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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.

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  • Miguel

    I would have included Mahler rather than Bartók and why Schubert and not Brahms?

    The top three or four names are obvious the rest is based on merely on personal preference.

  • Ann, Barrington, RI

    I’d like to nominate a name you forgot: Duke Ellington — AMERICA’s Classical Composer!

    Thanks so much!

  • http://www.bookofzo.blogspot.com Joshua Hendrickson, Talent OR

    Great composers?

    My top two are Mozart followed closely by Beethoven. Predictable, sure; so sue me. I love them dearly. Both geniuses, but of entirely different kinds. Mozart’s final Requiem and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony orbit each other at the pinnacle of my spirit.

    I’m not so fond of Bach. An undeniable genius, and influential as hell, but in all my years of listening to and collecting classical music (my heyday was during my teen years, back in the eighties), Bach never really grabbed my ear.

    Verdi and Grieg are way up there for me, along with Berlioz, Mussorgsky, and Saint-Saens. I also like Tchaikovsky even if he’s not supposedly one of the greatest.

    In this last century, Stravinsky and Ligeti are my favorites; I know of no more eerie and haunting piece of music than that Ligeti requiem that featured so prominently in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    Also, even though he’s out of the category, I would nominate John Williams; his film scores are just sensational. (Imagine STAR WARS with a disco soundtrack! George Lucas was going to go with that until Steven Spielberg pointed him in Williams’ direction.)

  • Zeno

    Shostakovich isn’t on the list? Those other guys had it easy, writing in their warm cozy music rooms, Shostakovich was under threat of execution when he was composing. That alone has great merit.

    Shostakovich: Symphony No.5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogJFXqYEYd8

  • Ann, Barrington, RI

    Joshua,

    Not Bach, even considering his B Minor Mass, especially the Kyrie Eleison???
    (I can’t believe it’s on You Tube, but there it is!)

    RE: Verdi — would you consider to Puccini?
    RE: John Williams — would you consider Ennio Morricone?

  • George Holoch

    I’d second the vote for Shostakovich. His string quartets, preludes and fugues, and piano trios are haunting.

    Hinesburg, VT

  • Brett

    I like the peasant influences Dvorak used, as well as Mussorgsky. I’ve always been fond of Boccherini’s Galante approach. Then there’s Tchaikovsky; Rimsky-Korsakov is another favorite…so many favorites. I can only think in terms of my favorites and not the greatest, most important/influencial. I think that, within each era, many of the composers influenced their era/style/each other so much. One could look at each era chronologically to get a sense of influence and that would paint a not inaccurate picture of how one composer was influenced by another, but like the way all influences happen, this approach doesn’t quite tell the whole story. Which style/composer predominantly stands out as an enduring influence I guess is what Tommasini’s list is getting at.

  • John

    Where’s Vivaldi?

  • http://www.tedauch.com Ted Auch

    What no Aaron Copeland? Stravinsky?
    I second (or third or fourth!) Mahler.
    Rachmaninoff as well

  • Matt

    Although I adore Schubert, his placing him at number four is indefensible. Needless to say, WAGNER was a much greater composer (a colossal genius!) who deserves to be placed fourth followed by Debussy at fifth. And sorry, but this Bela (Bartok) doesn’t ring, not for the precious tenth spot, anyway.

    Greatness has to involve impact on music in general and on untold numbers of listeners over time. If Bartok had never composed, who would know the difference? What impact did he have on anything outside dedicated musicians who care to explore the confines of expression? And Stravinsky. He influenced music and its evolution, but what impact did he have on a small sub-set of music lovers who actually want to listen to his specialized expression?

    To pick Bartok as greater than Chopin is utterly absurd. I just don’t see by what measure Bartok or could be rated as top-ten great. I think Tommasini and the average reader is picking his/her favorites, not evaluating greatness as this series claims. So who should take Bartok’s place? Either Mahler or Schoenberg both of whom dwarf him in inspiration and output.

    I think it’s fun and intellectually stimulating to consider “greatness” as a measure of these composers. But that measuring stick is more objective than most people can adhere to — even Mr Tommasini! I will admit that at times I felt rather turned off by this article. His reasoning seemed, frankly, trite and superficial. If I’m going to read an NY Times article about what made the masters great, I want it to go a little deeper than a Wikipedia article would

  • Jeff Bowden

    1) Beethoven
    2) Mozart
    3) Mendelssohn
    4) Chopin
    5) Bach

  • Matt

    Dear On Point editors:

    The great Richard Wagner — a man who wrote some of the richest and most beautiful music of all time — deserves to have his photo appear above, not Stravinsky.

  • Brett

    I knew this list would cause controversy! I move that it be made into a top twenty! Classical music lovers revolt!!! …Seriously, though, it seems Mr. Tommasini merely put the composers in chronological order and not in order of importance.

    I would like to see more posts from women on today’s forum–thanks Ann!

  • Monica

    Unfortunately, my station doesn’t broadcast the program until this evening, but please include Pärt & Prokofieff.

  • Sasha Drugikh

    I think the list should include a spot for Alexander Scriabin ( 1872 – 1915 ) He wrote music, mostly for piano, that was extremely innovative and independent, a creative third way between Rakhmaninov’s conservatism and Schoenberg’s serialism. And let’s not underestimate his influence: the Soviet school, the Symbolist school, and, I’d argue, much of Hollywood score-work. ( a profession with many Russian emigre Jews ) Additionally, the fact that Scriabin and Debussy immediately preceded the death of Western music leads to a bias against these later artists, although your critic probably hasn’t suffered here, judging by his inclusion of Bartok.

    I think when you really compare Scriabin’s musical progress with Stravinskij’s, Number 6 belongs to the former.

  • http://filmgirl.blogspot.com Kara from Washington, DC

    It just seems like an odd idea to include composers from such different eras – Bach is as far removed from somebody like Wagner as Wagner is from Lady Gaga. What is the criteria for “classical” music in this list? It certainly isn’t the “classical era” which is from 1750 to 1830.

    You may as well add Steve Reich and Frank Zappa to the list.

  • http://filmigirl.blogspot.com Kara from Washington, DC

    Oops – typed my own website address wrong. Fixed it.

    And I’ll add my own favorite composer – RD Burman.

  • Philippe from Boston

    WCRB did something similar about 25 years ago….people had to snail mail in their responses. I remember listening to the results one weekend with my Dad. The DJ said something to the effect of:

    “One listener wrote in to say #1 Mozart, #2 Mozart, #3 Mozart, #4-10 Mozart.”

    My Dad, who was the most knowledgeable classical music enthusiast I have ever met said: “Hmmm…he’s probably right.”

  • geffe

    Where is Duke Ellington! Where is Charlie Mingus, how about Frank Zappa. I know I’m getting personal.

    No Arron Copland? Shostakovich is missing and he also gets my vote.

    Miguel, Brahms is number 7.

  • Richard

    The top three are so clear cut that the question doesn’t become interesting until number 4. But Schubert? Of all the classical composers, he is unique in being the only one I like less and less as time goes by.

    I’d like to see Haydn on the list and possibly Mendelssohn. And what about the composers before Bach? Palestrina, Monteverdi, Josquin?

  • Ann, Barrington, RI

    Not to PUSH my point ….. but ….

    from what Mr. Tommasini just said about WHY Bach AND Bartok are on the list, I KNOW that Duke Ellington belongs on the it!!!!

    Thanks again!

  • Christian

    Beethoven should be number one. Like other towering figures unique to that era, he paved the way for the modern world.

    Beethoven is to music as Hagel is to philosophy and political thought.

    In more current terms, Beethoven is to classical music as the Beatles are to rock and roll.

  • Michael

    Thanks for including Debussy! Where does Chopin rate?

  • Al Pincince

    In the first article in the series, Mr. Tommassini was concerned that four composers who wrote in Vienna from 1750 to 1825 were candidates. But, for the top ten, he selected three who were born within 17 months (Bartok, Stravinsky, and Debussy).

  • Bob from Boston

    I am reminded about the plague at Boston Symphony Hall which reads “Beethoven”. I am reminded that there was no agreement on what composers should be listed except Beethoven which was agreed to be the composer whose popularity would remain unchanged.

  • M. Jean from Richmond, Va

    During my college years in the early 80′s, I enjoyed practicing Stravinsky’s Three Pieces for Clarinet with in all it’s high pitched disonance in an attempt to annoy the punk rock band practicing next door.

  • Rick Solie

    We used to play this game in graduate school–lots of fun. The top two are spot on, but so different. Sebastian Bach’s music channels the Universe (or God’s Creation, if you will), while Mozart’s encompasses all it means to be human. Should be a tie. And please mention Handel, whose technical mastery served the most profound and generous appreciation of the human spirit. My number three, for what it’s worth.

  • Rob from Boston

    Can’t help but wonder what Tony’s list would have been 10 or 20 years back and it may change in the future. Mine would have looked different back then. Now my list would contain Handel, and Bach at #1, but not when I was younger.

    Welcome back to Boston by the way Tony. You’ve been missed.

  • Emilio Santini

    The fact is I am not against the list but I have some questions.
    As you mention at the beginning of your conversation you talk about game. WHAT are the rules of the game and , since you are setting them are you playing solitaire?
    If all have and strength and shortcoming, how do you weigh them?
    I congratulate with you for the # of comments you received good marketing.
    I will not go to the NY Time site and read your ads.
    Critics are just failed artist.
    Thanks for your time Emilio

  • Todd

    Half of those on Tommasini’s list would rank on my list of WORST (or, perhaps, the most overrated) composers. But, I agree wholeheartedly with the placement of the other half.

    Edvard Grieg gets my vote for the most underrated composer.

  • ymc from cambridge (and a woman)

    I enjoyed this series immensely while it was going on at the Times, so yay!

    Bartok and Debussy? Really?! I cannot see how they beat out Mahler. Or Haydn. (And my favorites are Chopin and the Russian romantics, so I’m trying not to be TOO subjective here).

  • Alex

    He forgot Tschaikovskiy and Shostakovich. I think Mozart is the greatest, though.

  • Ann, Barrington, RI

    Bob (Feb 2, 11:24),
    From the contention and sometimes snobbery that this kind of exercise causes, you may be right, there MAY have been a “plague” that overtook Boston Symphony Hall!!

    (P.S., I’m SURE your fingers just slipped, we ALL make typos! — I DO apologize for using YOUR typo to make MY attempt at a joke!)

  • Derek from Salem, MA

    How about a list of top classical pieces, next? I must nominate the “Devil’s Trill” for inclusion in the top five!

  • Ellen

    When I read of Tommasini’s list in the Times, I groaned and rolled my eyes. I am not fond of the project itself but I do think that anything that generates popular discussion about “Classical” music is a good thing.

