replaced by his second. I believe one reason many people roll their eyes about Tchaikovsky is that his most famous works are being overperformed, at the expense of the rest.

    • Glazunov fan says:

      Your list is very appropriate and accurate for concert-goers as far as “war-horses” that are over-performed…all great works, but tired of repeated hearings….let me add:

      Beethoven: Symphony 5
      Dvorak: Symphonies 8 & 9
      Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos 2 & 3
      Mozart: Symphony 40
      Schubert: Unfinished Symphony
      Bernstein: Candide Overture
      Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture

      P.S. On the other hand, I would love to attend a concert anywhere in the US a performance of a Glazunov symphony….talk about neglected works

    • Paul Carlile says:

      Yes, true, but even with overplayed works such as these, (a fair choice you made!), i’d be sorry to see them disappear, cos in each case they are masterpieces, and in a great interpretation can find new life. If for each Bruch 1 we could have a Scottish Fantasy…. a Mendelssohn Double Concerto, (pno & vln), a Rach1 or 4, a Berlioz “Harold…” a Mussorgsky…(erhhh, i’m stuck, help me.. “Songs &Dances of Death won’t quite do it!), a Schub 2,3,4,5,6… a Mend 3 or 5….all very worthwhile to hear more often and to welcome us back to the pinnacles these composers achieved in their best-known works.

    • Jack says:

      Add to that all of Gershwin’s stuff (which I actually like. It’s just played to death, at least on the airwaves) and Copland. If I hear another performance of Appalachian Spring, Fanfare for the Common Man, etc, or (going back to Gershwin) The Rhapsody in Blue or American in Paris, that would be one-too-many.

    • Anthony Boatman says:

      Do you want people to stop attending concerts? These are some of the most popular works our orchestras perform. At least here in the USA where government support is minimal, we must give the public what they want, since we are heavily dependent on ticket sales/contributions. Choke off Bruckner if nobody else!

  • boringfileclerk says:

    I’d love to see the complete Berlioz’ Lélio have a revival.

  • John Porter says:

    This is a serious topic, but the post seems like it might be a bit of humor. The fact is that of the major symphonic composers, many have seen their role in the canon diminish over time. The canon has always been evolving. Examples: half of the Tchaikovsky symphonies are now novelty works; few of the Schubert symphonies are played regularly outside of 8 and 9; Prokofiev is really narrowed down to his 5th; Shostakovich is basically 1, 5, 7, and 9; and even with Beethoven, 1, 2, and 4 seem to have declined significantly. Brahms’s four symphonies seem to hold and oddly enough, considering how long it took for Mahler to become established, almost all of Mahler’s works seem to have a strong following (with the exception of 8, as it is just too resource heavy).

  • Andrew Balio says:

    We, the Baltimore Symphony, are bringing back the much loved crowd pleaser Turangalila next week, which we anticipate will start a snowballing effect in our region. Stay tuned! I am quite glad to get a chance at playing this one again, despite the naysayers.

  • Patrick says:

    Casella: Paganiniana used to be played by the Concertgebouw Orchestra but I have not heard it live in ages.

  • Paul Carlile says:

    Really a nonsense list now! Carnival Romain is still played often enough. Altho i’ve been lucky over the years to hear live two Goldmarks, (Perlman and Chang) and three Prok 5th concertos, two Honegger 3’s and one D’Indy, (in France), i’d hardly call them a former set of “concert favorites,” and certain others are guaranteed to have audiences fleeing for the exits…..Bore-is-an Hurtwhistle, indeed! “Endless Parade”…aptly nome; i thunk it would never end. Hans-Were-no lasting appeal, Henze the lack of performances, and Kancheli & Schnittke may be Fine entertainment once, but more often…?

  • David K. Nelson says:

    The Lalo Symphonie espagnole is still learned by students but it is ages since I heard it in concert or broadcast (and when I did — yet another throwback, they played the 4 movement version). I happen to think Lalo’s Concerto Russe is a better piece. The Cello Concerto also seems to have faded. In fact what music of Lalo’s is played?

