Top Ten Composers

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Robin L, Jan 8, 2011.

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  1. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    Top 10 Composers: Bach

    A List by The [New York] Times's Anthony Tommasini in today's NYT, in the form of a little video.

    You will have to scroll down the video menu to find it.

    http://video.nytimes.com/?src=vidm

    Bach is at the top of the list, of course. :winkgrin:
     
  2. violarules

    violarules Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Ha, that's the first thing I thought of when I saw this thread: Bach!

    Seriously, every single time I go to play one of his works, even if it's just a hymn setting that I've played a hundred times before, he never ceases to amaze me. Never.
     
  3. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    Saw the video after making the post—it's the first in the series. It amazes me to find how deep into 12-tone country Bach travelled.

    :righton:
     
  4. George P

    George P Notable Member

    Location:
    NYC
    Thanks for the link to the video, Robin!

    Personally, I am against rating composers in any general, objective sense. I don't believe there are "best" or "top" composers, I find music too subjective a thing for categories such as that.

    Along these lines, do you want us to share our own ten favorite composers list?
     
  5. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    Stars on Thar's

    It's up to you folks out there in Radioland. I rate Bach at the top—did more things well than any other composer ever—after that, it's a free-for all, John Dowland one day, Iannis Xenakis another.

    But sure, list away folks—particularly those of you who don't think of yourselves as the "Classical Music Type":

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits, Abbie & Mitzi: Best Dogs Ever

    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    Ahh, Bach!
     

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  7. George P

    George P Notable Member

    Location:
    NYC
    1. Beethoven
    2. Mozart
    3. Chopin
    4. Schubert
    5. Rachmaninoff
    6. Shostakovich
    7. Schumann
    8. Debussy
    9. JS Bach
    10. Schoenberg
     
  8. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    Location:
    los angeles
    gosh it's so silly to do but it's hard to resist. my list would probably change from day to day but here goes...

    Beethoven
    Mozart
    Bach
    Schubert
    Purcell
    Schoenberg
    Prokofiev
    Messiaen
    Carter
    Puccini

    I'd like to put people like Mussorgsky or Berg on there but they didn't write enough. Schutz? Why Puccini? Isn't he pop music? I guess so but there's the level of control and depth that qualifies, plus the compositional technique is just so exquisite. Cage? Britten? Schumann? Brahms?

    nah, I'll stick with my list for today. Probably forgot someone essential. I'd almost put Mingus on there too. Kinda like Mussorgsky - wrote a lot but so fragmented and messy. But what's there is as good as the other dudes...
     
  9. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    And then there's Ellington . . .

    This is why I put Bach at the top and let the chips fall where they may. There have been many days where Schubert was the [next] greatest, others where it has to be Messiaen, Beethoven isn't going away any time soon . . . :shrug:
     
  10. SBurke

    SBurke Nostalgia Junkie

    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Great video, which I hadn't seen until coming across this thread. It was nice to see Tommasini play the piano and go through those musical examples. It made me think again how much I would love to take an extended course in music theory & history, not just a music theory course, or a music appreciation course, but one that went through the evolution in style in detailed terms.

    I can't put together a 1-10 list, partly because I don't know what to do with most of the twentieth-century composers. Nor can I actually order composers. But, using some vague and undefined weighted average that takes into account personal preference, importance, excellence, whatever, I sometimes think of tiers, maybe, at this moment, as follows:

    Tier 1
    Bach
    Beethoven
    Mozart

    Tier 2
    Haydn
    Schubert
    Wagner
    Verdi
    Schumann

    Tier 3
    Chopin
    Rachmaninoff
    Debussy
    Brahms
    Mahler
     
  11. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    Not exactly chopped liver, you know . . .

    So, uh, what do you do about Josquin dez Prez? Leave him on the sidewalk?
     