  • Charlie Mc of Scituate, Ma

    Tom: I agree with Mike’s objection as to why we even try to make a hierarchy of composers. It is similar to selecting the five most beautiful stars in the night time sky. It is the width and breadth and infinity of the cosmos as a whole that evokes our response of contemplative awe. Just one of those stars, the solitary Symphony in D minor by Cesar Franck, is my particular Sirius.

  • Mary M

    Bartok instead of Mahler: (I like to be able to listen to my music.. and the Bartok piece made me want to go out and murder someone..That was awful!! All I ask of my music is that ti not be dissonant and discordant and that you be able to put it on the piano.. That’s why I don’t consider rap and hip hop music..

  • A Listener

    I’m wondering if these great composers ever published anything considered bad? Or is everything they have published great?

  • Sue Cornwall

    Did you consider composers earlier than Bach? Guillame DuFay, Josquin DesPres were very influential and innovative. 15th century composers used complex rhythms and counter rhythmns to express spiritual and emotional elements. Hildegarde von Bingen’s music was way ahead of her time .. doesn’t appear again until Monteverde .. hundreds of years later. What do you think of the early composers?

  • Nancy

    Wonderful show … Thanks so much…

  • Mary

    What was Mr. Tommasini’s more tangible criteria for ranking the composers? Or was it more/mostly instinctual? How much did readers’ choices weigh for the final ranking? Thank you.
    Mary, Boston

  • Peg

    My mother was a concert organist. One Thanksgiving dinner, a friend of ours who was a talented blues guitarist was holding forth about how he felt every song had already been written, every solo line had already been played. He was getting bored. I asked my mother if she ever got bored. “No,” she said, and paused a beat. “There’s always Bach.”

  • Alan Capewell

    What Luck! I have a work-at-home day, and get to listen to this show as I type meeting minutes….

  • Armand Qualliotine

    Tommasi is not a “great” critic, pianist or anything musical.
    He just is a person who has the knowledge of a undergraduate music student; with an averadge GPA.

  • Jackson Braider

    Mr. Tomassini: Thank you for *NOT* including Chopin in your list. I’ve heard all too often his music butchered by piano enthusiasts and yet he made his living cranking out pieces for the masses to store in their piano benches. In the end, he represents a mismatch between his real medium (mass produced musical score) and his content (high drama).

    Otherwise, I would argue that opera deserves its own top ten — a bit like comparing poets and novelists. Had you stuck to instrumental composers, who would have been included? And why only ten — that’s just so metric!

  • http://www.brianclague.com Brian Clague

    Tony is obviously not truly conversant with chamber music. Haydn, working in isolation, diligently experimented until arriving at the forms he sought, single-handedly created the Sonata-Allegro form, the Classical style, and invented the String Quartet. Amongst the 83 string quartets, see Opus 9, where he methodically pairs up each combination of duets and trios in order to equalize the voices; see also Opus 20 where he demonstrates early mastery of the the string quartet in a way that only Mozart and Beethoven ever equaled. Haydn gave birth to an entire period of music is based, and created forms still in use today.

    • Harry Arthur

      Haydn would be 3 or 4 my list of greatest composers. Mozart himself considered Haydn his only contemporary equal. I think your argument is mainly musicological. His music itself is the justification. If he had written only Die Schöpfung it would earn him a place on the list. It’s quite backward looking in its form except for the modern sounding and other-worldly
      introduction; but then it was written by a genius to represent “ohne Form und Leere”. On my personal list FJH is #1!

  • Gemli from Boston

    Any plans for a worst-10 list? Can Mr. Tommasini mention any composers who he things might have an unearned reputation?

  • Todd

    I think Tommasini’s list causes so much disagreement because he seems to use a composer’s historical influence as his main measure of assigning greatness. However, influence and greatness are NOT interchangeable as equivalents.

  • Dan

    Debussy’s Claire de Lune moves me like no other piece of music. I’ve never heard anything so beautiful, but somehow sad. It was my great-grandmother’s favorite piece of music and it was played at her funeral. It brings a tear to my eye whenever I hear it.

  • http://www.brianclague.com Brian Clague

    correction – my last sentence should read:

    Haydn gave birth to an entire period of music, and created forms still in use today.

    Perhaps, as a music critic, Tony has spent a little too much time hearing orchestral music and not enough time attending smaller events, such as chamber music.

  • David in Wellesley, Mass.

    How strange and congealed piano music sounds with your engineer’s automatic level control! The natural decay of every note, which is essential to piano sound, is negated, canceled, and bizarrely boosted by The Grezt Equalizer. At least you’ve got company: Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Fresh Air…

  • David in Wellesley, Mass.

    Beethoven: the fierce urgency of now.

  • Isernia

    Tommasini is nothing but an elitist and technical in his “analysis”. You can bet that any composer so POPULAR as to have fans that support large audience attendance at MOSTLY MOZART (not # 1 on this list) or VIVALDI or CHOPIN concerts throughout the US, will not be viewed as the very best.

    Buffalo, NY

  • Stef

    In the contest for the Best,held in the city of Athens of La-La Land,
    the winner is: … and the shopkeeper’s list goes on.
    The winner will get a FREE trip to… posthumously.

    “Everything begins and ends with Bach”declares the
    expert from the great,oh la la,NYT.
    How about…Dietrich Buxtehude.Bach walks 400 kms. to
    Lubeck to pay his respect and to “learn one thing and another
    from his art “.So,maybe Bach did not come from nowhere;nothing
    comes from that place,except perhaps a “winners” list.

  • http://klooze@mindspring.com Karen Looze

    I am always interested in you political first hours but will often turn off the second hour. Not today!

    While I certainly would nominate Mahler, the Brahms selection brought me to tears, as usual. Thank you so much for brightening another day of cabin fever.

  • Micaela

    The important thing about this list is the dialogue and the listening anew it engenders. Thank you for that.

    Micaela
    Johnson, Vermont

  • Mickey Coburn

    So much of this is subjective. I couldn’t do without Mahler and Schumann and Mendelssohn. And Puccini! So your exercise was just that; and being ornery and home because of the weather — I will listen to my guys the rest of the afternoon.

  • John

    I might have put the top five in a different order and may have done a couple of substitutions in the bottom five. But I can’t argue with Bach at #1.

    They say man started making music to compete with the birds. When I first heard the Brandenburgs I thought, and still think, that no one has ever come closer.

    I have a good classical collection and listen to classical all the time but I listen to Bach and Mozart more often than the rest. I have a fondness for the Russians but would have included Tchaikovsky rather than Stravinsky.

    John, Vermont

  • Mary M

    Let me explain what I mean a little further. Classical music for a long time was very listenable to… beautiful melodies, structure, orchestration and harmonics, etc., etc. then it took a serious and I would argue turn or deviation. Around the turn of the century with people like Bartok and Berg. It went atonal… very interesting in an intellectual sense, but that’s all,. I remember sitting in a concert at the Boston Symphony. Part of the music was traditlional classical music. Part of it was an atonal John Corigliano piece. I politely sat there listening even though I didn’t like the piece. A sizable portion of the audience, however didn’t. They walked out. I think that’s why classical music fell from favor. Fail to produce something that has a melody at least until recently and you loose the audience. Who pay for the tickets.. Which keep orchestras and symphonies afloat and solvent..

  • Adele Roof

    First off, if you’re going to make lists, On Point is my favorite radio program of all time! Tom is the perfect moderator: unbiased, well-informed, intelligent, articulate and asks his guests just the questions I would ask to take the discussion to a deeper level. I just love the show!I’m amazed that you can get together such high level commentators so quickly after some crisis. I know I can always tune in after a big event and you will have a show that addresses that situation. I go to a 10:15 yoga class on Mondays and Wednesdays and have found certain shows so compelling, that I have skipped class to listen! So thank you Tom, for a wonderful and diverse show. I only caught the last half of today’s show (that yoga class, again). I was pleased to see that an expert had put Beethoven above Mozart, who I had gotten so tired of playing his piano sonatas years ago. However, where was Rachmaninoff? His first two piano concertos are miraculous pieces of music. So, I agree with someone above who said that after the first two or three on the list, it does boil down to personal taste.

  • Diane E. Scola

    Wonderful, wonderful program!

  • Joy

    I’m not sure he’s top 10 ever, but I really, really love Berlioz. The strings as the horse’s click-clacking as Faust races to hell… Sigh. Awesome stuff.

  • Ann, Barrington, RI

    “All I ask of my music is that ti not be dissonant and discordant”
    Posted by Mary M, on February 2nd, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    Mary, I wonder if you might agree with me, because I agree with you WHEN dissonance and discordancy goes on and on and on. There ARE times, tho, when I LOVE dissonance; HOWEVER, I ONLY love it in small amounts when it is actually asked to “do some musical WORK”! For me (and by this, I mean “for my TASTE” in these matters), I like dissonance a LOT when it BRIDGES between other parts that are “sweeter”, or perhaps one side “sweet”, and another side that is “harsh”.

    I have to acknowledge the EXPRESSIVENESS, the aesthetics, of longer-ranging dissonance; however, I only wind up ACKNOWLEDGING the aesthetics, I seldom wind up being able to listen over & over until I hear & appreciate more — altho I did try to learn to like some of those HEAVY doses of dissonance, during my twenties, to “improve” my own musical awareness. Now, especially with iTunes & NPR’s extraordinary musical websites, I say, “nope”, I’m gonna find something I like and can STILL learn from! And, often those pieces have just an expressive “smidge” of dissonance.

    Thanks for creating the phrase that helped me think about my own take on this!

  • Ann, Barrington, RI

    RE: Adele Roof, on February 2nd, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    Adele!!!

    Thank you for your wonderful thoughts about this show! You said so beautifully what I find to be true, as well! This show has truly E X P A N D E D my awareness of so many topics!!

  • Ann, Barrington, RI

    A few more thoughts…

    1) If you were hearing my voice, rather than reading my words, you’d easily see that I’m not being insistent, but enthusiastic. SO, when I talk about Duke Ellington again it is to tell anyone who might not know about it, about the NPR “sub-website” called “JAZZ PROFILES”. It is NOT the same as “Jazz Interviews” or “A Blog Supreme”, and I only found it by accident the other day. There are about SIX programs about Duke Ellington, and many programs about other jazz greats. The programs include music, recorded interviews with the musicians and those who played with them, and overview voice-over by experts on the artists’ lives and musical means. I found it EASIEST to get to the site AGAIN, once I’d found it the first time, by going to Google with: Musician’s name, Jazz Profiles, NPR. Otherwise, SOME of the NPR title links do NOT wind up at Jazz Profiles (one link does, but it is somewhat elusive — at least for how MY memory works).

