90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Tommasini’s Top-10 Classical Composers – See the List

New York Times music critic Anthony Tommasini has ranked the greatest classical composers of all time. We listen, and ask how.

Russian composer Igor Stravinsky poses in Boston Jan. 12, 1944. (AP)

Anthony Tommasini is as refined and delicately tuned and nuanced a music critic as you will ever find.

But the chief classical music critic for the New York Times had a rough idea: to rank the greatest classical music composers of the age; to take the geniuses of opera, symphony, sonata – and give us the same kind of top ten list we make for Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, Pit Bull, T-Pain.

Readers responded:  “stupid, vulgar, insane.” He did it anyway. And it’s pretty interesting. Here’s a clue:  Bach rocks.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guest:

Anthony Tommasini, classical music critic for the New York Times. Read his article, “The Greatest,” and watch his videos on Bach, Beethoven, and more.

Tommasini’s list:

1. Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

2. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

3. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 91)

4. Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828)

5. Claude Achille Debussy (1862 – 1918)

6. Igor Stravinsky (1882 – 1971)

7. Johannes Brahms (1833 – 97)

8. Giuseppe Verdi (1813 – 1901)

9. Richard Wagner (1813 – 83)

10. Bela Bartok (1881 – 1945)

Here’s On Point’s “playlist” for this show. This is music that host Tom Ashbrook, guest Anthony Tommasini, and producer Pien Huang have cued up in coordination — we try to get to them all:

Music for “Top 10 Composers” with A. Tommasini

Billboard:  BEETHOVEN‘s 6 Bagatelles, Op.126: 1. Andante Con Moto

Script: MOZART’s Overture, “The Marriage of Figaro.”  By the Vienna Philharmoniker & Claudio Abbado.

A Segment

BACH’s Prelude & Fugue No. 9 In E Major, BWV 854: Prelude, by Canadian pianist Glenn Gould

BARTOK’s String Quartet Number Three, First Movement: BB 93.  Performed by Amati Quartet (1995)

WAGNER’s Prelude to Die Walküre, Preformed by the Kassel State Theatre Orchestra (Roberto Paternostro, conductor, 2007)

B Segment

VERDI’s Falstaff, Act One, Scene One: Falstaff! Olà! (Dr. Caio/Falstaff/Bardolfo/Pistola)

BRAHMS’s Second Piano Concerto in B Flat Major, First Movement, Op. 83.  Performed by the Asturias Symphony Orchestra; with Jorge Federico Osorio (piano), Vladimir Atapin (cello), and Maximiano Valdes (conductor) (2003)

STRAVINSKY’s Symphony of Psalms, Movement Three (Alleluia).  Performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra; with Igor Stravinsky (conductor, 1965).

DEBUSSY’s La Terrasse des Audiences du Claire de Lune

DEBUSSY’s Claire de Lune, performed by the Spanish pianist Joaquín Achúcarro.

C Segment

SCHUBERT’s “Im Dorfe” from the Winterreise Song Cycle: Opus 89, D. 911.  Performed by Ronald Dowd, tenor & John Winther, piano (1991)

MOZART’s “Jupiter” Symphony #41 In C, K 551, “Jupiter” – 2. Andante Cantabile.  By Claudio Abbado & the London Symphony Orchestra.

BEETHOVEN’s String Quartet Number Twelve in E Flat Major, First Movement: Opus 127, Performed by the Berlin Philharmonia Quartet (1997).

BACH’s Mass in B Minor, BWV 232 – Kyrie: Kyrie Eleison (opening).

BACH’s Mass in B Minor, BWV 232 – Credo: Et Expecto.  Performed by the Netherlands Chamber Choir and the Orchestra of the 18th Century, conducted by Frans Bruggen.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 1, 2014
Pro-democracy protesters hold umbrellas under heavy rain in a main street near the government headquarters in Hong Kong late Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. The protesters demanded that Hong Kong's top leader meet with them on Tuesday and threatened wider actions if he did not, after he said China would not budge in its decision to limit voting reforms in the Asian financial hub. (AP)

China, democracy and Hong Kong. They’re in the streets in Hong Kong with their “Umbrella Revolution.” What now?

Oct 1, 2014
Actress Eva Longoria, center, Henry R. Munoz III, co-founder of the Latino Victory Project, left, and Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, are seated at an event launching The Latino Victory Project, a Latino political action committee, at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, May 5, 2014. (AP)

Latino America. It is very large and growing very fast. How will it move the country?

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 30, 2014
In this Jan. 15, 2013, photo, Rosser Pryor, Co-owner and President of Factory Automation Systems, examines a new high-performance industrial robot at the company's Atlanta facility.  (AP)

Nicholas Carr says automation, all over, is turning us into zombies. Out of touch with the world. He’s with us.

 
Sep 30, 2014
St. Louis county police officers advance on protestors trying to shut down Interstate 70 in Berkeley, Mo. on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014 near the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo. where Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year old was shot and killed by a white police officer on Aug. 9. (AP)

Police shootings, cop culture, body cameras. And the big debate over how to protect the public and the police.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Transcript: Peter Thiel Wants Us All To Go From ‘Zero To One’
Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

Entrepreneur Peter Thiel on innovation, technological failure and humanity’s uncertain future.

More »
Comment
 
Transcript: Sexual Violence Under ISIS Control
Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

A transcript from our September 25, 2014 conversation on the Islamic State and sexual violence.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: September 26, 2014
Friday, Sep 26, 2014

All of you love to listen to old broadcasts when we play them, and Taylor Swift loves the Internet.

More »
Comment