10 Greatest Composers?

February 2, 2011 at 10:26 AM | Posted in Music | 1 Comment
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Recently I praised the NY Times in its traditional Sunday format. Now I take a step forward and contradict myself by saying that today’s interactive, music playing Times is the best Times ever. I offer as evidence a recent series by Anthony Tommasini, their Chief Music Critic. He posed the question, “Who are the 10 Greatest Composers of all time?” Before we can get on our high horse, he tells he knows it’s silly to rate composers and music;  it’s art after all. In spite of that, who’s the best and let’s get the discussion started. The series began on paper but before long we were using electricity.

There were two basic rules to the Top 10: living composers were excluded and the picking started with the Baroque era, which ended with in 1750 with the death of Bach. So, Bach! In anybody’s Top 10, Bach has his place and so too here. Tommasini includes a wonderful video, playing the piano and at one point ties Bach to Alban Berg, who died in 1935.

After each article in the electronic NY Times, there are comments by readers and at one point in the series there were upwards of 3000. That is great! I found the ones I read very interesting as they praised or condemned the idea of the list itself and then, as Tommasini, drip by drip, as his articles were published, let out his choices, gave their own favorites. I did as well which I will disclose in another post. I was involved and I just loved that!

Here are Tommasini’s Top 10, in order:

  • Bach
  • Beethoven
  • Mozart
  • Schubert
  • Debussy
  • Stravinsky
  • Brahms
  • Verdi
  • Wagner
  • Bartok

Here is Tommasini’s final article in the series, explaining it all.

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  1. [...] recently blogged on Anthony Tommasini’s series of articles in the NY Times in which he named and defended his Top Ten Composers. I responded to one of his [...]


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