    2) It is SO COOL to see the musical knowledge and passion of so many of the regular posters who usually comment about heavy-duty political matters! That impression stands on its own!; yet it ALSO makes me think, once again, that the arts (in all forms) are, arguably, the MOST fundamental means of developing a learning style for ALL topics!

  • Brett

    As an intellectual exercise it seems just that and of little value. It was a wonderful show, however (thanks, On Point!), and Mr. Tommasini’s passion (yet still having an ability to not take himself too seriously, admitting to some subjectivity and personal preference) is unmistakable and undeniable.

    I agree with the caller who said publications like to put the arts and culture into ranking lists to promote engagement from their readership. The idea makes for a good conversation starter and, for one good reason, prompts a desire in me to re-explore and re-examine much of my Classical music collection.

    I also liked hearing from the flute player caller and could relate to what he was saying about how exploring certain pieces and learning to play them gives one a deeper appreciation and a desire to listen further. When I was 17 my girlfriend’s brother, who was a fine violinist and pianist (in addition to being a great guitarist), decided to adapt some of Bach’s Inventions to guitar (they were originally written for harpsichord, I believe). Anyway, he and I worked out the parts on duet guitars, and I had such love and joy for that exercise. I believe Bach put them together as exercises for his students…the experience prompted me to explore Bach’s music more than just in passing. Soon after, I began reading about his Cello suites and the story of Pablo Casals finding Grutzmacher’s arrangements for them in a thrift store in Spain when he was just barely a teenager. I made some attempt to work some of them out on guitar and had a lot of fun doing so…

    A couple of the callers touched on another aspect of analyzing music and whether such analyses detract from the gestalt of it all…For me, the more I learn about music the more I can see deeper into it and enhance my experience. Doing so has never interfered with my ability to experience it on a visceral level and have it touch me emotionally.

    This show was a good respite from the disturbing unraveling of events discussed in the first hour. Thanks again.

    P.S. -I appreciate intentional dissonance in music for emotional effect. I would like to hear a program on humor in music. Some Classical composers used the device to great effect.

  • Brett

    Ann,
    You make a good point about dissonance; it’s best used in small doses and in contrast with “sweeter” passages.

  • Cecelia Levin

    The placing of Verdi above Wagner “just for spite” because Wagner was a not an ideal human being and Verdi was a more likeable and generous individual suggests that Mr. Tommasini’s “intellectual exercise” was hardly one at all. However, I am pleased to see how much dialogue this topic has created, and like many others who have commented here- Tom Ashbrook will always be No. 1 with me!

  • Christina Jameson

    Skipping over Gustav Mahler made the list wrong for me. To me, Mahler is a colossal composer, and I never tire of his symphonies. I am also not crazy for Debussy, and definitely disagree that he should be in the #5 spot. If there were two lists, one for the most “groundbreaking” composers and one for the composers of the music one finds the most beautiful to listen to over and over, who would be on both lists? Beethoven, for sure! If the list had been expanded to 15, I hope Chopin would have been on it. Many people may play his music poorly, but the ones who play it wonderfully (I love the old Rubinstein recordings because the renditions are not overdone) bring out the sheer beauty of harmony and rubato. It also depends on what kind of classical music one enjoys. Schumann’s chamber music is exquisite! Wagner may be a genius, but I don’t aspire to hearing the entire Ring Cycle.

  • twenty-niner

    How did Stravinsky make this list? His stuff sounds like an orchestra hooked to a random number generator.

  • Matt

    Great program and great conversation going on here!

  • Mahmoud

    1- Bach
    2- Tchaikovsky
    3- Beethoven
    4- Mozart
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Followed by many great composers below par with the top four.

  • Carrie

    Stravinsky … as some of the other musicians writing in have indicated, the more deeply you get into (study, play, arrange) Bach, or Chopin, or Brahms, or Stravinsky, the more tolerable or lovable they become. The only composer for whom that wasn’t true for me was Ives, but I consider that my fault, not his.

    So I would suggest that twenty-niner SING the Symphony of Psalms, PLAY the triangle in The Rite of Spring, become involved more deeply with the music of Stravinsky. It’s not random at all. Get a hold of the video where Michael Tilson Thomas talks about The Rite of Spring – using Debussy and Rimsky-Korsakoff as starting points! Give the guy another chance.

  • http://gayhmccormick@bellsouth.net Gay McCormick

    Shostakovich is the missing composer in the top ten, I did not contact you in that two week period because I wanted to see your list. Now I will post my love for Shostakovitch. You had him as an “also ran”. What he represents is the story of the USSR in the 20th century and being able to transcend the KGB and Stalin in such amazing music. The music talks to me.

    Tschaikovsky brings music to the “masses !” and is another Russian to be considered. Did he have a mental illness?

  • http://gayhmccormick@bellsouth.net Gay H. McCormick

    You asked about where we live. I neglected to tell you I am in Alpharetta, GA, part of the huge Atlanta metro area but distinctive as a city.

  • E Weiss

    “Bach never really grabbed my ear…”

    The spiritually deaf will never hear Bach, a man of profound faith.

  • Erich Walka

    What an arrogant undertaking, to attempt a ranking of “the greatest classical composers of all time” 1, 2, 3 . . . , succumbing to the list-making now so prevalent in publlications seeking exposure. Anyone loving music should ignore this grab for attention.

  • SV Mejia

    Mr. Tommasini uttered a phrase I’m not familiar with. I’m a native English speaker from the Midwest and Texas. What does the phrase “not for nuthin’” mean?

  • Regina F Spiers

    If you listen carefully, Mr. Tommasini concedes… were he to list his own personal “favorites” the list might be quite different that his top ten list. He defends his choices very succintly. A great deal of reasoning and discerning and, in the end, a process of elimination had to take place on some level or another in order to narrow the choices to ten. Had I more musical knowledge than he, I may try to find some way to critique his choices. Alas, I do not. Like most, I have my own personal list of favorites. However, for me there is something deliciously empirical about Mr. Tomassini’s methodology. I can only imagine the process to have been excruciating – making heretofore unthinkable sacrifices in the name of objectivity and classification. He must have known how ill his list may be received by some listeners, yet he makes no apologies. Mr. Tomassini took the road less traveled and made it sound richly viable, whether you agree with him or not.

  • John

    Tom, you are no Casey Kasem. You can’t give away number one at the start of the show.

  • http://tunc.biz/foreign_movies_2000_to_2010.htm Davd Jones

    I am surprised that Alexander Scriabin is not mentioned except in the comments section. If Bartok is 10 on the list, then Anthony Tommasini should have at least mentioned Scriabin during the show.

    The folks wanting Vivaldi on the list are similar to those who consider Ray Conniff to be wonderful jazz, while slamming Coltrane as avant garde and elitist.

  • Mark in Cary

    1. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

    2.Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 91)

    3.Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

    4. Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828)

    5. Igor Stravinsky (1882 – 1971)

    6.Johannes Brahms (1833 – 97)

    7.Bela Bartok (1881 – 1945)

    8. Dmitri Shastakovich (1906 – 1975) Most of the other composers didn’t risk their lives with their compositions. I love the sheer power (both in terms of execution of the music and message) of Shastakovich’s music.

    9. Henryk Gorecki (1923-2010) In my opinion, his Symphony No. 3 – Symphony of Sorrowful Songs – lands him in my top 10.

    10. Gustav Mahler (1860 – 1911)

  • jo forbes

    enjoyed the program so much. and of course as always so impressed with your depth of knowledge tom.

  • Eric

    I was ready to scoff at this list if Wagner’s name wasn’t on it. No need! lol! I wonder how close Gershwin was making the list. It would have been deserved.

  • Mark Decker

    Any list of the top ten that doesn’t include Mahler is simply wrong. ;)

    Mahler’s my number 1, although I’d also have Mussorgsky, Holst and probably Prokofiev in my top ten, too.

    Schubert number 4? That seems way too high.

  • Caslyn Saint Denis

    Mahler definitely needs to be on that list!

  • http://npr.org Maximilian Schneller

    what a about tchaikovsky…while he certainly wasnt the technical genius of Bach or Mozart he should probably be included. If not for his musical abilities but also because of how his msic perhaps some of the most recognizable by the average person. Most people would not recognize Wagner but if u play the 1812 overture any person thats ever been to a fourth of july fireworks display would realize that they’ve heard it.

  • Charles Lang IV

    Call it a soft spot, if you will, I love the Russians. Having thought and having read some of the comments, I concur with many of them. Where is Scriabin, where is Shostakovitch, and, most importantly to me, where the hell is Rachmaninoff? I must add to the discussion, where is Brahms, Grieg, and Mahler–where are Chopin and Liszt, Ravel and Vivaldi???

  • http://www.runforyourlife.org Dudley Brooks

    In chronological order:
    Machaut
    Dufay
    Monteverdi
    Bach
    Mozart
    Beethoven
    Debussy
    Stravinsky
    Schoenberg
    Stockhausen

    And, like Nigel Tufnel’s amp, this one goes to 11:
    Mahler

    I make no claims for these composers other than that they are the ones whose music I get the most pleasure from listening to — the only claim anyone can make for any composer.

  • Mary Jane

    So, it doesn’t bother anyone that there are no women composers on any of these lists! More than fifty percent of the human population is female, and women have been around as long as the male composers, and not one of the listed composers are female! Doesn’t that strike anyone as odd? As wrong? As sexist? Instead of this nonsense listing, I’d rather hear a program and read a posting on why there are no women composers! Or at least why we never hear about them!

  • grhufnagl

    Predictable exercise as usual – Western European (minus Stravinsky, who’s music is identifiably French, and of course Bartok). No Americans of course, let alone anyone born in the 20th century. Getting kind of tired of hearing about these museum composers.

  • jerry hill

    was chopin left off this list because his work was primarily for the pianoforte? imho he belongs here more than bartok, much as i love bartok… and mahler! who would we have to eliminate to include the wonderful, moody mahler? not wagner, obviously. oh, debussy… darn it, 10′s just not enough!

    tallahassee, florida

  • http://www.tomnewboldpercussion.com Thomas

    This is an easy enough list to make, but also to put down. Just get out your Norton’s Anthology of Western Music and try to narrow it down. If there were only ten then no one would have to study for four years or more to get their Bachelor’s and so on. I agree that it would be nice to see an American. Ellington, Cage, Ives, Cowell, Copland, Carter, Gershwin, any of these would do. To leave out the 20th century and the effect of American culture the entire world seems a bit ludicrous.

  • Charles Lang IV

    Oops, Brahms is on the list, I take that part of my previous comment off. Western art music is our gift, from the gods.

