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The current issue of BBC Music Magazine (Dec 2019) has a feature on the 50 Greatest Composers as voted for by 174 contemporary composers, ranging from Kalevi Aho to Unsuk Chin to Ola Gjeilo to Jennifer Higdon to Stephen Hough to Lowell Liebermann to Magnus Lindberg to Roxanna Panufnik to Steve Reich to Bent Sørensen to John Williams (to pick a few of the more well-known names). Each of them was allowed to nominate five composers, then the votes were counted.

A few surprises.... grin

Here are the top ten (from No.1 to 10):

1) Bach
2) Stravinsky
3) Beethoven
4) Mozart
5) Debussy
6) Ligeti
7) Mahler
8) Wagner
9) Ravel
10) Monteverdi

I know everyone wants to know where Freddy, everyone's favorite composer (except mine wink ) is placed.

He is at No.20, just below Reich and Brahms. Of the two well-known pianist-composers, Hough and Montero, only Hough voted for Chopin as one of his five.

The highest-placed contemporary composer (and woman) is Kaija Saariaho at No.17. (BTW, she wasn't one of the voters). Which I agree with thumb.

Poor old Rach is No.50 cry, just below Schumann and Boulez.....

Of course, we'd get a completely different set of results if the voting was by pianists (Monteverdi probably won't even figure in the list), but it's interesting to see which composers are considered 'great' by other composers.


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Bogus.

1) Me myself
2) Max Richter
3) Stravinsky
4) Liszt
5) Ferneyhough
6) Polyphonist
7) Arvo Pärt
8) Palestrina
9) My HS composition teacher
10) C. P. E. Bach

...

34) Bach

...

48) Webern
49) Stockhausen
50) Mozart

...

...

...

3481) Rachmaninov

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Originally Posted by NervousWreck123
Bogus.

1) Me myself
2) Max Richter
3) Stravinsky
4) Liszt
5) Ferneyhough
6) Polyphonist
7) Arvo Pärt
8) Palestrina
9) My HS composition teacher
10) C. P. E. Bach

...

34) Bach

...

48) Webern
49) Stockhausen
50) Mozart

...

...

...

3481) Rachmaninov

Where does PDQ Bach (the greatest Bach in the canon) fit in your list?

Hmmmm, it's time for https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lauw7hvzDkE


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Is the full list available? Where did Schubert come?


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Originally Posted by WTM
Is the full list available? Where did Schubert come?


OK, if you insist - here's the rest:

11) Britten
12) Sibelius
13) Messiaen
14) Bartók
15) Shostakovich
16) Haydn
17) Saariaho
18) Brahms
19) Reich
20) Chopin
21) Vaughan Williams
22) Schoenberg
23) Gesualdo
24) Janáček
25) Schubert
26) Gershwin
27) Glass
28) Ives
29) Prokofiev
30) Lutoslawski
31) Cage
32) Tchaikovsky
33) Berg
34) Feldman
35) Varèse
36) Webern
37) Byrd
38) R.Strauss
39) Verdi
40) Elgar
41) Birtwistle
42) Knussen
43) Sondheim
44) Stockhausen
45) Satie
46) Tallis
47) Hildegard von Bingen
48) Boulez
49) Schumann
50) Rachmaninov

Poor old Franz is obviously not innovative enough for contemporaries. The other Franz (Liszt) is nowhere to be seen......

And how come Sondheim is there but not Lennie??


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by NervousWreck123
Bogus.

1) Me myself
2) Max Richter
3) Stravinsky
4) Liszt
5) Ferneyhough
6) Polyphonist
7) Arvo Pärt
8) Palestrina
9) My HS composition teacher
10) C. P. E. Bach

...

34) Bach

...

48) Webern
49) Stockhausen
50) Mozart

...

...

...

3481) Rachmaninov

Where does PDQ Bach (the greatest Bach in the canon) fit in your list?

Hmmmm, it's time for https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lauw7hvzDkE


PDQ is no. 14.

And I forgot Glass... crap

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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by WTM
Is the full list available? Where did Schubert come?


