It’s that time when exceptional people from all around the world gather for two weeks of outstanding human achievements. But what about classical music? It hasn’t been a competitive event since 1936, and it’s not getting much respect these days.
Tempo is celebrating excellence and outstanding achievements in the classical world. We thought the best place to start would be with these classical music world record holders.
World’s most prolific composer: Georg Philipp Telemann
The first accurate survey of Georg Philipp Telemann’s work, made within the past 30 years, lists well over 3,000 works. That’s enough to give Telemann the Guinness World Record for most prolific composer.
World’s fastest violin player: Ben Lee
Guinness World Records cites Ben Lee as the fastest violin player. Lee “performed” Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee in a record 54.24 seconds, causing cringes among violin teachers everywhere. We’d like to see James Ehnes or Maxim Vengerov give him a run for his money.
World’s most expensive musical instrument: the "Lady Blunt" Stradivarius
The "Lady Blunt" Stradivarius of 1721 was sold at auction last year for a record £9.8 million (around $16 million Cdn). That’s four times higher than the previous auction record for a coveted Strad. Proceeds went to a Japanese hurricane and tsunami relief fund.
Top-selling solo classical instrumentalist of all time: Glenn Gould
Glenn Gould holds two records: top-selling solo classical instrumentalist in the history of recording and best-selling solo classical instrumental album of all time (1955 recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations).
World’s largest orchestra: Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra was joined by 6,400 students at BC Place to earn the title of world’s largest orchestra back in 2000. Music director Bramwell Tovey tuned the enormous ensemble and led them in a 10-minute arrangement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.
World’s oldest orchestras: depends whom you ask
Three European orchestras claim to be the oldest, and they’ve all been around for around half a millennium. Here in Canada, Regina Symphony Orchestra claims the title of “Canada’s oldest continuously performing orchestra,” while Orchestre symphonique de Québec claims “oldest active Canadian orchestra.” We’re not picking sides, and it’s safe to say we should hold off before awarding any titles.
Honourable mention: world's (almost) largest kazoo ensemble
An enthusiastic bunch in Hamilton, Ont., came just shy of setting the record for largest kazoo ensemble last month.
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on Jul 26, 2012