Symphony composers

Top ten symphonies

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Frequently asked questions

This page gives answers to the most frequently asked questions about Symphs. If your question isn't answered here please email us.

I'm new to classical music - can you recommend some symphonies?

See our list of the ten greatest 20th-century symphonies:

Greatest 20th-century symphonies

Where can I download free symphonies?

We recommend the following symphonies that are available for free download here:

Ten free symphony downloads

Where can I find out more information about symphonies?

See this feature about podcasts that are available for free download:

Explore the symphony

What is a sinfonietta?

A sinfonietta is an orchestral work that is considered to be smaller in scope than a full-scale symphony. Some famous examples are the Sinfonietta by Leoš Janáček, and the Sinfonietta by Benjamin Britten.

What is a sinfonia?

Sinfonia is the Italian word for symphony. In English it is often used to refer to a shorter work than a symphony. However many full-scale symphonies have been referred to as sinfonias to indicate that their character is somewhat different from a normal symphony; for example, the sombre Sinfonia da Requiem by Benjamin Britten.