Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture has been voted the most popular piece of classical music for the first time in the Classic FM Hall of Fame.

Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 2 remains in second place, having held the top spot eight times since 1996 in the world’s biggest annual survey of classical music tastes.

Last year’s winner – Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending – is in third place.

More than 120,000 votes were cast in this year’s chart, which is run by Classic FM.

John Suchet, one of the station’s presenters, said the 1812 Overture is popular partly because it is “such a great showpiece”.

He said: “You can hear it at all the big classical music concerts. If it’s done properly, it’s got a huge orchestra, it’s got a big choir, it’s got the lot.

“It starts quite gently with a folk tune and there’s no hint that by the end there’s going to be fireworks and cannon. It’s the perfect party piece!”

John Williams’ emotive score to Schindler’s List was the highest placed film soundtrack, climbing five places to number 23.

It beat Howard Shore’s music to The Lord Of The Rings, which had been the nation’s favourite for the past 15 years.

Williams extended his lead as the most popular living composer with 12 entries in this year’s Hall of Fame.

The survey also saw Mozart cement his position as the most popular composer of all time, with 23 entries in the chart.

Presenter Bill Turnbull said: “Year after year, the Classic FM Hall of Fame gives us an unrivalled look at the nation’s classical music tastes.

“With Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture taking the number one spot for the first time and Schindler’s List beating The Lord Of The Rings for the first time in 15 years, those tastes are ever-changing.

“From timeless favourites through to modern film scores, the 2018 chart shows that classical music is more relevant than ever.”