  • http://www.musicbyday.com/ Marvin

    Beethoven’s my favorite. Even with music as “technical” as classical – there’s a lot of subjectiveness to the enjoyment of music.

  • John

    Well, Tommasini’s list is very good. It’s always a question when you don’t see Mahler in such a list. But more than Mahler, – for me – Richard Strauss, I think should be on that list. Take out Bartok and replace with Richard Strauss and I am satisfied. Nobody has ever outwritten his waltz as so expertly crafted in Der Rosenkavaklier, nobody. Then there is Heldenleben and Zarathustra. Death and Transfiguration. His amazing songs…

  • P.J. Williams

    I have to put my vote in for Prokofiev as well. (Wagner leaves me cold but I have little experience with opera in general and I agree that opera composers should be in a separate list–novelist vs poets, as was said by others).
    My list would include: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, (top 3 in any order) then Schubert, Brahms, Haydn, Chopin, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, and Aaron Copeland. But, oh my! Debussy, Tchaikovsky, Ellington, Gershwin, Bernstein…so many I haven’t even thought of yet! It makes my head hurt! Thank you for jogging my memory…so many wonderful memories…so much wonderful music. (Oops…Handel, too…) And on and on….

  • Joseph Martin

    Very, very subjective. I just keep thinking about what his personal criteria was. It certainly was not a popularity ranking, otherwise the list would be very different. I assume he had more of the essoteric and musically complex factors in mind. Since we all have a sense of music, I would have included composers with the qualities the populace shares: beauty, evocatiness, novelty, etc and not the obscure elaborations of dissonance and erratic rhythms, not to imply such things are not interesting or important. So, Chopin would have been nice, as well as Schumann, Mahler, etc.

  • Derek

    I personally wouldn’t have put Beethoven at #2, though I don’t object to him being near the top. Flip him and Mozart. On the other hand, I find the absence of Chopin indefensible, and of Rachmaninoff and Vivaldi nearly so.

    Schubert and Brahms wouldn’t make my top 10, though, again, I can see why others might include them; Verdi and (probably) Bartok might fall somewhere in my top 20, though at that point the composers I’d place ahead of them are based more on personal taste rather than “objective” merit (whatever that might mean in this context). And Debussy wouldn’t make my top 100–I can’t understand why anybody listens to him at all.

    As with many others, I like the Russian romantics: Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, etc. One name that would make my top ten–and one which, as far as I can tell, hasn’t even come up yet, to my surprise–is Liszt. And I agree that John Williams deserves at least consideration.

  • Robert

    We can all argue the order of the first three, but I would say Mozart, Bach, Beethoven.

    I would add Vivaldi, Haydn, and Chopin and remove Wagner, Stravinsky, and Bartok. Personally, I would replace Brahms with Tchaikovsky, but that is just a personal taste. I love also Mascagni, Puccini, Moussorgsky, Berlioz, but recognize none of them make the top ten.

  • Derek

    Ah: I see Liszt finally made the list while I was typing. Good.

    Mark: I wanted to include Holst, too, but decided that, since that would (for me) be based only on a single work, I couldn’t quite justify it. Which may mean no more than that I need to find and listen to some more Holst.

  • Susan H.

    A few missing composers are: Richard Strauss, Ralph Vaughn Williams, and Gustav Holst. The composers that he selected tend to be the “pop” composers. A couple of others that I’d add to my list are Ethyl Smythe and Benjamin Britten.

  • PW Holmes

    I have little formal education in classical music, so I must lead with my ears and heart, and not my head. With no clear definition (on this website at least) of what “greatest” means, it’s difficult to praise or condemn this list with any confidence, and of course the process is personal and subjective. Just because everyone believes Beethoven should be on the list does not mean that the list is, in the end, personal and subjective. (And yes, of course I agree that he belongs there!)

    I’m surprised, though, that Sibelius has not been mentioned by any commentators so far.

  • http://PBSonFacebook Norah Wolthuis

    Why does the list have to be considered “arrogant”? It’s subjective and Mr. Tommasini is as entitled to his opinion as anyone. Opinions can be welcome without being bashed.

  • Phil Holmes

    Quick edit: penultimate sentence of the first paragraph should read: “Just because everyone believes Beethoven should be on the list does not mean that the list is NOT, in the end, personal and subjective.”

    Darned double negatives. Clumsy construction. My apologies.

  • Sandra Stout

    HANDEL!

  • Ronald

    I don’t think the idea here is anything close to “stupid”. I think a better word is illogical. How do you place competition in art? It’s only been in the twentieth century that such a concept really took hold. Composers cannot hope to be looked at objectivity in any way, because music itself is not objective. It is passionately, movingly, angrily, lovingly SUBJECTIVE… that is its place in the world, in my opinion — to reflect an attitude. Of a single writer, a people, a country or an idea.

    My own musical tastes, although extremely wide, will always float to those American composers that I admire first. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just as the French should be proud of the great Debussy, I am extremely fond of Copland. And Ellington, in a music form that struggles to this day to gain acceptance. And many more…hey, I’m a huge blues fan. The compositions are raw and simple…and they speak to ME.

    It’s fascinating to note here that very few people really wish to discuss this simple fact.

  • Mark

    That’s like asking someone to name the top 10 NBA, NFL, or Baseball players of all time. Can’t be done regardless of rationale. How can you leave out Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi and Handel? It is an impossible task that will only generate critics for those who are left off the list. Are contemporary composers not to be considered? What is to be considered “classical” then, is it by period only?

  • Jan Lapter

    No Haendel! Where’s Mahler?! Wagner out, that anti-semitic prick with longwinded arias (“The longest 15 minutes in my life,” said Puccini.) And no Mendelsohn? And where are the Russians?

  • Chris Hewitt

    Of course there’s no “right” list … and I would bet that if you took 100 sincere responses from people who identify as fans of “classical” music (whatever that means in 2011), the only two composers that would make everyone’s list are Beethoven and Mozart.

    I am shocked that Chopin isn’t on the list, though. Even limited almost exclusively to the piano, his body of work covered every emotion that a human could experience, from tormented to serene. He’s in my top 3 with LVB and Mahler – but I guess I’m kinda neurotic :)

  • http://Australia Marika Hahn

    Shostakovich 5 is just one of the most important compositions ever.I cannot believe this composer has not made the list and what about Vivaldi ? Who is this this guy again ?

  • http://artbylaurajean.com laura craciun

    Thank you for sparking such lively debate. I agree Handel should have been considered. Wagner and Bartock stick out. They should be replaced w Chopin and Strauss. Then, I’d be happy :)

  • Jim VanderRoest

    I’d put Haydn way near the top, above Schubert at least. Papa essentially invented the symphony and string quartet as we know them. If you claim to love classical music and don’t know his Piano Trios, you should find them as soon as possible (but not on original instruments, yuck). For me Mozart would be top, then Bach, then Haydn, then Beethoven. I’d leave out Debussy, Wagner, and Bartok, and in their places add Rachmaninoff, Dvorak, and Puccini.

    Where this kind of list falls down for me is the “ranking” unless it is accepted as purely subjective, and the limitation of only ten. I hate leaving Mahler, Mendelssohn, Schumann, and R. Strauss off the list. I’d round out my “favorite fifteen” by putting Debussy back. And even then, I want to add Elgar, Rossini, Sibelius, Gershwin, Faure….

    The reason West Europeans dominate my list is because they “sing” to me more than others do. But again, the whole thing can only be a subjective judgment. So long as the exercise is accepted as such, what’s the harm in it?

  • http://shulmandesign.net Alan Shulman

    I’ve enjoyed the many comments submitted and have read almost every one. Isn’t it nice to have a discussion on which the fate of the world does not depend – no global warming to contend with, no Obamacare or Nobamacare…what a relief.
    Poor Bela seems to have taken the most hits for his inclusion on the list. I wonder how many pieces of his music people who would drop him off a cliff have actually heard?
    Perhaps a criteria that could be useful for measuring composers is evaluating in how many areas they excelled. The top three were fairly good at most forms of composition – for solo instruments, for small and large groups, for chorus and orchestra, for sole voice…
    Another possible criteria might be to list the pieces by each composer that one considers absolute masterworks. Again, with the top three, each probably has a dozen works that would make most lists as examples of unqualified genius. Could that be said for Scriabin? Holst?
    If I use these two measures, then Shostokovich makes it for a number of his symphonies, piano concertos, and string quartets. And Chopin, as much I personally love much of what he wrote, doesn’t.
    Okay, you may now pitch your rotten eggs and tomatoes.

    • Gdawson

      Hi Alan:

      You make some excellent points. I have done pretty much exactly what you have proposed, as noted below. In terms of areas of work, Tchaikovsky, Haydn, Prokofiev, Schumann, and Sibelius have “masterpieces” in at least three areas. Mahler ranks up with them primarily on the basis of 6 incredible symphonies (including Das Lied von der Erde). None of these composers made Tommasini’s Top 10.

      Verdi, whose fame rests almost exclusively with Opera (and a major choral work) and Wagner, whose fame also rests mainly on a series of several powerful operas (which are seldom heard) got included. These composers are giants, of course and I own a large selection of each of their works, including the voluminous “Ring” cycle, but how do you compare them with composers who are masters in several areas, such as the five omitted coposers listed above.

      Not sure if you happened to catch my comments on the On Point site. I have done quite a bit of research over many years using classical references and Basic Repertoire lists, massaged these references in a computer database and came up with my own “mathematical” list of composers (and classical works). Have a look at my list of the top 35 composers on the site under Gdawson. Have a good day and enjoy the classics.

    • Gdawson

      Hi Alan:
      I forgot to add a comment on Shostakovich. Despite stiff competition from Beethoven and Mozart, Shostakovich’s Symphony #5 easily ranks in the top 10 of the “best” symphonies ever written. Based on your comments, I intend to get a CD of his Symphony #1 and look into some of his other works.

  • John Townsend

    In order of appearance: Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Puccini, R. Strauss.——I am from Memphis, Tn.

  • Justin Gerych

    I really feel someone like Holst or Grainger should be on there. They really helped make the wind ensemble what it is today and their pieces are still the stanard we use to measure a groups skill. they had works in all parts of the ensemble world.

  • Ben

    Sorry to be a snob, but it’s obvious that most of the comments are not from serious musicians. I don’t agree with everything about the list, but it’s pretty much the way things are. There’s not that much subjectivity that can be applied. These are the giants. Some of the suggestions – Grieg, Mendelssohn, Scriabin – yes, all great composers, but on this list? No chance. Same for all those even more obscure satellite composers – yes there are many gems, but top 10 of all time? What a joke.

  • Axel López Martínez

    I hate Stravinsky, not one piece of his garbage is in my collection. I prefer Vivaldi 500 times over. I´d also include Richard Strauss instead of Bartok. Melody is more important than weird harmonies. Therefore, Vivaldi is much more liked than those guys.