    How many orchestras program Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite any more? My teacher told me that Gingold warned him that many a fine concertmaster was caught unprepared and failed to practice the violin solo in the piece, one of the more difficult ones out there.

    You used to hear (and read about its being programmed) the Ives Symphony No. 2 way more than you do now, whether as written or with Bernstein’s ending. (I find the Symphony No. 3 to be weak tea).

    There was a time when more American conductors took an interest in the Vaughn Williams Symphonies than at present. Oddly enough the two Elgar symphonies seem to have taken their place! Likely RVW is still played in the UK, but not much here in the States. I’d love to hear No. 6 in concert not just because it is a great piece, but to see how the present day short attention span audience would deal with the last movement. Cough city?

    My dad told me that when he was young you could hardly go a season without hearing Ernest Schelling’s “A Victory Ball” in concert or on radio broadcast.

    The prolific Carlos Chavez’s music seems gone away — the Sinfonia india was quite popular at one time.

    Edward Macdowell’s piano concertos — faded and gone.

    Seemingly ditto for Franck’s Symphonic variations.

  • Johan says:

    Ravel Bolero can easily exit with no great loss

  • BrianB says:

    Many of the works listed were never IN favor. But Cesar Franck used to be played much more. Not only the symphony but Chasseur Maudit, Symphonic Interlude from the Redemption, and Les Eolides, any one of which would start off a concert nicely. As mentioned above, Cherubini’s Anacreon which most of the great conductors had in their repertoire (Toscanini, Furtwaengler, Mengelberg to name three all of whom made a specialty of it).
    Rabaud Procession Nocturne
    Liszt Les Preludes (not that I’m complaining about that one)
    Rossini overtures are never used to begin concerts the way they once were.

  • We value your privacy says:

    Petrassi, concerto for orchestra n° 5. It is not necessarily even the best of the series (although it is a masterpiece in every regard), but it has been performed by Giulini with the LA Phil back in 1979: https://youtu.be/TE0vF9bjIgs

  • Jack says:

    Norman, how about calling for nominees to a list of concert works that really need a long rest?

  • I suspect that Roy Harris’s third symphony never got much (if any) play in Britain but it’s certainly one for the USA list. Bernstein played and recorded it with the NYPO in the 80s but that was a rare reappearance.

  • Bruce says:

    Maybe by “former concert favourites,” Norman means pieces he heard once and would like to hear again. Otherwise this list makes very little sense.

  • I have a ten-volume set of orchestral excerpts for trombone and it’s full of stuff that I’ve never heard in concert.

    Overture to “Colas Breugnon”
    anything by D’Indy

  • Markus Pawlik says:

    Moszkowski Piano Concerto

  • RASflute says:

    The Horsham Symphony Orchestra played Prokofiev 5th piano concerto in November 2018 with Julian Trevelyan at the piano. Apparently it was the only UK performance of the year.

  • Vance Koven says:

    Just heard Ingrid Fliter perform the Mendelssohn First Piano Concerto with the Boston Symphony. That one was once performed everywhere by everybody, and is now almost totally unheard (the finale is still an incredible hoot).

    Another work once popular (at least in the US) but no longer heard is Robert Ward’s Jubilation Overture. I remember that there was a radio program in NY that used the overture as its theme music.

  • Geoff Cox says:

    Yuja Wang is to play Prokofiev 5th piano concerto several times this year …

  • Larry says:

    We seem to have gotten a bit off track with these lists but, since Norman’s original post was about music which has gone “out of fashion,” can I nominate: Finlandia; Capriccio Italien; Capriccio Espagnol; Colas Breugnon overture. All were staples – at least for US orchestras — for decades but, alas, not so much anymore.