OK, if you insist - here's the rest:

11) Britten
12) Sibelius
13) Messiaen
14) Bartók
15) Shostakovich
16) Haydn
17) Saariaho
18) Brahms
19) Reich
20) Chopin
21) Vaughan Williams
22) Schoenberg
23) Gesualdo
24) Janáček
25) Schubert
26) Gershwin
27) Glass
28) Ives
29) Prokofiev
30) Lutoslawski
31) Cage
32) Tchaikovsky
33) Berg
34) Feldman
35) Varèse
36) Webern
37) Byrd
38) R.Strauss
39) Verdi
40) Elgar
41) Birtwistle
42) Knussen
43) Sondheim
44) Stockhausen
45) Satie
46) Tallis
47) Hildegard von Bingen
48) Boulez
49) Schumann
50) Rachmaninov

Poor old Franz is obviously not innovative enough for contemporaries. The other Franz (Liszt) is nowhere to be seen......

And how come Sondheim is there but not Lennie??


Boulez at no. 48) is a head scratcher.

I've never heard of Knussen, Birdwhistle or von Bingen... and yet Liszt is not even on the List.

My Estonian pride is also deeply hurt by not seeing Pärt on the list.

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The way the poll is organized, in fact these composers did not rank 50 but only 5 each. Basically after the first 10 or 15, the ranking of all the other ones does not mean anything. So it is just a mathematically statistical result not the result of an actual ranking.


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Originally Posted by Sidokar
The way the poll is organized, in fact these composers did not rank 50 but only 5 each. Basically after the first 10 or 15, the ranking of all the other ones does not mean anything. So it is just a mathematically statistical result not the result of an actual ranking.

There is a statistical interpretation that can be made though - that very few of the 174 living composers ranked Rachmaninoff (for example) among their top 5 composers.


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Originally Posted by Sidokar
The way the poll is organized, in fact these composers did not rank 50 but only 5 each. Basically after the first 10 or 15, the ranking of all the other ones does not mean anything. So it is just a mathematically statistical result not the result of an actual ranking.

I agree in principle, which was why I only gave the first ten in my OP.

Incidentally, one or two of the voters tried hard to skew the results, e.g. John Corigliano voted for Beethoven, Beethoven, Beethoven, Beethoven, Beethoven. Another composer voted Bruckner x 5, but to no avail.

Poor old Anton...... smirk

But it does give us an idea which composers today's composers think are great, which don't tally with the views of the general musical public: Schubert and Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov will certainly be much higher than Monteverdi, likely in the top ten; and Stravinsky and Ligeti will be a lot lower.


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Most of the top 10 is to be expected. I was surprised by Ligeti and to some extent Stravinsky. On the other hand there are plenty of composers not even listed. Also very surprising that Schumann is not much appreciated.


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IMO only...
1. Beethoven
2. Bach
3. Mozart
4. Brahms
5. Haydn
6. Schumann
7. Chopin
8. Liszt
9.Schubert
10. Shostakovitch
11. Ravel
12. Debussy
13. Granados
14-20. Pick-A-Russian


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My response to the results:


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Lol. Schumann below Elgar and Feldman?

At least Ives is somewhat high up.

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
My response to the results:




Yes, a big joke to me as well.



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Where's Zipoli? Oh yes ... here I am again. Not only on the wrong planet, which is hard enough, but in the wrong century which is downright miserable. cry

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Originally Posted by NobleHouse
Originally Posted by Mark_C
My response to the results:



Yes, a big joke to me as well.

Just shows how few composers actually understand what people like!


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Interesting that there is no Mendelssohn. Once again difference between what professionals (musicians and composers) and amateurs like.

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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by NobleHouse
Originally Posted by Mark_C
My response to the results:



Yes, a big joke to me as well.

Just shows how few composers actually understand what people like!


Now that is the truth.



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They should do a 50 greatest living composers by 50 greatest living composers - and voting for yourseld would be allowed.

All I know is that Ferneyhough would be 50) with just one vote, which he gave himself.

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