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The Greatest [Top Ten Composers of all time revealed!]
NY Times Blog ^ | January 21, 2011 | ANTHONY TOMMASINI

Posted on 01/23/2011 1:38:09 PM PST by Pharmboy

HERE goes. This article completes my two-week project to select the top 10 classical music composers in history, not including those still with us.

Left, 1. Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). From top left, 2. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), 3. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 — 91). 4. Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828). From middle left, 5. Claude Achille Debussy (1862 — 1918), 6. Igor Stravinsky (1882 — 1971), 7. Johannes Brahms (1833 — 97). From bottom left, 8. Giuseppe Verdi (1813 — 1901), 9. Richard Wagner (1813 — 83), 10. Bela Bartok (1881 — 1945).

I am about to reveal my list, though as those who have been with me on this quest already know, I’ve dropped hints... And the winner, the all-time great, is ... Bach!

My top spot goes to Bach, for his matchless combination of masterly musical engineering (as one reader put it) and profound expressivity. Since writing about Bach in the first article of this series I have been thinking more about the perception that he was considered old-fashioned in his day. Haydn was 18 when Bach died, in 1750, and Classicism was stirring. Bach was surely aware of the new trends. Yet he reacted by digging deeper into his way of doing things. In his austerely beautiful “Art of Fugue,” left incomplete at his death, Bach reduced complex counterpoint to its bare essentials, not even indicating the instrument (or instruments) for which these works were composed.

On his own terms he could be plenty modern. Though Bach never wrote an opera, he demonstrated visceral flair for drama in his sacred choral works...

The obvious candidates for the second and third slots are Mozart and Beethoven. If you were to compare just Mozart’s orchestral and instrumental music to Beethoven’s, that would be a pretty even match....

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Music/Entertainment
KEYWORDS: bach; beethoven; mozart
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To: Cicero

I’d certainly stick Vivaldi in there, and a few other earlier composers, while axing Stravinsky”

Hmmmmmm.....I suppose this is a conservative website, after all.

But, wow, that’s ....an ...interesting substitution!


21 posted on 01/23/2011 2:02:27 PM PST by ConservativeDude
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To: Pharmboy

Bach’s music is academic. It can be quite revealing if you are taking it apart note by note and using it for study.. but not much else in terms of listening enjoyment. Just my opinion. But as a composer, Mozart has no equal. There’s Mozart, and there’s everybody else.


22 posted on 01/23/2011 2:02:35 PM PST by libh8er
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To: montag813

I’m with you. Where is Handel?

Mozart should be first. And where is Rossini? This *is* a pathetic Liszt. (Where is Franz?)


23 posted on 01/23/2011 2:02:56 PM PST by Lauren BaRecall (Eric Cantor is my current congressional heartthrob.[v. Hoyer, re House Schedule, CSpan 1/20/11])
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To: Pharmboy

No Handel???


24 posted on 01/23/2011 2:04:17 PM PST by americanophile
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To: libh8er

With exceptions of course, such as the Partita no 3.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waxat-_tRH8


25 posted on 01/23/2011 2:05:05 PM PST by libh8er
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To: Brilliant
Tchaikovsky... He’s gotta be on that list.

Agree.....and Handel.

A personal favourite of mine Felix Mendehlsson.....but probably not innovative enough to make the top ten.

26 posted on 01/23/2011 2:05:51 PM PST by ScaniaBoy (Part of the Right Wing Research & Attack Machine)
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To: Pharmboy
Best guitar composers:
1. Bach.
2. Page.
27 posted on 01/23/2011 2:06:56 PM PST by deadrock (Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. Philo)
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To: Pharmboy

I am just relieved the VERDI is on the list. I am surprised Tchaikovsky is not. He did it all. Opera, ballet, orchestra, piano. His Nutcracker is some of the greatest music ever written. Too sentimental, I guess.


28 posted on 01/23/2011 2:08:39 PM PST by Captain Jack Aubrey (There's not a moment to lose.)
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To: Pharmboy

I’d toss Wagner off the list and put Mahler on. Toss Stravinsky and Bartok off and replace with Handel and Haydn.


29 posted on 01/23/2011 2:09:00 PM PST by InternetTuffGuy
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To: ConservativeDude

What about John Lennon?


30 posted on 01/23/2011 2:10:09 PM PST by Brilliant
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To: Pharmboy

Like comparing apples, oranges, star fruit, pineapple, and prunes ugh.. plums.. and maybe raisins or grapes..


31 posted on 01/23/2011 2:10:40 PM PST by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole....)
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To: DEADROCK

Then you must have never heard Fernandino Carulli.


32 posted on 01/23/2011 2:12:33 PM PST by Lauren BaRecall (Eric Cantor is my current congressional heartthrob.[v. Hoyer, re House Schedule, CSpan 1/20/11])
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To: ConservativeDude

All:

The video accompanying this article is very good...and only 7 minutes long. Very well worth watching!


33 posted on 01/23/2011 2:15:11 PM PST by ConservativeDude
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To: Pharmboy

No Prokofiev or Dvorak or Janacek?


34 posted on 01/23/2011 2:18:42 PM PST by rahbert
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To: Pharmboy

No Hayden, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, or Schumann? This list is a joke.

Bartok and Debussy make it? Please.


35 posted on 01/23/2011 2:19:46 PM PST by Third Person
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To: Lauren BaRecall

Nothing new. Brilliant, but nothing new.


36 posted on 01/23/2011 2:20:41 PM PST by deadrock (Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. Philo)
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To: Third Person

Hayden=Haydn


37 posted on 01/23/2011 2:21:34 PM PST by Third Person
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To: Brilliant

Can Lennon really stand on his own...without McCartney and George Martin?


38 posted on 01/23/2011 2:24:15 PM PST by ConservativeDude
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To: Pharmboy

I never saw a picture of Bartok. Funny, I expected him to look like Bela Lugosi.


39 posted on 01/23/2011 2:29:41 PM PST by eCSMaster (My memory's not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be.)
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To: Brilliant
You beat me to his mention. He should be in the top 10 or at the very least top 15, leaving out Bartok, Stravinsky and other 20th Century composers.
40 posted on 01/23/2011 2:30:04 PM PST by zerosix (native sunflower)
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