Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

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
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-150151-161 next last
I agree with his first three...but WHERE is Chopin???
1 posted on 01/23/2011 1:38:13 PM PST by Pharmboy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: sitetest

Go at it, boys and girls...


2 posted on 01/23/2011 1:39:13 PM PST by Pharmboy (What always made the state a hell has been that man tried to make it heaven-Hoelderlin)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Borges; sitetest

ping


3 posted on 01/23/2011 1:39:14 PM PST by EveningStar (Karl Marx is not one of our Founding Fathers.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pharmboy

Stravinsky and Bartok, and no Handel? Pathetic list. Vivaldi, C.P.E. Bach and Hayden are all better than Bartok.


4 posted on 01/23/2011 1:42:38 PM PST by montag813 (http://www.facebook.com/StandWithArizona)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pharmboy

JOHN WILLIAMS!
Bah BAH Bahdebah BAH bah Bahdebah BAH bah bahdehbah bummmm.

HHOK.

Beethoven.


5 posted on 01/23/2011 1:44:10 PM PST by dangus ("The floor of Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops" -- St. John Crysostom ("the Golden-Mouthed"))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pharmboy

Sergei Rachmaniov is one of my favorites.


6 posted on 01/23/2011 1:44:28 PM PST by dajeeps
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: montag813

How about P.D.Q. Bach?

Nah, I agree. No Chopin, no Handel, no Vivaldi... Not right!


7 posted on 01/23/2011 1:45:41 PM PST by dangus ("The floor of Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops" -- St. John Crysostom ("the Golden-Mouthed"))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Pharmboy

Regardless of how anyone builds out their own personal list from 4 onwards, clearly, the gold, silver and bronze must always go to Bach, Bethoven, and Mozart. About those 3 (in whatever order) there can really be no debate.

After that, I think it’s fair game.

Chopin is a giant. As is Mahler. As is Liszt.

As for Bartok, I’m not sure he is even the greatest Hungarian composer (see Liszt...), let alone the #10 of all time.

But that’s the beauty of this sort of exercise. And I think the livelier our opinions, the better it is for everyone! (I think this author has done his due dili, for sure).

By the way...has anyone read much of Alex Ross? I really enjoy (am doing so at the moment) his The Rest is Noise. Brilliant writer.


8 posted on 01/23/2011 1:47:32 PM PST by ConservativeDude
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pharmboy

Tchaikovsky... He’s gotta be on that list.


9 posted on 01/23/2011 1:47:56 PM PST by Brilliant
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pharmboy

ahhhhhh .... Bachhhh .....


10 posted on 01/23/2011 1:48:06 PM PST by Optimist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pharmboy

No argument about the top three.

From there, it’s a little dicey. Gotta have Haydn and Handel in there.

Knock off Stravinsky and Bartok and replace them with Haydn and Handel and they may have something.


11 posted on 01/23/2011 1:48:44 PM PST by Skooz (Gabba Gabba we accept you we accept you one of us Gabba Gabba we accept you we accept you one of us)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pharmboy

Bach, Mozart, Beethoven are my top three. Brahms belongs near the top. Chopin also should be on the list.

Stravinsky was a nutjob who did much to kill classical music.

I like Bartok, but I’m not sure he belongs in the top ten. Same with Debussy. Some nice stuff, but pretty wussy.

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


12 posted on 01/23/2011 1:48:53 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Skooz

Just so. I mentioned a few other earlier composers—and Hayden and Handel are certainly two of them.


13 posted on 01/23/2011 1:49:44 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Pharmboy

I’d put Tchaikovsky third and Chopin fourth.


14 posted on 01/23/2011 1:49:48 PM PST by Forgiven_Sinner (Seek you first the kingdom of God, and all things will be given to you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

L’ll Wayne is dah bes compos ever, yo. Ya no wah I be sayin’.


15 posted on 01/23/2011 1:50:40 PM PST by donaldo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Pharmboy

But the “Unfinished” and especially the Ninth Symphony are astonishing. The Ninth paves the way for Bruckner and prefigures Mahler.”

Something about Ludwig van looking down from on high, makes it, er, difficult for any of these fellas (Schubert, Mahler, Bruckner) to make it beyond Nine, and complete a Tenth Symphony.


