Vaughan Williams 5 My fave symphony is a miraculous journey from anguish to radiant redemption. It's in me veins, mate.
Elgar 2 It really is a toss-up between Elgar 1 and 2, but this symphony just has the edge. Stoic and heartbreaking.
Sibelius 7 Because of its short, one-movement structure, this symphony sustains an unbelieveable tension and, by the end, the emotional impact is equal to symphonies three times as long. Essential.
Peter Maxwell Davies 5 The spirit of Sibelius presides over this towering work. Listening to this is like standing on a storm-lashed headland. Bracing. Wear yer oilskins.
Vaughan Williams 3 Those early critics who thought this was about cows peering over farm gates were tossers. This is one of the greatest of war symphonies - desolate, poignant, strange, intense and unbelievably moving.
Ives 2 The famous Mahlerian adagio is monumental, but the rest of the symphony ain't bad either - classic Americana.
Moeran Symphony in G minor Take an ounce of English pastoral melancholy, season with a pinch of celtic twilight and mix with Sibelian austerity. Often called the greatest British symphony with some justification.
Beethoven 3 I've heard performances that make this sound like Haydn, others that make it sound like Mahler. Do what you like with the bloody thing and it still sounds great.
Bruckner 4 Worth it for the first five minutes alone - the greatest opening of any symphony ever. In the world.
Lutoslawski 4 Beautiful orchestral colour, dramatic and mysterious. A bridge between romanticism and atonality. Presses all the buttons.
I heard a couple of Haydn symphonies last night, the Surprise (not a surprise after youâ€™ve heard it a few times, but still fun) and the Clock, with a couple of concertos in between. They were played by Haydnâ€™s â€œhomeâ€