What happened to the category of artists we recognize as Greatest Composers?

(Bill Ames) #1

Top 15 Greatest Composers Of All Time, yes, a list from the web. There are names missing, and one can make a case; there are names that could be removed.

Johann Sebastian Bach
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Ludwig van Beethoven
Richard Wagner
Franz Schubert
Robert Schumann
Frederic Chopin
Franz Liszt
Johannes Brahms
Giuseppe Verdi
Gustav Mahler
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Sergei Rachmaninov
George Frederick Handel
Franz Joseph Haydn

My question is, “Where are the current representations of these people?” Creative people did not stop writing or painting or acting. Why have people who can compose stop composing or have we lost this category of artists?

One can point to the people who produce the music scores for our movies, and I would point out that they were using what was on the screen to inspire their work. If they are the replacement for the people from my list where are their original works that are comparable to the achievements of the individuals on the list?

(Mark's Myth) #2

If you remove your expectations of “comparable” and listen carefully you will find brilliance in many composers of our times…

Here is the minimalist top line…

My best friend in Germany has made a number of films with these composers. For example…

Here is another featuring Kronos Quartet playing the music of a number of modern composers (I actually worked on this one):

About 4: Kronos Quartet
Film portrait about the string quartet from San Francisco: David Harrington (violin), John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola) and Jean Jeanrenaud (cello); including an interview with Polish composer Henry Mikolay Górecki; shot in Italy, Poland and USA.
Camera: Jörg Jeshel
Graphic Design: Alexander Urban

• Wawshishijay by Obo Addy (1991)
• Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector by Terry Riley (1981)
• Black Angels by George Crumb (1970)
• Soliloloquy by Scott Johnson (1992)
• Escalay by Hamza el Din (1989)
• Cat o’Nine Tails by John Zorn (1990)
• String Quartet No 2 Quasi Una Fantasia by Henry Mikolay Górecki (1991)

(Bill Ames) #3

I am not looking for people who write and play music that is of some other type. I am looking for people who compose and play music as those in my list did. Assume it will be played by a full orchestra. Wiki speaks:

The typical symphony orchestra consists of four groups of related musical instruments called the woodwinds, brass, percussion, and strings.

This is the music I am looking for and want to know where are the new generation of composers.

(Mark's Myth) #4

I have provided you with an incredible list of contemporary composers who all play and have music played by many different types of orchestras including traditional symphony. Like I said, listen and open your expectations… learn where this art form is heading these days.

(Bill Ames) #5

Do you have an example of any of these new composers classical music symphonies that are well know and popular based on how often the orchestras of the world play the works? Just a few examples will do. A link to their work on youtube would be helpful. This should be very easy to do if they are really classical music composers of today.

(Mark's Myth) #6

Just like your heroes you mentioned… time will tell.

PS you shifted the question from “greatest” to “classical” which is a conundrum as Classical refers to a time in history. I am opening the door to new composers as you originally asked.

(ACD) #7

Don’t you worship at the altar of Cats?

(Bill Ames) #8

The list was of classical composers. If there are no people who can produce music like the people on my list that is acceptable. I wonder why none will aspire to match the composers. Perhaps the people of today lack something.

(Mark's Myth) #9

Today is not yesteryear. They lack being alive hundreds of years ago. Context my friend, context. The composers of today have a different take on it all. If we do not open ourselves to exploring where a question may unexpectedly lead are we able to learn? This is to me is the part of ideapod I appreciate. Many times you have wandered in your replies and I have still followed and learned something new.

I hope you take some time to follow the links I have provided as their music is something to behold.

(Bill Ames) #10

So you have no examples and there are no more great composers. So sad.

(ACD) #11

So no to Sir Andrew? :wink:

(Mark's Myth) #12

Don’t give up so easily Bill…


Thanks for sending me on a journey.

(ACD) #13

Forty years ago at Ronnie Scott’s, I heard Branson play with his brother Wynton and Art Blakey!

(Bill Ames) #14


PS: I went to see Cats and enjoyed it very much despite having a massive headache from too much coffee prior to the show.

(ACD) #15

I have vowed never to see or hear it despite its omnipresence. I will be glad when the reign of ALW has ended. His popularity tends to support Bill’s argument!

(ACD) #16

“This is Mozart’s revolution: not political but personal. He was nobody’s servant, he took his commissions where he found them, writing and playing for aristocrats, the bourgeoisie, and the general public as well. It is the social revolution in miniature, the unleashing of creative energy too long trapped under a rigid class system. And what energy: symphonies, sonatas, concerti, chamber works, operas both seria and buffa. He wrote masterworks in every genre. Had film scores and jingles been available, he would have written those too. I can’t think of another composer who even approaches this kind of breadth.”

(Bill Ames) #17

I prefer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky over the piano player. But that is just personal taste. It would be interesting to see how well most on the list would do scoring movies. But we agree, don’t we, that today’s current crop can not turn the pages for the musicians on my list.

(ACD) #18

Bach is the epitome of musical creativity.

(Bill Ames) #19

Thank you for making my point by giving an example of someone from my list rather than a new current composer.

If we are giving examples I see your Bach and raise you

(ACD) #20

Mahler is the apogee of the grand symphony orchestra movement at the end of the 19th century. I sang his 8th in a chorus of 1000 at at the Royal Albert accompanied by the London Philharmonic. We were a literal wall of sound positioned as we were in steeply terraced seats up the wall behin the stage. It was magnificent!