  • http://www.ibeamsf.com Allison Ceae

    What, no Chopin? Or Tchaikovsky or Rachmaninoff? Heavens!

  • Ron Williams

    Take Debussy off. Put Sibelius on. Take Verdi off. Put Mahler on. And it’s unbelievable that there are no composers earlier than the 17th century on the list. Tallis, Byrd, Palestrina – any or all belong in the top 10.

    • Gdawson

      Hi Ron:
      Some excellent comments. Mahler would be in my top 10. I’ve put the following comment in replies to a few posters, so it may be getting somewhat repetitious on the site:

      ** Not sure if you happened to catch my comments on the On Point site. I have done quite a bit of research over many years using classical references and Basic Repertoire lists, massaged these references in a computer database and came up with my own “mathematical” list of composers (and classical works). Have a look at my list of the top 35 composers on the site under Gdawson. **

      In regard to your comment on “early” music, this period unfortunately, draws a limited audience. It is somewhat difficult to find either information or CDs, and so many of the composers from, say 1350 to 1650, appear only in collections by Munrow and other “specialists”. Most of the works are in the nature of short songs, dances, etc., leaving it difficult to compare a dozen recital items with a symphony, for example. Monteverdi is noted for a series of Madrigals and receives some attention. de Machaut has one of the few larger “recognized” works, the Notre Dame Mass. Terpsichore by Praetorius shows up in some of my references as an important work. I’m not saying that this is a reasonable state of affairs, but these early composers have difficulty getting the attention that they deserve.

      Have a good day and enjoy the classics.

  • Ron Wiliams

    Oops! Forgot Handel – surely should be up in the top 3

  • Robert

    Ah, Sibelius! How could I have forgotten? So, now, lets remove Debussy and replace with Sibelius.

    On the matter of subjectivity, I would add that neither volume nor technical skill ought be applied as standards here, but the way in which the music unleashes the passions and ushers us to lavishes of emotional experience. The true joy of music is to transport!

  • Luluasst

    Where is Hector Berlioz?

  • http://shulmandesign.net Alan Shulman

    As much folly to speak of who is the most beautiful woman as to discuss the greatest composers. Was it that one musical offering (or kiss) that one remembers for a lifetime – speaking of transport – or the composer you return to again and again because so many works provide emotional richness and transcendence, as might as many kisses?
    Beethoven – for his quartets 7,8,9, 14; Kreutzer Sonata, Symph. 3, 7 &9; PC #4; Octet Op. 20
    Bach – for his PC #1; toccatas, gigues, partitas, preludes and fuges
    Bartok – for his Concerto for Orchestra, Music for Strings, Percussion, Celeste; PC #3
    Tschaikovsky – for his Nutcracker, Swan Lake, VC, Symph. #6
    Prokofiev – for his Romeo & Juliet, PC #1, Lieutenant Kije Suite
    Debussy – for his Children’s Corner Suite, Masques et Bergamasques, La Mer, String Quartet
    Stravinsky – for his Petroushka, Rite of Spring, Symphony of Psalms
    Piazzola & Chopin (in a tie) – for their very personal, melodic, sad, uplifting works
    Brahms – for his Variations on a theme of Handel, 1st Serenade, Symphony #1
    Shostokovich – for his Symph. #5, PC 1 &2, Preludes and Fugues

    And all this leaves out so much: Mozart’s PC #20, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Nielson’s Symph. #1, Mahler’s song cycles, Holst’s Planets, Ives’ Unanswered Question, Schumann’s Rhenish Symphony, V.Williams Fantasia on a theme of Tallis, Dvorak’s Cello Concerto, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Barber’s School for Scandel Overture, R. Strauss’ Four Last Songs…

    What would I do if all these should disappear from the earth. The endeavor to make Tommisini’s distinction seems ever more foolish.

    • The Rikster

      Ouch, Mr Shulman!  The omissions you make!  My God, for Bach alone: the cello suites, the sonatas and partitas for solo violin, the English Suites, the French Suites, the Goldberg Variations, the Cantatas, the Matthew and John Passions, the Christmas Oratorio, the Art of the Fugue, and most especially, the B minor Mass, almost certainly the greatest work of Art ever created.  It goes to show how unfortunately shallow your list is.  I don’t mean to be cruel, but Tommasini’s list is far from foolish.  It is his attempt to rank musical artists according to their relative talent and contribution to the greatest Art of humanity.  This is by no means a sterile exercise.  Why should we not accord our laurels to those most deserving among us?  It is a naturally human proclivity to rank things in order of merit.  Why should we not do this this with our Composers?  Just because there are great variations in taste does not mean we should not seek consensus in these matters.  We will never all agree.  But trends will definitely emerge, and in this case I cannot quibble overmuch with the outcomes of either the public’s or Tommasini’s choices.  True, I agree with Tommasini that Bach was the greatest composer — and to me the greatest artist — of all time.  But Beethoven, especially late Beethoven was probably both the most profound, and yet most human of composers.  Bach was the most perfect.  And yes, Mozart was probably the purest and most natural musical genius who ever lived, but he used his talent in pursuit of lesser goals than Beethoven, Bach, or even Schubert or Brahms, and thus he suffers somewhat, though only somewhat, in comparison.

  • http://www.paulangiolillo.com Paul Angiolillo

    Unless I missed it, there was no discussion during the hour about how cultural tastes change over time in music as well–or at least a nod to that fact, and that means influences virtually everyone. The most obvious example is Mozart, who is universally considered in the top 3 composers by virtually all listeners who commented here, no matter what their other preferences are–yet Mozart was considered a light-weight composer 100 years ago. Kind of hard to believe, but it’s true. And Bach was considered passe and old-fashioned right after his passing. Just another perspective that seems worth at least a mention.

  • Marcus Cade

    I’m so glad that Mr. Tommasini included Bartok, especially given the mostly negative comments toward Bartok by others in this thread.

  • http://shulmandesign.net Alan Shulman

    An interesting question this one of cultural influences and preferences…there have certainly been composers who were wildly popular in their time and have more or less faded into obscurity. Then there is a smaller group who having lost favor for a time, return to popularity. Does this mean that, in second blush, there is some recognition of their universality? Have there been composers who fade away a second time? I don’t claim to know the answer. Bach, who did virtually disappear from the public was an underground figure known to Mozart and Beethoven but forgotten by the masses until Mendelsohn revived him in the 1830s. He seems well respected now by classical and jazz composers alike. It would interesting to know who will have currency five hundred years from now, what with all the cross cultural currents we now experience.

  • Robert

    Alan, well stated… the kiss analogy is brilliant, and as Proust so aptly described, our memories do shift, fade, and re-emerge with phenomenology and purpose, as, I propose, our musical tastes.

    And Paul, the cultural point is so well-taken. We who judge from our solipsistic vantage points are wise to realize other valid perspectives exist, and our respective tastes need not invalidate others.

    But it is interesting to see which composers, and which pieces show up on people’s sentimental transport itineraries most consistently. My own list, as it seems Alan’s, meanders over time and circumstance.

    As long as I am waxing polemic, may I describe as ugly the suggestion of Mozart as light weight. Young, yes, temperamentally juvenile arguably, but his music, more consistently genius in mood-transport than any I have known. Let the counterpoints begin.

    • Biggus Rikkus

      Mozart’s general purpose (not in every case, so please don’t cite exceptions) was to entertain, which he did sublimely.  But I would suggest that the aim of Beethoven was rarely to entertain, and Bach almost never — they aimed to enoble, to edify, and to enrich.  Hence, I would suggest that Mozart, for all the perfection his genius, lowered his artistic sights enough to miss the loftiest heights of Art

  • Barbara M. Feldman

    From Providence, RI
    That was a fascinating show. I’ve never looked at the comments section before. Do you usually get this many comments? I think it would be great to do a follow-up show on the composers most commenters wanted to put on the list. Mine would be Dvorak, Prokofiev, Mendelsohn, Mahler, and Gershwin. However, don’t ask me to take anyone off!

    • Gdawson

      Hi Barbara:
      I have to agree with all your choices, particularly Mahler and Prokofiev. Gershwin is also a favorite of mine, together with Copland, as representatives of North American contributions to the classical repertoire.

      Not sure if you happened to catch my comments on the On Point site. I have done quite a bit of research over many years using classical references and Basic Repertoire lists, massaged these references in a computer database and came up with my own “mathematical” list of composers (and classical works). Have a look at my list of the top 35 composers on the site under Gdawson. Have a good day and enjoy the classics.

  • Manuel

    good show – got me thinking…although I would not put Bruckner on the list, his 9th(and 4th) synphonies just have me get the shudders listening to them again and again…so perhaps you ought to make a list of the top 25 pieces of classical music, and not just composers…

  • Guest

    This is the most intellectually disingenuous exercise I have ever witnessed. To even pretend that you can compare these composers in his way is a form of reductionism that distorts and, i would say perverts, these composers’ work. You have misled thousands. Tommasini, be ashamed. Be very ashamed. You have lost all credibility in my eyes.

  • Guest

    This is the most intellectually disingenuous exercise I have ever witnessed. To even pretend that you can compare these composers in his way is a form of reductionism that distorts and, i would say perverts, these composers’ work. You have misled thousands. Tommasini, be ashamed. Be very ashamed. You have lost all credibility in my eyes.

  • GMG

    Yet more dancing about architecture…had to turn it off.

  • Organman52

    This Tomassini is out of his mind. He is a twisted, evil demon and he will get exactly what is coming to him.

  • Matthew

    JS Bach, certainly the greatest composer in history.

    His sheer genius an reinforcement of the popular harmony and motifs certainly enriched and brought the rising Baroque Period to it’s apex.

    In my opinion the Art of the Fugue is his most brilliant masterpiece, though…unfinsihed, it would have been beyond anything the later ‘masters’ could produce…even my beloved Beethoven (my favorite of the Classical masters…notably for his paving the final movement into the Romantic Period).

  • Richard E

    I’m stunned that Haydn, father of the symphony and the string quartet as well as prolific composer in other musical forms, is absent.

    • Gdawson

      Hi Richard. Have to agree with you (and a host on CBC who drew my attention to this list also mentioned the fact that Haydn seemed to be a major omission). Not sure if you happened to catch my comments on the On Point site. I have done quite a bit of research over many years using classical references and Basic Repertoire lists, massaged these references in a computer database and came up with my own “mathematical” list of composers (and classical works). Have a look at my list of the top 35 composers on the site under Gdawson. Have a good day and enjoy the classics.

