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Top 10 Classical Composers (NYT, Tommasini)

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  • Top 10 Classical Composers (NYT, Tommasini)

    Top 10 Classical Composers

    NYT The Greatest
    Published: January 21, 2011
    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.
    The argument, laid out in a series of articles, online videos and blog posts, was enlivened by the more than 1,500 informed, challenging, passionate and inspiring comments from readers of The New York Times.
    As often as I could, I answered direct questions online and jumped into the discussion.
    NYT - The Greatest
    Published: January 7, 2011
    So if you were to try to compile a list of the 10 greatest composers in history, how would you go about it?
    For me the resulting list would not be the point.
    But the process of coming up with such a list might be clarifying and instructive, as well as exasperating and fun.

    What criteria might you apply?
    Would a composer’s influence and popularity factor in?
    Schoenberg was arguably the most influential composer of the 20th century.
    That he pushed tonality past the brink and devised a technique to supersede it completely shook up the music of the era.
    Every composer in his wake had to come to terms with Schoenberg.
    But on the basis of his actual pieces, many of which excite and move me, does he make the Top 10?

    What about a composer whose range was narrow but whose music was astonishing? Chopin, a staggering genius, wrote almost exclusively for the piano.
    And what do you do with opera? Is that a separate thing entirely? - Who are the 10 greatest classical-music composers of all time? You decide
    By Donald Rosenberg, The Plain Dealer
    Published: Sunday, January 30, 2011, 6:00 AM
    That's what happened in a rather big way recently when Anthony Tommasini, chief music critic of The New York Times, spent two weeks undertaking the impossible but intriguing mission of naming the 10 greatest classical-music composers of all time.

    Several thousand Times readers weighed in online as Tommasini served as thoughtful guide -- in articles, blogs and videos -- through the tricky process of defining salient traits of key composers, putting them in musical and historical context, and hinting about who might appear on the final list. Nearly 900 more readers followed suit once the greats were revealed.
    Tommasini's order of ranking:
    1. Bach
    2. Beethoven
    3. Mozart
    4. Schubert
    5. Debussy
    6. Stravinsky
    7. Brahms
    8. Verdi
    9. Wagner
    10. Bartok
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  • #2
    I think Haydn's getting the shaft here no matter what criteria this guy was using.


    • #3
      I'd put Handel ahead of Haydn.

      I only recently discovered Schuberts string quartets, very nice indeed.
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