Skip to comments.The Greatest [Top Ten Composers of all time revealed!]
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, Ive 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 Mozarts orchestral and instrumental music to Beethovens, that would be a pretty even match....
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
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.”
“This *is* a pathetic Liszt.”
And it is!
Carulli did for the guitar (including working with guitar makers to improve the instrument’s sound), as Mozart did for the pianoforte.
No way. Bartok? Debussy? Stravinsky? I’d replace those with Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Mendelsohn. I’d probably dump Verdi and Wagner as well.
Well, here's one with a countryman who comes close!
Taken probably in the early 40's with (and by!) Fritz Reiner.
I see your Scriabin, and raise you one Buxtehude...
Without Bach there’s no Boston. I have three issues with the list; Stravinsky, Bartok and Verdi perhaps I wouldn’t have here and I’d surely make room for Piotr Illich.
Where’s “Papa” Haydn?
Yeah...I know...the ones left off that seem to get the most support here are Haydn, Handel, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Liszt and Mahler.
I must confess that you have one upped me! I defer to your greater expertise!
(I will, however, run down Buxtehude....)
I guess it all depends on what you consider to be "the classics". =)
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