  • Gdawson

    As someone who loves classical music and lists, I have spent a few decades collecting music and music references, such as the Rough Guide to Classical Music and DK’s Classical Music; and scanning the internet for such sites as Classical.Net (apparently derived from the old Schwann pamphlets). Using this information, I have created a database of over 400 major classical works and have ranked these works using a weighted summation of 10 of my acquired references.

    Below is a brief summary of one aspect of this database: the number of works in the Top 201 ranked works, sorted by composer. The second column lists the number of works. The third column lists the highest ranked work for each composer and also includes all of the top 21 works (actually a Top ranking of 16 since there were many ties).

    I don’t claim that this is a very artistic approach, but it is another way of looking at the so-called “Top Composers”, a somewhat futile effort if you are trying to compare great symphonic composers with great opera composers, for example.

    The bottom three composers, with only one work, are there simply because that work ranked in the highest 21 works, e.g., Vivaldi’s single work, The Four Seasons, is arguably the most referenced and played work (but how do you compare it with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony?).

    The asterisks (**) are Tommasini’s Top 10 Composers.

    Composer Works in Highest Ranking(s)
    Top 201

    Beethoven ** 22 1, 13, 16, 16
    Mozart ** 16 5, 16
    Bach, J.S. ** 9 5
    Brahms ** 9 22
    Tchaikovsky 8 16
    Schubert ** 8 40
    Haydn 7 40
    Mahler 6 38
    Prokofiev 6 97
    Ravel 5 13
    Schumann 5 26
    Sibelius 5 40
    Chopin 5 53
    Dvorak 4 1
    Mendelssohn 4 5
    Debussy ** 4 10
    Rachmaninoff 4 16
    Strauss, R. 4 26
    Puccini 4 65
    Verdi ** 4 67
    Wagner ** 4 115
    Handel 3 1, 10
    Grieg 3 5
    Gershwin 3 10
    Stravinsky ** 3 26
    Bruckner 3 116
    Mussorgsky 2 5
    Bartok ** 2 22
    Bizet 2 40
    Saint-Saens 2 40
    Respighi 2 53
    Rossini 2 112
    Vivaldi 1 1
    Smetana 1 13
    Rimsky-Korsakov 1 16

  • Gdawson

    A note on the previous comment. Apparently comments are adjusted to remove tabs and extra blanks, messing up my list. The three column headings would be:

    1. Composer
    2. Works in Top 201 (i.e., the first number descending from 22 to 1)
    3. Highest Ranking(s) (the next number(s) in the row, with multiple entries for Beethoven, Mozart, and Handel)

    Sorry about that.

  • Rogelio-listo

    I loved Tommasini’s declaration that Bach as Number One is a “no brainer”. True!

  • Magdalena_cerezo

    I consider really stupid all that lists stuff… Anyway, Stravinsky over Brahms? No comments

  • Felix de Villiers

    I find the term ‘classical music’ meaningless unless it refers to Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, otherwise how do you really fit in Strawinsky, Debussy (who broke all the rules of Classicism), Stockhausen, Boulez?
    In any case I agree with Boulez that all the composers on your list are still very modern. Everyone of the truly geats is the greatest in his own way. For the fun of it, here is my list:

    1, Bach, Beethoven and Mozart each in his own way.
    2, . Schubert
    3. Haydn
    4. Schoenberg, Berg and Webern, each in his own way
    5. .Schumann and Chopin together
    6. Brahms
    7.Mendelssohn
    8. Liszt
    9. Wagner, desipte myself
    10. Mahler, a giant, should go higher up.

    The photo is of me aged 14 at the Schumann’s tombstone in Bonn

  • Tim Turk

    THERE ARE NO GOD HIGHER THEN TRUTH. by”Gandhi” and there is only one truth beyond all the prejudice is: one and only,Great .!!!  Ludwig V.Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to fallow… all others are your fantasy list. critics without ears are my fears.. 

  • Myloveturk

    THERE ARE NO GOD HIGHER THEN TRUTH. by”Gandhi” and there is only one truth beyond all the prejudice is: one and only,Great .!!!  Ludwig V.Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to fallow… all others are your fantasy list. critics without ears are my fears.. 

  • Okayyilmazer

    Here is my top list:

    1. Mozart for sure!
    2. J. S. Bach
    3. Beethoven
    4. Vivaldi
    5. Tchaikovsky
    6. Schubert
    7. Brahms
    8. G. Bizet
    9. Verdi
    10. R. Wagner

  • val1980

    THE BEST COMPOSERS IN YEARS. THE BEST COMPOSITION IN YEARS WITH FIRST PUBLISHER.

