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Best Composers By Composition Type


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Guest Ravel's Hookers

There's an idiotic, thread-derailing, pointless comment back there that you forgot to post. You're slipping up, man!

You've kindly supplied one to fill the void.

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I don't think anyone really doubts that Mozart, at his best, was a brilliant composer. It just really annoys me when people worship him as some sort of God and act like he was incapable of writing bad music. I can guarantee that you could take a piece by some absolute no-mark composer from the same period and say it was written by Mozart and some of these people would instantly proclaim it to be a work of genius.

You could probably do the same in reverse and claim a Mozart piece was written by, let's say, Fernando Sor. I bet some people would then automatically judge it as an inferior piece, regardless of the actual musical content.

I don't doubt that there are people like that, but anyone who knows his music well enough would be able to spot the deception, particularly his late-Salzburg/Vienna works which really sound nothing like anything else being written at the time.

And anyway, as Jaap has already said, it's all subjective anyway so what's the point in even arguing about it?

It's not that subjective; it's just a pain to define. Is there anyone here (or should I say, is there anyone here who doesn't want to be a dick) who thinks E.T.A. Hoffman was a better symphonist than Beethoven or that Mozart's 1st symphony is better than his 41st?

Regarding Mozart, I definitely think he was capable of writing bad music. I pretty much despise all of his symphonies up until the 20s, but have any of you ever heard his 39th, 40th, and 41st symphonies? I think it's pretty hard to deny that they're true masterpieces.

There's a difference between bad and boring, but his boring pieces will get more exposure simply because they're by Mozart.

Anyway, I wouldn't discount #38, which might have, in my mind, the greatest first movement of any of his symphonies (if only slightly). It's a bit of an odd duck because it lacks a dance movement and all the movements are in sonata form. Numbers 35 and 36 are also good, but maybe not on quite the same level as the ones mentioned.

From what I've seen, that might be asking too much from some members. Worst thing - they don't even manage to be funny.

Yeah, but they're amusing themselves and that's all that matters to them.

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Or we could try having mature discussions that don't digress to personal stabs at each other's composition styles.

From what I can see, a large percent of the public admires Mozart's music because it's all they really know, and they like what they've heard. However, I would trust that most people on this website have been exposed to multiple other composers and styles, and thus, they have the right to take an informed position on what is better. If someone has listened to both classical and modern music and decides, "wow, classical music is waaayyyy better", then by all means they are entitled to that opinion.

Regarding Mozart, I definitely think he was capable of writing bad music. I pretty much despise all of his symphonies up until the 20s, but have any of you ever heard his 39th, 40th, and 41st symphonies? I think it's pretty hard to deny that they're true masterpieces.

i always found the slow movements of no. 41 in particular rather boring. i suppose the outer movements are masterpieces. the piano concerto kv 595 is kind of like a distillation of the last three symphonies into a structure that's interesting throughout, and for my money is the better work. that shouldn't be surprising considering the primacy of the piano concerto in mozart's output though.

a lot of mozart's music is not very good but then he wrote 600+ pieces. not everything's going to be amazing with an output of that size. bach has missteps, too.

I would also have to agree with Austenite that no one on this site has yet written something that can counter the perfection of one of Mozart's masterpieces. Of course, there are many who would denounce the criteria I would use to determine what a "masterpiece" really is, but I suppose I've already written too much.

well, no one on this site has the extensive experience & training that mozart did, nor do they live in a similar social context that would encourage them the same way mozart was, etc. there's really no comparison possible. the times are too different.

Well if a composer writes formidable Mozart style-copies, they would be too famous and rich to spend time on YC.....right?

it's not hard to write music "in the style of" mozart, beethoven, brahms, etc, that sounds reasonably convincing to an untrained ear. every music student's expected to be able to do it. i even wrote a whole symphony in the style of late haydn/early beethoven one time. the nature of our society is such that even if said copies were as good as or better than the originals they would receive nothing like the same attention, since the works of mozart et al. are preserved within a canon to which no new pieces can ever be added. essentially, popular opinion has it not only that mozart was the greatest composer in his style at the time, but that mozart is the greatest composer possible in his style—no one can ever outdo him on his own turf. that's perhaps a wrong assumption, but it's a persistent one.

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I don't doubt that there are people like that, but anyone who knows his music well enough would be able to spot the deception, particularly his late-Salzburg/Vienna works which really sound nothing like anything else being written at the time.

I would agree. This would possibly explain why said people tend to be absolute morons.

It's not that subjective; it's just a pain to define. Is there anyone here (or should I say, is there anyone here who doesn't want to be a dick) who thinks E.T.A. Hoffman was a better symphonist than Beethoven or that Mozart's 1st symphony is better than his 41st?

Taste is subjective. The only objective criteria you could judge composers by would be technical ability, in which case there's no use comparing an amateur like Hoffman to Beethoven. When you start comparing composers of more or less, equal compositional ability to each other such as Beethoven and Mozart, you aren't comparing them objectively; you're comparing them within the framework of your own personal taste.

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  • 8 months later...