  • MacroV says:

    The one thing that seems clear from Norman’s original post and many of the comments is that there may not actually be that many pieces that once were widely played by symphony orchestras (not chamber orchestras) but are now ignored. But to the extent that it’s true I think we see it most in orchestras playing fewer Mozart and Haydn symphonies, both because they leave them to period/chamber groups and because, frankly, when you go to a symphony concert – especially a touring orchestra concert – don’t you want to hear the full orchestra deployed?

    Another reason: Over the past 50 years pretty much every orchestra plays one Mahler and Bruckner symphony each season; the big ones may play several. That’s the big even of the year for many. So that’s a minimum of two programs a year that are displacing what might once have featured the Franck symphony or a program of light classics.

    Going the other way, I think there are a lot of pieces that could use a bit of a rest:

    – Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler symphonies
    – Bruckner 4 and 7
    – Beethoven’s piano concertos
    -Schumann/Grieg piano concertos
    – Mendelssohn, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius and Bruch violin concertos (Beethoven can stay )
    – Dvorak, Schumann, Saint-Saens cello concertos
    – Shostakovich 5
    -Rachmaninov Piano concerto #2 (#3 is ok)
    – Prokofiev Piano Concerto #3 (#2 is ok)
    – Dvorak symphonies 8 & 9

    Imagine how much space on orchestra programs for newer or underplayed works would open up if these all got shelved for a year or two.

  • Enquiring Mind says:

    There are many works that used to be considered pops that are now too serious for the weekend pops. Works such as Chabrier, Espana. These light classics are facing extinction. They initially attracted me to classical music.

  • Pipeguy says:

    Kalinnikov Symphony No. 1 in G-minor, recorded in the days of 78s by Izler Solomon and the Indianapolis Symphony and Toscanin and the NBC orchestra,

  • A Saldarriaga says:

    Perhaps Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No. 1 and the Julius Conus Violin Concerto were never popular concert staples, but they ought to be!

  • HBmus says:

    Goldmark? (Karl or Ruben?) Karl Goldmark’s overture ‘Sakuntala’ was voted audience favorite by the Philadelphia Orchestra… in 1912. Crickets ever since.

  • Traveling Hippo says:

    Not sure many of these pieces were ever in favor.

  • Mathias Broucek says:

    Is this humour? I love Kancheli but he’s never been a repertory composer!

  • prof says:

    Add to that list the wonderful Goldmark Rustic Wedding Symphony, and so many works by Spontini!

    Seriously… it’s not weird that repertoire falls in and out of favor as tastes change. I’d be worried if that didn’t happen.

    Most music of Roussel and Honegger (in the USA) is badly neglected. A lot on this list never was a part of regular concert life.

  • TERRY BAER says:


  • Yumper says:

    Boston Symphony (Andrew Davis) doing the Vaughan Williams 5th January 8-11.

  • Saxon Broken says:

    I would say one of the major changes is that orchestras are much less inclined to play short concert pieces at the beginning of the programme. Hence overtures by Berlioz, Dvorak and Weber, among others, are less commonly played (although they are still played sometimes).

    Similarly, bleeding chunks of Wagner are more rarely played now: there was a time that the Proms played a Wagner programme once-a-week; now they restrict themselves to a single programme. In fact, opera extracts generally are hardly played by orchestras these days.

    Lastly, major orchestras only occasionally play either “light” pieces or pieces from the classical or Baroque era. The HIP movement, and specialist orchestras mean that mainstream orchestras are often viewed as too heavy and thick.

  • Brendan Carroll says:

    I would like to see a list of works that are played FAR too often on BBC Radio 3 and that should be suppressed. Presenters are so lazy and trot out the same things with the following being particularly ubiquitous: Ravel’s La valse, Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, Schubert’s Trout Quintet (last mvt) Bernstein’s Candide overture, Elgar’s Salut D’Amour, Chopin’s Miitary Polonaise, Liszt’s Liebestraum, Beethoven’s “rage over a lost penny’ and the 1st mvt of the ‘Moonlight ‘ sonata, and of course Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons (the movement chosen depending on which part of the year). Enough already!