    1706- BACH- TOCCATA E FUGUE
    1707- BACH- TOCCATA E FUGUE
    1711 -HANDEL-RINALDO
    1712- VIVALDI-STABAT MATER
    1713 CORELLI-CONCERTO GROSSO OP.6 NO. 3
    1716- VIVALDI-LARGO-CONCERTO-IN-D-MAJOR
    1717-HANDEL-WATER MUSIC SUITE NO.2
    1718-VIVALDI-CONCERTO FUR 2 TROMPETEN-ALLEGRO
    1719-VIVALDI-CONCERTO FOR OBOE VIOLIN IN B FLAT MAJOR RV 548
    1720-HANDEL-PASSACAGLIA
    1721-BACH-BRANDENBURG CONCERTO NO.2
    1722-BACH-AVE MARIA
    1723-BACH-BADINERIE SUITE NO.2
    1725-VIVALDI-SPRING FOUR SEASONS
    1726-BACH-PRELUDE AND FUGA-ALLEGRO
    1727-BACH-AIR SUITE NO.3
    1728-VIVALDI-FLUTE CONCERTO IN G MINOR LA NOTTE-ALLEGRO
    1729-BACH-WIR SETZEN UNS MIT TRANER NIEDER
    1730-BACH-CONCERTO FOR 2 VIOLIN-VIVACE
    1731-BACH-CANTALA WACHET AUF RAFT UNS DIE STIMME
    1732-BACH-CANTALA WACHET AUF RAFT UNS DIE STIMME ( POPULAR 2 YEARS)
    1733-HANDEL-SARABANDA
    1734-BACH-SICILIANA
    1735-BACH-ITALIAN CONCERTO-ALLEGRO
    1736- PERGOLEZI-STABAT MATER
    1738- HANDEL-LARGO AUS XERXES
    1739- HANDEL-CONCERTO IN A MINOR OP.6 NO.4
    1740- TELEMANN-TRIO SONATA OBOE HARPSICHORN IN C MINOR
    1741- BACH -THE GOLDBERG VARIATIONS-ARIA DA CAPO
    1742- HANDEL-HALLELUJAH
    1744- BACH-PRELUDE FUGA NO.2
    1749- HANDEL-MUSIC FOR THE ROYAL -LA REJOUISSANCE
    1750- BACH-OSANNA MASS IN B MINOR
    1751- BACH-THE ART OF FUGUE- CONTRAPUNTUS
    1752- CARL BACH-CONCERTO D MOLL
    1755- LEOPOLD MOZART-DAS ROLLEN AUF DEM SCHLITTEN
    1762- GLUCK-DANCE OF THE BLESSED SPIRTIS
    1764- W.MOZART-MENUET
    1767- GLUCK-ARCESTE OVERTURE
    1768- HAYDN-SERENADA
    1772- HAYDN-SYMPHONY NO.45
    1775- MOZART-VIOLIN CONCERTO NO.3
    1776- MOZART-SERENATA NOTTURNA
    1777- MOZART-SYMPHONY CONCERTANTE
    1778- MOZART- FLUTE CONCERTO NO.2
    1779- MOZART-SYMPHONY CONCERTANTE
    1782- MOZART-SYMPHONY NO.3 HAFFNER
    1784- MOZART-RONDO ALLA TURCO
    1785- MOZART-PIANO CONCERTO NO.20
    1786- MOZART- OVERTURE THE MARRIGE OF FIGARO
    1787- MOZART- EINE KLEINE NACHTMUSIK
    1788- MOZART- SYMPHONY NO.40
    1789- HAYDN-SYMPHONY NO.88 FINAL
    1790- HAYDN-STRING OP.64 NO.5 THE LARK
    1791- MOZART- REQUIEM LACRIMOSA
    1794- HAYDN-SYMPHONY NO.101 FINALE-VIVACE
    1795- HAYDN-SYMPHONY NO.104
    1796- BEETHOVEN-MINUET IN G
    1798- HAYDN-THE CREATION
    1799- BEETHOVEN-PIANO SONATA NO.8 IN C MINOR
    1800- HAYDN-TRUMPET CONCERTO
    1802- BEETHOVEN-MOONLIGHT SONATA
    1804- BEETHOVEN-SYMPHONY NO.3 EROICA
    1805- BEETHOVEN-ROMANCE VIOLIN OP.50 NO.2
    1806- BEETHOVEN-PIANO CONCERTO NO.4
    1807- BEETHOVEN-PIANO SONATA NO.23 APPASSIONATA
    1808- BEETHOVEN-SYMPHONY NO.5
    1809- BEETHOVEN-SYMPHONY NO.5 ( POPULAR 2 YEARS)
    1810- BEETHOVEN-FUR ELISE
    1811- BEETHOVEN-PIANO CONCERTO NO.5 OP.73
    1813- BEETHOVEN-SYMPHONY NO.7 THE EMPEROR
    1816- ROSSINI-OVERTURE THE BARBER OF SEVILLE
    1819- PAGANINI-CAPRICCIO 124
    1821- WEBER-OVERTURE DER FREISCHUTZ
    1822- BEETHOVEN-SONATA PIANO NO.32 MAESTOSO-ALLEGRO
    1823- SCHUBERT-DIE SCHONE MULLERIN
    1824- BEETHOVEN-SYMPHONY NO.9
    1826- SCHUBERT-AVE MARIA
    1827- MENDELSSOHN-A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM
    1828- SCHUBERT-SERENADE
    1829- ROSSINI-OVERTURE WILLIAM TELL
    1830- BERLIOZ-SYMPHONY FANTASTIQUE
    1831- CHOPIN-ETUDE OP.10 NO.12
    1832- CHOPIN-WALTZ OP.7 NO.12
    1833- MENDELSSOHN-SYMPHONY NO.4 ITALIA
    1834- CHOPIN-WALTZ OP.18
    1835- CHOPIN-WALTZ OP.69 NO.2
    1836- CHOPIN-BALLADE NO.1
    1837- MENDELSSOHN-ON WINGS SONGS
    1838- SCHUMANN-KINDERZENEN OP.15 TRAUMEREI
    1839- SCHUBERT-SYMPHONY NO.9 THE GREAT
    1840- SCHUMANN-DICHTERLIEBE
    1841- MENDELSSOHN-SPRING SONG
    1842- CHOPIN-POLONAISE OP.53 HEROIC
    1843- WAGNER-DER FLIEGENDE HOLLANDER
    1845- WAGNER-OVERTURE TANNHEUSER
    1846- SUPPE-OVERTURE POET AND POESANT, SCHUMANN-PIANO CONCERTO OP.54-ALLEGRO
    1847- CHOPIN-WALTZ OP.64 NO.2
    1848- J.STRAUSS I-RADETZKY MARSH
    1850- LISZT-LIEBESTRAUM NO.3
    1851- VERDI-RIGOLETTO
    1852- J.STRAUSS II-ANNEN POLKA
    1853- VERDI-LA TRAVIATA
    1854- LISZT-LES PRELUDES
    1855- CHOPIN-FANTASIE IMPORTU
    1856- GLINKA-WALTZ FANTASIA
    1857- LISZT-PIANO CONCERTO NO.2
    1858- MENDELSSOHN-WEDDING MARSH, OFFENBACH-ORPHEUS IN THE UNDER WORLD
    1859- GOUNOD-WALTZER AUS FAUST
    1860- RUBINSTEIN-ROMANCE
    1861- J.STRAUSS II-PERPETUM MOBILE
    1862- VERDI-OVERTURE THE FORCE OF DESTINY
    1863- BIZET-AND FOND DUTEMPLE SAINT
    1864- GRIEG-I LOVE YOU
    1865- BRAHMS-WALTZ OP.39 NO.15
    1866- SMETANA-OVERTURE THE BARTERED
    1867- J.STRAUSS II-WALTZ THE BLUE DANUBE
    1868- BRAHMS-WIEGENLIED OP.49 NO.4
    1869- GRIEG-KLAVIERKONZERT OP.16-ALLEGRO
    1870- WAGNER-RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES
    1871- VERDI-TRIUMPH MARSH-AIDA
    1872- BIZET-L ARLESIENNE INTERMEZZO
    1873- TCHAIKOVSKY-NOCTURNE IN C
    1874- VERDI-MESSA DA REQUIEM
    1875- BIZET-LES TOREADORES-CARMEN
    1876- GRIEG-MORNING
    1877- TCHAIKOVSKY-SWAN LAKE-1 WALTZ
    1878- TCHAIKOVSKY-SYMPHONY NO.4 FINALE
    1879- TCHAIKOVSKY-POLONAISE EVGENE ONEGIN
    1880- TCHAIKOVSKY-OVERTURE FANTASIA ROMEO AND JULIETTE
    1881- TCHAIKOVSKY-CAPRICCIO ITALIANO
    1882- TCHAIKOVSKY-1812 OVERTURE
    1883- J.STRAUSS II-WALTZ FRUHLINGSSTIMMEN
    1884- GRIEG-HOLBERG SUITE OP.40 PRELUDE
    1885- BRAHMS-SYMPHONY NO.4 OP.98-ANDANTE MODERATO
    1886- MUSSORGSKY-A NIGHT ON THE BALD MOUNTAIN
    1887- VERDI-OTELLO
    1888- SATIE-GYMPODEPIC NO.1
    1889- J.STRAUSS II-KAIZER WLAZER
    1890- TCHAIKOVSKY- OVERTURE THE SLEEPING BEAUTY
    1891- MUSSORGSKY-PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION
    1892- TCHAIKOVSKY- WALTZ OF THE FLOWERS- THE NUTCRACKER
    1893- DVORAK-SYMPHONY NO.9 NEW WORLD
    1894- DVORAK-HUMORESQUE
    1895- BOELLMANN-SUITE GOTIQUE OP.25
    1896- R.STRAUSS -ALSO SPRACH ZARATHUSTRA-FANFARE
    1897- HUMPERDINCK -EVENSONG
    1898- RIMSKY-KORSAKOW -THE INDIAN-SADKO
    1899- ELGAR-ENIGMA VARIATIONS
    1900- RIMSKY-KORSAKOW -DER HUMMELFLUG, SIBELIUS-FINLADIA
    1901- ELGAR-MARSH POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE
    1902- RAVEL-PAVANE POUR UNE
    1903- RACHMANINOV-PRELUDE OP.23
    1904- MAHLER-SYMPHONY NO.5
    1905- DEBUSSY-CLAIR DE LUNA
    1906- RACHMANINOV-ITALIAN POLKA
    1908- RAVEL-RAPSODY ESPANA
    1910- STRAVINSKY-SUITE FIREBIRD
    1911- STRAVINSKY-PETROUSHKA
    1912- RAVEL-DAPHNIS E CHLOE
    1913- STRAVINSKY-THE RITE OF SPRING
    1915- FALLA-RITUAL FIRE DANCE
    1917- PUCCINI-LA RONDINE
    1918- PROKOFIEV-SYMPHONY NO.1 OP.25- LARGHETTO
    1920- STRAVINSKY-MINUET
    1921- ARNOLD-PRELUDE LITTLE SUITE NO.1
    1922- SAINT SAENS-THE SWAN
    1924- GERSHWIN-RHAPSODY IN BLUE
    1926- PUCCINI-NESSUN DORMA-TURANDOT
    1928- RAVEL-BOLERO
    1929- LEGAR-JE TE RENDRAI LE COUER
    1930- STRAVINSKY-SYMPHONY OF PSALMS
    1931- STRAVINSKY-SYMPHONY OF PSALMS( POPULAR 2 YEARS)
    1932- DELIUS-PRELUDE IRMELIN
    1933- STOLZ-ZWEIHERZE UND EIN WALZER
    1934- RACHMANINOV-RHAPSODY ON A THEME OF PAGANINI
    1935- GERSHWIN-SUMMERTIME
    1936- PROKOFIEV-PETER AND WOLF
    1937- ORFF-O FORTUNA-CARMINA BURANA
    1938- PROKOFIEV-ROMEO AND JULIETTE, BARBER-ADAGIO FOR STRINGS
    1939- RODRIGO-CONCIERTO DE ARANJUEZ-ADAGIO
    1940- DUKAS-THE SORCERERS APPRENTICE
    1941- VILLA LOBOS-PRELUDE NO.1
    1942- KHACHATURIAN-SABRE DANCE
    1945- PROKOFIEV-SYMPHONY NO.5
    1948- R.STRAUSS-BEIM SCHLAFENGEHEN
    1950- PROKOFIEV-WINTER BONFIRE-THE DEPARTURE
    1951- BINGE-ELISABETH SERENADE
    1953- SHOSTAKOVICH-SYMPHONY NO.10 OP.98
    1954- PROKOFIEV-WALTZ STONE FLOWER
    1955- SHOSTAKOVICH-ROMANCE
    1956- KHACHATURIAN-ADAGIO OF SPARTACUS

  • val1980

    THE BEST COMPOSERS IN YEARS. THE BEST COMPOSITION IN YEARS WITH FIRST PUBLISHER.