Minuet: Mozart

Waltz: Chopin

Rhapsody: Liszt

Impromptu: Chopin, Fauré

Barcarolle: Fauré

Bagatelle: Beethoven

Mélodie: Fauré

Prelude: Bach, Chopin, Rachmaninoff

Arabesque: Debussy

Fugue: Bach, Brahms

Theme and variations: Mozart, Beethoven, Fauré

Rondo: Chopin, Beethoven

Étude: Chopin, Liszt, Alkan, Henselt, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Debussy

Piano sonata: Beethoven, Scriabin

Polonaise: Chopin

Fantasia: Mozart

Mazurka: Chopin, Szymanowski, Cui

Scherzo: Chopin

Ballade: Chopin

Nocturne: Field, Chopin, Fauré

Renaissance: Byrd, Bull

Impressionist: Debussy, Ravel

Impossible: Ravel, Beethoven, Balakirev, Stravinsky; Liszt, Alkan, Rachmaninoff

Moments musicaux: Schubert, Rachmaninoff

Stuff that sounds horrible to most people because, apparently, they aren't understood: Schoenberg, Berg, Roslavets

Stuff without words: Mendelssohn, Fauré

Stuff to do with dreams: Liszt

Stuff that starts with 'liebe': Kriesler, Liszt, Schubert

Stuff that ends with 'szenen': Schumann

Edited by hlookup
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Hooray for getting this topic back on track! This is more of a list of "favourites" rather than "best" (as I think is the case with all responses to a topic like this.)

 

Lieder/"Art" Song: Mahler, Strauss, Debussy, Ives, Barber

Symphony: Mahler, Ives, Schnittke, Rautavaara

Tone Poem: Debussy, Scriabin, Sibelius
Opera: Strauss, Korngold, Berg, Britten, Adams, Saariaho

Concerti (in general): Schnittke, Rautavaara, Lindberg
Concerto (violin): Barber

Concerto (piano): Ravel, Barber, Rhapsody in Blue
Wind Ensemble/Band: Joseph Schwantner, Karel Husa
Chamber Music: Crumb, Saariaho, George Rochberg, Paul Moravec  (one of the few genres in which I find late 20th/early 21st century music to be among the most interesting, apparently)
Film score: Korngold, Herrmann, John Williams (yes, really!), Bruno Coulais

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Minuet: Mozart

Waltz: Chopin

Rhapsody: Liszt

Impromptu: Chopin, Fauré

Barcarolle: Fauré

Bagatelle: Beethoven

Mélodie: Fauré

Prelude: Bach, Chopin, Rachmaninoff

Arabesque: Debussy

Fugue: Bach

Rondo: Chopin, Beethoven

Étude: Chopin, Liszt, Alkan, Henselt, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Debussy

Piano sonata: Beethoven, Scriabin

Polonaise: Chopin

Mazurka: Chopin, Szymanowski, Cui

Scherzo: Chopin

Ballade: Chopin

Nocturne: Field, Chopin, Fauré

Renaissance: Byrd, Bull

Impressionist: Debussy, Ravel

Impossible: Ravel, Beethoven, Balakirev, Stravinsky; Liszt, Alkan, Rachmaninoff

Moments musicaux: Schubert, Rachmaninoff

Stuff that sounds horrible to most people because, apparently, they aren't understood: Schoenberg, Berg, Roslavets

Stuff without words: Mendelssohn, Fauré

Stuff to do with dreams: Liszt

Stuff that starts with 'liebe': Kriesler, Liszt, Schubert

Stuff that ends with 'szenen': Schumann

 

piano represent yo

 

revised list:

orchestra - webern, cage, feldman, messiaen

music with singing - ars subtilior, tallis, bach, zelenka, mozart, stravinsky, sciarrino

electroniques seul - kayn, stockhausen, ferreyra, barrett (natasha)

electroniques with instruments - mitterer, nono, barrett (richard), plus de stockhausen, ferneyhough, berio

pianoforte -

--- sonatas for the pianoforte - beethoven, schubert, schumann, medtner, skryabin, roslavets

--- fugues und ricercare for the pianoforte - frescobaldi, froberger, sweelinck, bach, reicha

--- studies for the pianoforte - scarlatti, alkan, debussy, sorabji, ligeti

--- other concerted works for the pianoforte - chopin, brahms, busoni, satie, skalkottas, stockhausen, finnissy

--- concerti for pianoforte con o senza orchestra - bach, alkan, busoni, carter, gerhard, et finnissy encore

solo works excluding pianoforte - bach, berio, xenakis, johnson (evan)

string quartet - mozart, beethoven, janáček, bartók, kagel, lachenmann, johnston, radulescu

other chamber music - brahms, ives, kurtág, xenakis, andre (mark)

music theatre and other things that don't fit elsewhere - kagel, stockhausen, globokar, barrett (richard), poppe (enno)

free improvisation - [abstain]

 

list subject to unpredictable fluctuations

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  • 10 years later...

Overall: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Symphonies: Tchaikovsky

Operas: W.S. Gilbert & Arthur Sullivan 😉 

Piano pieces: Frédéric Chopin & Moritz Moszkowski

Violin pieces: Edvard Grieg & Camille Saint-Saëns

String quartets/quintets: Tchaikovsky & Joachim Raff

Piano chamber music: Raff & Felix Mendelssohn

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