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It's a simple question, yet it could be a nice debate topic: In your opinion, who are the 5 most underrated and the 5 most overrated composers? You may answer through a plain old list, but this can work better if you'd want to explain why do you consider this or that particular composer as underrated / overrated. Of course this will be controversial - that's exactly the very point of it. For instance, this would be my (short) answer. Top 5 underrated composers: 1) Tchaikovsky: come on, everyone knows at least one tune by him, yet he's not as much of a household name as, for example, Bach. Also, I've read a lot of critics attempting to explain away his popularity as some sort of a fluke, rather than sheer talent and craftmanship. Never mind the Nutcracker or 1812 - he wrote superb operas (The Maid of Orleans) and orchestral works such as the Danish Anthem Overture Op. 15, or the Elegy for Strings. 2) Haydn: he created the sonata form almost from scratch, wrote more symphonies than Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Bruckner, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich combined, and yet he's always confused with / overshadowed by Mozart. 3) Frederick Delius: listen to something by him and you'll know why I'm listing him. 4) Mendelssohn: he'd be regarded as a clean-cut top tier composer if not for Wagner using racial bias to berate him. Also, he has a Mozart-like biography but no Oscar-winning biopic. 5) John Williams: everyone is quick to accuse him of ripping off Wagner, Holst or Tchaikovsky - but hey, try to imagine Star Wars, Jaws or Indiana Jones with another music. Also, he has many other worthy pieces. Honorable mentions: Shostakovich, Mahler, Kalinnikov, Berlioz, Sibelius, Rachmaninov, Elgar, Holst, Alban Berg, Karl Orff, Camille Saint-Saëns. Top 5 overrated composers: 1) Richard Strauss: in my view, little more than a Wagner clone writing tone poems rather than operas. And the oh-so-overplayed fanfare from Also Sprach Zarathustra... 2) Anton Bruckner: almost always placed side-by-side with Mahler with no apparent reason other than writing 9 (or 11?) large symphonies. Personally, though, I find most of Bruckner's to be long, stately borefests. 3) Hans Zimmer: Mr. D-minor Rhythmic Pattern. And that's it. 4) Mozart: yes, he's actually regarded as the Chosen One. And yes, I love a lot of his works. Yet I find this assessment to be somewhat exaggerated - Haydn could match him rather easily, not to mention Beethoven. 5) Wagner: granted, his influence is almost unescapable - but I can't recall any other composer actively campaigning to be influential and berating his competitors, except maybe Boulez. No one else can claim to have overrated himself so much. Dishonorable mentions: John Cage (seriously, silence?), Bartok (no match for Stravinsky, despite how hard he tried), Boulez (as stated above, although I do respect him as a conductor), Vivaldi (he wrote the Four Seasons, then rewrote them about 600 more times), most of the 20th century bunch. Done. Let the piefest begin...
Now you can vote for each of 20 composers named at least once in the Overrated-Underrated thread, listed in no particular order. This way we can see how many of our fellow YC members have similar opinions on said composers. Please note that I would have liked to list every single composer named in that thread, but that would have been too many questions. The options are very simple: tell us if said composer is, in your view, overrated, underrated, neither, or if you've never heard of him at all. Enjoy the ride!