    1706- BACH- TOCCATA E FUGUE
    1707- BACH- TOCCATA E FUGUE
    1711 -HANDEL-RINALDO
    1712- VIVALDI-STABAT MATER
    1713 CORELLI-CONCERTO GROSSO OP.6 NO. 3
    1716- VIVALDI-LARGO-CONCERTO-IN-D-MAJOR
    1717-HANDEL-WATER MUSIC SUITE NO.2
    1718-VIVALDI-CONCERTO FUR 2 TROMPETEN-ALLEGRO
    1719-VIVALDI-CONCERTO FOR OBOE VIOLIN IN B FLAT MAJOR RV 548
    1720-HANDEL-PASSACAGLIA
    1721-BACH-BRANDENBURG CONCERTO NO.2
    1722-BACH-AVE MARIA
    1723-BACH-BADINERIE SUITE NO.2
    1725-VIVALDI-SPRING FOUR SEASONS
    1726-BACH-PRELUDE AND FUGA-ALLEGRO
    1727-BACH-AIR SUITE NO.3
    1728-VIVALDI-FLUTE CONCERTO IN G MINOR LA NOTTE-ALLEGRO
    1729-BACH-WIR SETZEN UNS MIT TRANER NIEDER
    1730-BACH-CONCERTO FOR 2 VIOLIN-VIVACE
    1731-BACH-CANTALA WACHET AUF RAFT UNS DIE STIMME
    1732-BACH-CANTALA WACHET AUF RAFT UNS DIE STIMME ( POPULAR 2 YEARS)
    1733-HANDEL-SARABANDA
    1734-BACH-SICILIANA
    1735-BACH-ITALIAN CONCERTO-ALLEGRO
    1736- PERGOLEZI-STABAT MATER
    1738- HANDEL-LARGO AUS XERXES
    1739- HANDEL-CONCERTO IN A MINOR OP.6 NO.4
    1740- TELEMANN-TRIO SONATA OBOE HARPSICHORN IN C MINOR
    1741- BACH -THE GOLDBERG VARIATIONS-ARIA DA CAPO
    1742- HANDEL-HALLELUJAH
    1744- BACH-PRELUDE FUGA NO.2
    1749- HANDEL-MUSIC FOR THE ROYAL -LA REJOUISSANCE
    1750- BACH-OSANNA MASS IN B MINOR
    1751- BACH-THE ART OF FUGUE- CONTRAPUNTUS
    1752- CARL BACH-CONCERTO D MOLL
    1755- LEOPOLD MOZART-DAS ROLLEN AUF DEM SCHLITTEN
    1762- GLUCK-DANCE OF THE BLESSED SPIRTIS
    1764- W.MOZART-MENUET
    1767- GLUCK-ARCESTE OVERTURE
    1768- HAYDN-SERENADA
    1772- HAYDN-SYMPHONY NO.45
    1775- MOZART-VIOLIN CONCERTO NO.3
    1776- MOZART-SERENATA NOTTURNA
    1777- MOZART-SYMPHONY CONCERTANTE
    1778- MOZART- FLUTE CONCERTO NO.2
    1779- MOZART-SYMPHONY CONCERTANTE
    1782- MOZART-SYMPHONY NO.3 HAFFNER
    1784- MOZART-RONDO ALLA TURCO
    1785- MOZART-PIANO CONCERTO NO.20
    1786- MOZART- OVERTURE THE MARRIGE OF FIGARO
    1787- MOZART- EINE KLEINE NACHTMUSIK
    1788- MOZART- SYMPHONY NO.40
    1789- HAYDN-SYMPHONY NO.88 FINAL
    1790- HAYDN-STRING OP.64 NO.5 THE LARK
    1791- MOZART- REQUIEM LACRIMOSA
    1794- HAYDN-SYMPHONY NO.101 FINALE-VIVACE
    1795- HAYDN-SYMPHONY NO.104
    1796- BEETHOVEN-MINUET IN G
    1798- HAYDN-THE CREATION
    1799- BEETHOVEN-PIANO SONATA NO.8 IN C MINOR
    1800- HAYDN-TRUMPET CONCERTO
    1802- BEETHOVEN-MOONLIGHT SONATA
    1804- BEETHOVEN-SYMPHONY NO.3 EROICA
    1805- BEETHOVEN-ROMANCE VIOLIN OP.50 NO.2
    1806- BEETHOVEN-PIANO CONCERTO NO.4
    1807- BEETHOVEN-PIANO SONATA NO.23 APPASSIONATA
    1808- BEETHOVEN-SYMPHONY NO.5
    1809- BEETHOVEN-SYMPHONY NO.5 ( POPULAR 2 YEARS)
    1810- BEETHOVEN-FUR ELISE
    1811- BEETHOVEN-PIANO CONCERTO NO.5 OP.73
    1813- BEETHOVEN-SYMPHONY NO.7 THE EMPEROR
    1816- ROSSINI-OVERTURE THE BARBER OF SEVILLE
    1819- PAGANINI-CAPRICCIO 124
    1821- WEBER-OVERTURE DER FREISCHUTZ
    1822- BEETHOVEN-SONATA PIANO NO.32 MAESTOSO-ALLEGRO
    1823- SCHUBERT-DIE SCHONE MULLERIN
    1824- BEETHOVEN-SYMPHONY NO.9
    1826- SCHUBERT-AVE MARIA
    1827- MENDELSSOHN-A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM
    1828- SCHUBERT-SERENADE
    1829- ROSSINI-OVERTURE WILLIAM TELL
    1830- BERLIOZ-SYMPHONY FANTASTIQUE
    1831- CHOPIN-ETUDE OP.10 NO.12
    1832- CHOPIN-WALTZ OP.7 NO.12
    1833- MENDELSSOHN-SYMPHONY NO.4 ITALIA
    1834- CHOPIN-WALTZ OP.18
    1835- CHOPIN-WALTZ OP.69 NO.2
    1836- CHOPIN-BALLADE NO.1
    1837- MENDELSSOHN-ON WINGS SONGS
    1838- SCHUMANN-KINDERZENEN OP.15 TRAUMEREI
    1839- SCHUBERT-SYMPHONY NO.9 THE GREAT
    1840- SCHUMANN-DICHTERLIEBE
    1841- MENDELSSOHN-SPRING SONG
    1842- CHOPIN-POLONAISE OP.53 HEROIC
    1843- WAGNER-DER FLIEGENDE HOLLANDER
    1845- WAGNER-OVERTURE TANNHEUSER
    1846- SUPPE-OVERTURE POET AND POESANT, SCHUMANN-PIANO CONCERTO OP.54-ALLEGRO
    1847- CHOPIN-WALTZ OP.64 NO.2
    1848- J.STRAUSS I-RADETZKY MARSH
    1850- LISZT-LIEBESTRAUM NO.3
    1851- VERDI-RIGOLETTO
    1852- J.STRAUSS II-ANNEN POLKA
    1853- VERDI-LA TRAVIATA
    1854- LISZT-LES PRELUDES
    1855- CHOPIN-FANTASIE IMPORTU
    1856- GLINKA-WALTZ FANTASIA
    1857- LISZT-PIANO CONCERTO NO.2
    1858- MENDELSSOHN-WEDDING MARSH, OFFENBACH-ORPHEUS IN THE UNDER WORLD
    1859- GOUNOD-WALTZER AUS FAUST
    1860- RUBINSTEIN-ROMANCE
    1861- J.STRAUSS II-PERPETUM MOBILE
    1862- VERDI-OVERTURE THE FORCE OF DESTINY
    1863- BIZET-AND FOND DUTEMPLE SAINT
    1864- GRIEG-I LOVE YOU
    1865- BRAHMS-WALTZ OP.39 NO.15
    1866- SMETANA-OVERTURE THE BARTERED
    1867- J.STRAUSS II-WALTZ THE BLUE DANUBE
    1868- BRAHMS-WIEGENLIED OP.49 NO.4
    1869- GRIEG-KLAVIERKONZERT OP.16-ALLEGRO
    1870- WAGNER-RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES
    1871- VERDI-TRIUMPH MARSH-AIDA
    1872- BIZET-L ARLESIENNE INTERMEZZO
    1873- TCHAIKOVSKY-NOCTURNE IN C
    1874- VERDI-MESSA DA REQUIEM
    1875- BIZET-LES TOREADORES-CARMEN
    1876- GRIEG-MORNING
    1877- TCHAIKOVSKY-SWAN LAKE-1 WALTZ
    1878- TCHAIKOVSKY-SYMPHONY NO.4 FINALE
    1879- TCHAIKOVSKY-POLONAISE EVGENE ONEGIN
    1880- TCHAIKOVSKY-OVERTURE FANTASIA ROMEO AND JULIETTE
    1881- TCHAIKOVSKY-CAPRICCIO ITALIANO
    1882- TCHAIKOVSKY-1812 OVERTURE
    1883- J.STRAUSS II-WALTZ FRUHLINGSSTIMMEN
    1884- GRIEG-HOLBERG SUITE OP.40 PRELUDE
    1885- BRAHMS-SYMPHONY NO.4 OP.98-ANDANTE MODERATO
    1886- MUSSORGSKY-A NIGHT ON THE BALD MOUNTAIN
    1887- VERDI-OTELLO
    1888- SATIE-GYMPODEPIC NO.1
    1889- J.STRAUSS II-KAIZER WLAZER
    1890- TCHAIKOVSKY- OVERTURE THE SLEEPING BEAUTY
    1891- MUSSORGSKY-PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION
    1892- TCHAIKOVSKY- WALTZ OF THE FLOWERS- THE NUTCRACKER
    1893- DVORAK-SYMPHONY NO.9 NEW WORLD
    1894- DVORAK-HUMORESQUE
    1895- BOELLMANN-SUITE GOTIQUE OP.25
    1896- R.STRAUSS -ALSO SPRACH ZARATHUSTRA-FANFARE
    1897- HUMPERDINCK -EVENSONG
    1898- RIMSKY-KORSAKOW -THE INDIAN-SADKO
    1899- ELGAR-ENIGMA VARIATIONS
    1900- RIMSKY-KORSAKOW -DER HUMMELFLUG, SIBELIUS-FINLADIA
    1901- ELGAR-MARSH POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE
    1902- RAVEL-PAVANE POUR UNE
    1903- RACHMANINOV-PRELUDE OP.23
    1904- MAHLER-SYMPHONY NO.5
    1905- DEBUSSY-CLAIR DE LUNA
    1906- RACHMANINOV-ITALIAN POLKA
    1908- RAVEL-RAPSODY ESPANA
    1910- STRAVINSKY-SUITE FIREBIRD
    1911- STRAVINSKY-PETROUSHKA
    1912- RAVEL-DAPHNIS E CHLOE
    1913- STRAVINSKY-THE RITE OF SPRING
    1915- FALLA-RITUAL FIRE DANCE
    1917- PUCCINI-LA RONDINE
    1918- PROKOFIEV-SYMPHONY NO.1 OP.25- LARGHETTO
    1920- STRAVINSKY-MINUET
    1921- ARNOLD-PRELUDE LITTLE SUITE NO.1
    1922- SAINT SAENS-THE SWAN
    1924- GERSHWIN-RHAPSODY IN BLUE
    1926- PUCCINI-NESSUN DORMA-TURANDOT
    1928- RAVEL-BOLERO
    1929- LEGAR-JE TE RENDRAI LE COUER
    1930- STRAVINSKY-SYMPHONY OF PSALMS
    1931- STRAVINSKY-SYMPHONY OF PSALMS( POPULAR 2 YEARS)
    1932- DELIUS-PRELUDE IRMELIN
    1933- STOLZ-ZWEIHERZE UND EIN WALZER
    1934- RACHMANINOV-RHAPSODY ON A THEME OF PAGANINI
    1935- GERSHWIN-SUMMERTIME
    1936- PROKOFIEV-PETER AND WOLF
    1937- ORFF-O FORTUNA-CARMINA BURANA
    1938- PROKOFIEV-ROMEO AND JULIETTE, BARBER-ADAGIO FOR STRINGS
    1939- RODRIGO-CONCIERTO DE ARANJUEZ-ADAGIO
    1940- DUKAS-THE SORCERERS APPRENTICE
    1941- VILLA LOBOS-PRELUDE NO.1
    1942- KHACHATURIAN-SABRE DANCE
    1945- PROKOFIEV-SYMPHONY NO.5
    1948- R.STRAUSS-BEIM SCHLAFENGEHEN
    1950- PROKOFIEV-WINTER BONFIRE-THE DEPARTURE
    1951- BINGE-ELISABETH SERENADE
    1953- SHOSTAKOVICH-SYMPHONY NO.10 OP.98
    1954- PROKOFIEV-WALTZ STONE FLOWER
    1955- SHOSTAKOVICH-ROMANCE
    1956- KHACHATURIAN-ADAGIO OF SPARTACUS

  • ArthurJermyn

    No Haydn? Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn should be joint second. 

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 24, 2014
Youths seen playing basketball through bars on a window at the Wisconsin Department of Corrections Ethan Allen School in Wales, Wis. (AP file)

The cold hard facts about juvenile prisons. And the case for shutting them all down. Plus: former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is with us.

Jul 24, 2014
Orchid (Galileo55/Flickr)

We’ll look at the new science of what plants feel, smell, see – and remember.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 23, 2014
Actor Wallace Shawn attends special screening of "Turks and Caicos" hosted by Vogue and The Cinema Society at the Crosby Street Hotel on Monday, April 7, 2014 in New York.  (AP)

From “The Princess Bride” to “My Dinner with Andre “and “A Master Builder,” actor and writer Wallace Shawn joins us.

 
Jul 23, 2014
In this Saturday, July 12, 2014, photo, migrants walk along train tracks and boxcars after getting off a train during their journey toward the US-Mexico border, in Ixtepec, southern Mexico. (AP)

Crisis at the US border. What do Latinos on this side of the border have to say? We’ll ask our special roundtable.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Where Did Nickel Creek Go?
Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

The Nickel Creek interview originally scheduled for Thursday, July 24 is rescheduled for an as-of-yet undetermined later date. We explain why.

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2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: July 11, 2014
Friday, Jul 11, 2014

As we prepare for a week of rebroadcasts, we reflect on Facebook posts, misplaced comments and the magic of @ mentions. Internet, ASSEMBLE!

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Two Former Senators, One Fix For US Democracy?
Thursday, Jul 10, 2014

Former US Senators Tom Daschle and Olympia Snowe joined us today with a few fixes for American political inaction.

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