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#2036389 - 02/20/13 12:16 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: izaldu]
didyougethathing Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/11
Posts: 544
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: izaldu
Originally Posted By: Hookxs
Ennio Morricone.


Took a long while for his name to pop up! Morricone, Grusin ... they re still alive. So JW can t be the greatest film composer alive.


I consider Bernard Herrmann one of the all-time great film composers as well.

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#2036400 - 02/20/13 12:29 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
RBMusik Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 42
Loc: Philadelphia
I'll take a stab. By your classification, the answer seems to be "no".

To say contemporary and classical in the same breath is the answer, in my opinion.

Contemporary is defined as "happening, existing, living, or coming into being during the same period of time"

Classical music is defined as that from the 'Common Practice Period', generally agreed to be 1600-1900.


The word 'great' to me doesn't just apply to the talent required to produce the music, but also to the level of awareness required to be recognized by 'civilization'. It also applies to achieving 'greatness' in the era to which the endeavor is actually relevant. From a popular perspective, 'classical' music composed now attempts to emulate another time/era. So, while it may be good, better, or even genius from an academic/musical standpoint, that music is not authentic. It's actually not contemporary, either. It references a period that was ONCE popular music. A heady thought for sure, but something to ponder.... if there really should be folks currently writing 'classical' music. If you compose it today, it's just, well, ....music. Mozart didn't call himself a 'classical music composer'. He was a composer.

To me, that's why you get contemporary composers extolling some deep and other worldly meaning to their music. They are attempting to advance a concept or create a new 'genre'. I love and appreciate classical music. It's doubtful anyone new will come along with such profound affect.

The evolution of this question seems to then ask... "are there any genres of piano/orchestral music today that will achieve the same 'greatness' as from the common practice period?"

With all the outstanding gangster-rap songs hitting the street... sadly I think not.

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#2036405 - 02/20/13 12:38 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Clayman]
Mark_C Offline
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Registered: 11/11/09
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Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Clayman
I think we can't really judge who that "great" composer is until their work stands the test of time.

I agree, and to that extent I would quibble with how most of the posts are expressing it.

Quote:
Having said that, though, I would nominate John Williams or maybe Michael Giacchino but since you lot have already disregarded the former as "great", feel free to disagree.

Remember, it was me who first mentioned Williams, and I didn't say that at all. I put it speculatively in the future tense, like how you want these things. smile

Originally Posted By: not Clayman
John Williams is definitely not great.

(not showing who it was who said it, in the interests of his furniture and forehead) grin

For one thing, I thought the concluding thing in "Close Encounters" -- it was sort of like a "chamber symphony" -- was in itself pretty close to great: the music in its own right, and how it matched the scenario of different civilizations finding their communication through music. Call me sappy ha but it was one of my most moving musical experiences ever, including everything.

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#2036411 - 02/20/13 12:45 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
EdwardianPiano Offline
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Registered: 07/29/11
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There will never ever be another Beethoven- he was in a class of his own.
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"He who divines the secret of my music is delivered from the misery that haunts the world."


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#2036416 - 02/20/13 12:54 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: EdwardianPiano]
BDB Offline
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Originally Posted By: EdwardianPiano
There will never ever be another Beethoven- he was in a class of his own.

That is true of everyone who ever lived!
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#2036438 - 02/20/13 01:36 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Clayman Offline
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Registered: 01/07/13
Posts: 300
Loc: Prague, Czech Rep.
The times are changing, that much is certain. As RBMusik pointed out, the famous composers of the past centuries did NOT consider themselves "classical", nor were they considered that by any stretch of imagination. Back then, education was scarce and only the most talented, gifted individuals were given education in the music theory area.

Now, in the era of technology that does pretty much everything for you, anyone can write music (to that extent, I saw a funny pic not long ago describing quite well the evolution of music composition and who can do it -- in 1700 it was the brightest minds on Earth, then through the centuries to 2000 when any owner of iMac can do it). One cannot help but wonder what kind of music the composers living in the 18th century would have written, had they had the tools and possibilities we have nowadays. Something tells me it would sound different.

At any rate, regardless of what debrucey's self-righteous attitude can or cannot digest, I do consider Williams and a handful of other composers great and I believe Williams has earned at least a bit of respect for himself from the contemporary orchestral music world for some of his works, like Schindler's List. I'm not saying every single of his works was a masterpiece in itself but to call him a plagiarist is unjust and derogatory at the very least.

Oh, and as for me, my favorite composer now is Thomas Bergersen, a young talent from Norway currently writing amazingly imaginative tunes for his production music company called Two Steps From H_e_l_l (silly filter changes that to "heck"...). You can look him up, YouTube is full of his stuff and the album "Two Steps From Heaven" might be a good start. His music is often very far from "classical" music but that's only for the better as far as I'm concerned. He's great in my books.


Edited by Clayman (02/20/13 02:01 PM)
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#2036451 - 02/20/13 02:01 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: RBMusik]
theJourney Offline
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Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: RBMusik
I'll take a stab. By your classification, the answer seems to be "no".

To say contemporary and classical in the same breath is the answer, in my opinion.

Contemporary is defined as "happening, existing, living, or coming into being during the same period of time"

Classical music is defined as that from the 'Common Practice Period', generally agreed to be 1600-1900.


The word 'great' to me doesn't just apply to the talent required to produce the music, but also to the level of awareness required to be recognized by 'civilization'. It also applies to achieving 'greatness' in the era to which the endeavor is actually relevant. From a popular perspective, 'classical' music composed now attempts to emulate another time/era. So, while it may be good, better, or even genius from an academic/musical standpoint, that music is not authentic. It's actually not contemporary, either. It references a period that was ONCE popular music. A heady thought for sure, but something to ponder.... if there really should be folks currently writing 'classical' music. If you compose it today, it's just, well, ....music. Mozart didn't call himself a 'classical music composer'. He was a composer.

To me, that's why you get contemporary composers extolling some deep and other worldly meaning to their music. They are attempting to advance a concept or create a new 'genre'. I love and appreciate classical music. It's doubtful anyone new will come along with such profound affect.

The evolution of this question seems to then ask... "are there any genres of piano/orchestral music today that will achieve the same 'greatness' as from the common practice period?"

With all the outstanding gangster-rap songs hitting the street... sadly I think not.


Actually, no, there are very many definitions of and interpretations of the word " classical ". Music from the so called Classical period is just one of many.

Writing like, or in the style of, these classical composers would be called neo-classisism. The question of the thread would then have to be changed to " Do you think there will ever be another great classic-style-period-style c.q. neo-classical composer?"

However, that is not the question posed by the thread. In fact, the question posed is not even " Do you think that there will ever by another great classical composer" but " composer " in general.

Kreisler has, yet again, provided perhaps the most satisfying answer.

Three meanings of the word " classical " that I believe would be very interesting to insert into the thread head and to continue discussing are:

1) in an idiom which most listeners would classify as belonging to the genre of art music, set apart from pop music;

2) the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times;

3) A work of art of recognized and established value judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind.

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#2036472 - 02/20/13 02:39 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
RealPlayer Offline
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Posts: 2326
Loc: NYC
I wonder if the OP could tell us the name of the most recent composer he knows of that he considers great.
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#2036491 - 02/20/13 03:25 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13780
Loc: Iowa City, IA
As far as great composers currently getting wide distribution and attention for piano music, Carl Vine and Lowell Liebermann are the two who come to mind. Magnus Lindberg recently wrote a concerto that was premiered by Yefim Bronfman with NYP. James MacMillan also has a couple of new concerti published by Boosey & Hawkes.

And there are plenty of great composers whose piano output is limited:

Chen Yi, David Maslanka, Kevin Puts, Jennifer Higdon, Mason Bates, Max Richter, Nico Muhly, Carter Pann, etc...

I think there are a lot of factors that contribute to why we haven't found the next Chopin or Beethoven. I think people don't look very hard. I think the lack of sheet music retailers make it difficult to browse. Concert artists don't program/champion a lot of new music. Looking at the 10 recitals presented by the Chicago Symphony during the 2013/2014 season, we have:

Denk - Bach
Schiff - Bach
Trifonov - Stravinsky, Ravel, Schoenberg, Schumann
Kissin - Schubert and Scriabin
Uchida - Beethoven
Andsnes - Beethoven
The Labeques - Gershwin, Glass, Bernstein
Lugansky - Rachmaninoff, Franck, Prokofiev
Ax - Brahms, Dean, Mazzoli
Feltsman - Haydn, Schubert, Prokofiev

So...in ten recitals, there are only three living composers represented and only two new commissions (both from Ax.)

A better question to ask might be:

If another great composer appears, will anybody bother to notice?
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#2036497 - 02/20/13 03:42 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Clayman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/13
Posts: 300
Loc: Prague, Czech Rep.
Good question. Maybe it's that people are not really that open to anything new. They have grown to recognize and love the old masters and sort of prefer/seek out concerts of their music. The new artists are therefore in a difficult position because they have to compete for their place under the sun while they really should not need to do that at all. There is plenty of room for new talent.

Or am I wrong?


Edited by Clayman (02/20/13 03:43 PM)
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#2036504 - 02/20/13 03:52 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: BDB]
EdwardianPiano Offline
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Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 752
Loc: Liverpool, England
Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: EdwardianPiano
There will never ever be another Beethoven- he was in a class of his own.

That is true of everyone who ever lived!



Not of me it isn't LOL.
_________________________
"Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend."

"He who divines the secret of my music is delivered from the misery that haunts the world."


Ludwig Van Beethoven

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#2036505 - 02/20/13 03:58 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: theJourney]
RBMusik Offline
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Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 42
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: theJourney


However, that is not the question posed by the thread. In fact, the question posed is not even " Do you think that there will ever by another great classical composer" but " composer " in general.



Thank you for the lecture on neo-classic music. I'm aware there are many ways to classify genres, which is why I framed my opinion with definitions and assumptions. This is the essence of debate.

But the OP does not mean composer in general.

"And when I say "composer", I mean contemporary-classical composer. ...... do you think there will ever be another 'great' composer in the classical scene?"

So, again I assert, No. There won't be another neo, contemporary, "in the style of", orchestral, piano, etc. composer that will be recognized as 'great' by my personal definition of greatness. That is, little children learning his/her songs at the piano bench 100 years from now and studying their biography. One mans humble opinion on the original question. PW can be a prickly place. Nice thoughts. Cheers!
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#2036531 - 02/20/13 04:50 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Kreisler]
Derulux Offline
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Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5296
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
A better question to ask might be:

If another great composer appears, will anybody bother to notice?

Great points about the performers. I think, though, that this question tends to lead us down the road to, "What defines greatness?" Is it some internal thing that is great no matter how many or how few people appreciate it? Or is it defined by massive popularity, enjoyment, and leaving a lasting impression that stands the test of time?

And I know we've tried to define that before to mixed results, so... whistle
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#2036538 - 02/20/13 05:02 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Dave Horne Offline
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Registered: 07/07/04
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Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
I have the greatest respect for those very few musicians who are total musicians.

John Williams stands out in that regard since he has done just about everything. When he was in his 20's he was a studio jazz pianist and was on the Henry Mancini Peter Gunn LP (among many other recordings). He conducts, composes, orchestrates ... what have I left out?

While I'm not a fan of Marvin Hamlisch, he also would fall under that total musician label.
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#2036541 - 02/20/13 05:04 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
-Frycek Offline
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Great composers are like saints, they usually have to be dead awhile - - -
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#2036549 - 02/20/13 05:15 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: RealPlayer]
currawong Offline
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Registered: 05/15/07
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Originally Posted By: RealPlayer
I wonder if the OP could tell us the name of the most recent composer he knows of that he considers great.
Exactly what I was wondering.
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#2036552 - 02/20/13 05:22 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Derulux]
tomtomasino Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/10/13
Posts: 10
Originally Posted By: Derulux
and modern sonata form didn't truly exist before Beethoven.


I'm curious. What would "modern sonata form" be? Is it recognized as such, or are you simply referring to the various latter day compositions called "sonatas?"

TomTomasino
aka
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#2036558 - 02/20/13 05:35 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Dave Horne]
bennevis Offline
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Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5059
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
I have the greatest respect for those very few musicians who are total musicians.

John Williams stands out in that regard since he has done just about everything. When he was in his 20's he was a studio jazz pianist and was on the Henry Mancini Peter Gunn LP (among many other recordings). He conducts, composes, orchestrates ... what have I left out?

While I'm not a fan of Marvin Hamlisch, he also would fall under that total musician label.



Actually, there are many classical musicians who do all that and a lot, lot more. Lenny Bernstein did it, performed and recorded Mozart concertos as well as Rhapsody in Blue conducting from the piano, plus wrote West Side Story (probably the greatest musical ever) and several symphonies - not to mention Prelude, Fugue and Riffs (a written-out jazz piece with contrapuntal ingenuity that wouldn't have disgraced the great JSB: http://youtu.be/FD-Wa6RyLbk ), conducted some of the best Mahler performances ever with the Wiener Philharmoniker (the Symphony No.5 especially), gave a series of classic lectures on music etc, etc.....which puts Williams quite in the shade.

