Britain, the land without music knowledge

Only one in four people knows who Elgar is, reveals survey

Published: August 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm

One in three people in Britain has never listened to a piece of classical music, a survey has revealed.


The survey, carried out by Reader’s Digest, also highlighted a general lack of knowledge of composers. Of the 1,516 questioned, 27 per cent did not know that Elgar was a composer, while 75 per cent were unaware that he wrote ‘Land of Hope and Glory’. When asked who wrote the 1812 Overture, meanwhile, 68 per cent responded with a blank look, failing to identify Tchaikovsky.

However, the news is not all doom and gloom. Sixty-one per cent of respondents said that they did at least enjoy classical music, even if they don’t know much about it. The challenge, then, says Reader’s Digest editor GillHudson, is to give them the chance to learn: ‘As our survey shows, there’s clearly an appetite for classical music. Classical music at its best can be moving, life-enhancing and uplifting. It should be accessible to all.’

Interestingly, the Welsh are the most musically savvy people in Britain, with 72 per cent from the principality saying they own a classical music CD, compared to the national average of 59 per cent.

And semi-amusingly, four per cent thought that Bocconcini – small Italian cheese balls – was the name of a composer. Though how many believe that Puccini is something you serve with a tomato and basil sauce was not disclosed…


Jeremy Pound

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