16 posted on 01/23/2011 1:50:53 PM PST by ConservativeDude
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cicero

How do you come to that conclusion about Stravinsky? He wrote great music for well into his 80s. Do you prefer Schoenberg?


17 posted on 01/23/2011 1:54:54 PM PST by Borges
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Brilliant

And...where is Scriabin????!!!

(Sort of joining in the fun here....but in all seriousness....you don’t get to Stravinsky without Scriabin...which is to say, that none of these guys, not one of them, truly, truly, truly, stands on their own. They are unthinkable without all of their predecessors. Such is the nature of the west, with all of its mammoth cultural achievements).

Re: Tchaikovsky. I would wager that the author would say that he didn’t do anything original in terms of harmony to allow him to be among the greats. The real question seems to be then, what is greatness? Does it have to include radical innovation? The author I think says yes...and that is highly debatable, and would be fascinating.

Change the criteria, and Tchaikovsky clearly makes the cut.


18 posted on 01/23/2011 1:57:19 PM PST by ConservativeDude
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Pharmboy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsp4VCbVvn4&feature=related
Chuck Berry


19 posted on 01/23/2011 2:01:47 PM PST by kbennkc (For those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pharmboy; .30Carbine; 1cewolf; 1rudeboy; 2nd Bn, 11th Mar; 31R1O; ADemocratNoMore; ...
Dear Pharmboy,

Thanks for the ping!

Classical Music Ping List ping!

If you want on or off this list, let me know via FR e-mail.

And JS Bach IS the greatest. ;-)


sitetest

20 posted on 01/23/2011 2:01:58 PM PST by sitetest (If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

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
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

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
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

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])
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Pharmboy

No Handel???


24 posted on 01/23/2011 2:04:17 PM PST by americanophile
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

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
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

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)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

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)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

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.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

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
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ConservativeDude

What about John Lennon?


30 posted on 01/23/2011 2:10:09 PM PST by Brilliant
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

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....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

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])
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

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
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Pharmboy

No Prokofiev or Dvorak or Janacek?


34 posted on 01/23/2011 2:18:42 PM PST by rahbert
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

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
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

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)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Third Person

Hayden=Haydn


37 posted on 01/23/2011 2:21:34 PM PST by Third Person
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

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
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

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.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

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)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: ConservativeDude

Yeah, I guess my point was that this list has a particular bent. You could add Gershwin for example. But he would not fit in well with the style of the other composers. It should say “Top Ten CLASSICAL Composers.”


41 posted on 01/23/2011 2:33:58 PM PST by Brilliant
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: Brilliant

for sure.....


42 posted on 01/23/2011 2:40:59 PM PST by ConservativeDude
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: Pharmboy; JoeProBono; a fool in paradise

43 posted on 01/23/2011 2:41:12 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: americanophile
No Handel???


44 posted on 01/23/2011 2:42:58 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Lauren BaRecall

“This *is* a pathetic Liszt.”

Great pun!

And it is!


45 posted on 01/23/2011 2:45:04 PM PST by devere
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: DEADROCK

Carulli did for the guitar (including working with guitar makers to improve the instrument’s sound), as Mozart did for the pianoforte.


46 posted on 01/23/2011 2:50:45 PM PST by Lauren BaRecall (Eric Cantor is my current congressional heartthrob.[v. Hoyer, re House Schedule, CSpan 1/20/11])
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: Pharmboy

Handel

Then, Bach


47 posted on 01/23/2011 2:52:05 PM PST by Jemian (War Eagle! We are the champions!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Revolting cat!

48 posted on 01/23/2011 2:55:17 PM PST by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet - Visualize)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: Pharmboy

No way. Bartok? Debussy? Stravinsky? I’d replace those with Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Mendelsohn. I’d probably dump Verdi and Wagner as well.


49 posted on 01/23/2011 2:56:29 PM PST by Gapplega
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

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

Well, here's one with a countryman who comes close!

Taken probably in the early 40's with (and by!) Fritz Reiner.

50 posted on 01/23/2011 2:57:37 PM PST by Erasmus (Personal goal: Have a bigger carbon footprint than Tony Robbins.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-150151-161 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson