"The Ten Greatest Composers" -- NY Times's new list
Posted 23 January 2011 - 05:55 AM
1) J.S. Bach
Any agreements or disagreements about names, rankings, etc.? Or ... questions about just how meaningful this project is?
It was nice to see at least three composers who wrote directly for ballet and were interested in and challenged by the art -- Debussy, Stravinsky, and Bartok. (Thank you Messrs. Diaghilev and Balanchine.) I guess if you include music composed for mandatory ballet sequences in operas, you have to add Verdi and Wagner and possibly more.
Posted 23 January 2011 - 06:58 AM
Posted 23 January 2011 - 07:19 AM
Posted 23 January 2011 - 07:48 AM
Posted 23 January 2011 - 08:47 AM
Edited: Oops..I see there were some comments about it. Anyway...if he's not there, that list is useless. Rebelling and so listening to "Little Russian" as I write...
Posted 23 January 2011 - 08:53 AM
Posted 23 January 2011 - 09:13 AM
Verdi and Wagner wrote little beyond opera. I suspect that if Tomassini had considered ballet, Tchaikovsky's other works, the majority of his output, might have neutralized selecting him.
Posted 23 January 2011 - 12:22 PM
I understand the exclusion of Tchaikovsky. His music is too uneven for him to qualify for the top ten. For every moment of unadulterated genius like the White Swan adagio or Letter Scene, there are demerits like the 1812 Overture, most of the Fourth Symphony, the "Uzhel' teper'" chorus from Eugene Onegin (I always burst out in giggles when it starts) or that absurd number from Swan Lake Ashton used for his pas de quatre coda. The last barely qualifies as music at all. (Skip ahead to 5:42 http://www.youtube.c...h?v=Go8GDWx_5JQ.) I happily concede that Tchaikovsky is the greatest ever composer for winds.
Posted 23 January 2011 - 01:16 PM
My list would include (not in any order):
1) J S Bach - because he develops everything as he goes on and, as Rosen or Adorno point out, never has to recapitulate at the end.
2) Beethoven - for the sonatas, the bagatelles, and all the odd variation sets (Olli Mustonen has a wonderful disc of them) and the late string quartets.
3) Mozart - for the concertos and the piano variations, which include the real "Mozartiana," and the quartets dedicated to Haydn.
4) Haydn - the piano sonatas and Variations in F
5) Debussy - especially in the robust architecture and playfulness of Richter's 1967 live Spoleto recordings of Book I & II Preludes - complete with the thud of a chair crashing to the floor
6) Satie - an important influence on Stravinsky and Debussy - for his work for Diaghilev; for his music for sea cucumbers
9) Mahler - for the most wonderful live music performance experiences there can ever be
10) One of the contemporary Italians - Donatoni or Castiglioni
Stravinsky I like a lot for his wonderful patchwork colors and the brilliance of the early work. But it seems he's often getting by on a pass - is it because he really doesn't develop any ideas?
Posted 23 January 2011 - 06:40 PM
If such lists were a question of personal taste, I have to confess that I would leave out Debussy. But, after reading Howard Goodall's chapter "Music and the Ballets Russes," (*) I see this composer in a new light -- as enormously innovative and deeply influential on other composers (including Stravinsky) as well as on audience taste.
(*) In Jane Pritchard, ed., Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909-1929.
Posted 24 January 2011 - 04:33 PM
Posted 24 January 2011 - 05:14 PM
I know you won't agree with me, Cristian,..
Give me-(or give HIM)- another chance...pleeeeeeease.
Posted 24 January 2011 - 05:42 PM
I find Wagner's "Rienzi" crass, and other great composers had a bomb or two -- and Mozart was the king of recyling -- but I think that was the exception to the rule.
I know you won't agree with me, Cristian, but this example only confirms for me why Tchaikovsky didn't make Tommasini's list. I can't imagine any of his preferred composers writing anything so bombastic (not even Wagner) or crass.
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