  12. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    OK, upon reviewing my catalogue, here are my ten at the top:

    Abt
    Achron
    Adam
    Adams
    Addinsell
    Adler
    Adriaensen
    Ahle
    Ablinger
    Aitkin

    Ah, did I mention that the catalogue is alphabetical by composer? ;)
     
  13. Meh. Several somewhat-overrated names there (said "somewhat" to be fair).

    I'd bump Mozart, Haydn, and Wagner down one tier each, and Brahms, Debussy, and Mahler up a tier.
     
  14. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    Buenos Notches

    I'd take Brahms, Debussy and Mahler up at least a notch, Wagner down at least two and hold on the Mozart and Haydn.

    And a side of mayo for the fries.
     
  15. SBurke

    SBurke Nostalgia Junkie

    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Well, bear in mind I wasn't really trying to be objective.
     
  16. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    This From The Inconstant Music Lover

    That's ok—I was only trying to be surreal with you.
     
  17. SBurke

    SBurke Nostalgia Junkie

    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Don't know. I don't know what to do about Monteverdi or Vivaldi either. I guess though I was sticking with AT's late Baroque cut-off.
     
  18. SBurke

    SBurke Nostalgia Junkie

    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Oh, no worries, I was responding more to the comment above about some on my list being "overrated"; I just forgot to quote. Sure, I overrate some. I probably overrate Rachmaninoff. I doubt all the wise heads think he rates that highly.

    That said, I wasn't aware reasonable minds could differ as to whether Mozart belonged in the top tier. ;) (Especially if you take into account opera, as I did.)
     
  19. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    On the one hand, the output isn't all that large, a lot of his works get co-opted for pop ditties and about four or five of his pieces are overexposed.

    On the other hand, he was a brilliant pianist, which shows in his Concerti and wonderful at "Russian Orthodox" styled sacred choral writing.

    :righton:
     
  20. That wasn't so much directed at you (certainly not personally), as the vast number of people that I think generally overrate Mozart and Haydn (and Wagner too, for that matter).

    I would probably have the three B's in the top tier, Bach, Beethoven, and (probably) Brahms. I don't begrudge Mozart being somewhere in the top three tiers, just not in the first tier.
     
  21. TLMusic

    TLMusic Musician & record collector

    J. S. Bach is tops for me. Right now I'm listening to a wonderful 1958 Holland Philips LP of I Musici performing the Violin Concertos. The C# minor Adagio of BWV 1042 is otherworldly. No other composer could have created that sound.

    Then there are the many other fabulous European art composers. It's impossible for me to rank them against each other. There's J. S. Bach, and the rest follow...
     
  22. SBurke

    SBurke Nostalgia Junkie

    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    No worries, I was happy to have your response.

    I actually think Haydn may be an underrated composer! :) I hesitated to put him in my "second tier." In 2010 I listened more, and more closely, to some of his piano sonatas and symphonies -- I was struck by how melodic and beautiful so many of them are, the piano sonatas in particular, which for me, as a body of work, are probably third only to Beethoven and Schubert. And his chamber music is for me a new frontier . . .

    Brahms I felt was very hard to decide on. His Second Piano Concerto, in B-flat, is my single favorite piece; but there is a lot of Brahms, the piano pieces in particular, I have yet to appreciate fully.
    :cheers:
     
  23. George P

    George P Notable Member

    Location:
    NYC
    I didn't comment at the time, but my list is simply my personal favorites, the ones that I enjoy the most. It was hard to leave out Brahms, Satie, Ligeti, Tchaikovsky, Ravel, etc, but I went with the ones that have brought me the most pleasure. I didn't worry about leaving out any "important" or "essential" composers, as I don't think there is objectivity or dogma in music. We enjoy what we enjoy and no one should tell us otherwise.
     
  24. George P

    George P Notable Member

    Location:
    NYC
    Lupu's late Brahms, Op. 117-119, might be a nice place to start. :wave:
     
  25. HiredGoon

    HiredGoon Forum Resident

    G'day,

    Bach
    LudwigVan
    Muzza
    Chopin
    Alkan

    Lennon/McCartney
    Jagger/Richards
    Dylan
    Neil Finn
    Paul Simon

    --Geoff
     
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