Among living pianist-composer-conductors, Thomas Ades stands out - he was a child prodigy as a pianist, winning the piano section of the 1990 BBC Young Musician Competition playing a Bartok concerto (as well as his own compositions in the semi-finals), then became more well-known as a composer (his first opera Powder Her Face being a very modern take on contemporary trashy 'culture'), directed the famous Aldeburgh Festival - all the while still performing as pianist and conductor.

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#2036607 - 02/20/13 07:48 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
daviel Offline
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John Williams - Andre Previn - Bernstein. Haven't they composed for movies, broadway, shows? Isn't attending classical programs sort of like going to a museum?
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#2036639 - 02/20/13 10:00 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: daviel]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: daviel
John Williams - Andre Previn - Bernstein. Haven't they composed for movies, broadway, shows? Isn't attending classical programs sort of like going to a museum?

I'm glad you didn't say cemetery. ha

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#2036641 - 02/20/13 10:12 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
RBMusik Offline
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Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 42
Loc: Philadelphia
Among American popular music, I'd offer up Henry Mancini as a great composer.

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#2036675 - 02/20/13 11:58 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
BDB Offline
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Stephen Sondheim has taken the musical back to its opera roots, but he is not as great as some of his musical predecessors.
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#2036684 - 02/21/13 12:20 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
theJourney Offline
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Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
I would nominate Nicolai Kapustin. For most of his career he has been almost as unknown as Bach was, he creates/writes often using classical forms but with a Jazz idiom, many of his works are difficult, tours de force for the pianist, interesting to the analyst or theorist but, at the same time, very listenable and accessible for the casual or general listener.

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#2036689 - 02/21/13 12:28 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: stores]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
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I'm working on it. Don't rush me! laugh










Originally Posted By: stores
No.


hey, stores is back!

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#2036695 - 02/21/13 12:47 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13780
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I'll cast a vote for Alan Menken.

Sondheim is brilliant (I'm conducting Forum in May!), but I think Jonathan Tunick deserves some credit as well. (For those who don't know Tunick, he orchestrated many of Sondheim's musicals, including Sweeney Todd, Company, Into the Woods, and A Little Night Music.)

I was thinking about something today - many of the composers we regard as great were masters of a particular musical structure and venue. For Beethoven and Brahms, it was sonata form and the concert hall. For Chopin, it was the salon and dance/story forms. For Schubert, it was the salon and song. For Bach, it was counterpoint and the church. For Puccini, it was opera. For Haydn, it was the symphony and string quartet in the court. Mozart could pretty much do it all. Stravinsky had ballet. (Yeah, he did lots of other stuff, but let's face it, his fame rests largely on Rite, Firebird, and Petrushka.)

Today, the structures and venues have changed. John Williams writes a great film score. Sondheim writes a great musical. Jason Robert Brown writes a great cabaret song. Pink Floyd was a master of the album. The Grateful Dead and Phish mastered the jam band.

Today's "classical" scene is fractured. There's no single structure or venue. Symphonies are freer in form, as is solo piano music. Composers experiment more with different ensembles (thanks in large part to Pierrot Lunaire.)

This makes it far more difficult to compare composers. We can say that Beethoven is great in part because lots of composers wrote symphonies and his symphonies, by comparison, are deemed artful. We can say Chopin was great because lots of people wrote waltzes and mazurkas and etudes and, by comparison, his are deemed artful.

But it's very difficult to say that someone today is a great composer of piano sonatas because very few are doing it, and the form isn't standardized. It's difficult to compare the piano sonatas of Tippett, Vine, Liebermann, and Hough because they aren't structurally similar (at least not in the way Beethoven's sonatas were similar to Haydn, Mozart, Dussek, Kuhlau, Field, etc...)

Anyway, it's getting late and my mind is starting to poke gigantic holes in my own theory, but hopefully some of that drivel will generate some food for thought. (And you have to at least give me some credit for finding a way to mention Mozart, Menken, and Phish in the same post.)
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#2036700 - 02/21/13 12:56 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Kreisler]
JoelW Offline
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Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4763
Loc: USA
Great post.

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#2036711 - 02/21/13 01:58 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
BDB Offline
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One should also remember that many of the composers who are thought of as composers of other genres also wrote things that were closer to what are considered classical forms. Charles Mingus wrote Epitaph, a multi-movement piece. Duke Ellington wrote sacred concerts. Dave Brubeck also wrote sacred choral music.

Gonzalo Rubalcaba has written a series of small piano pieces, which he told me he could not play anywhere until the local jazz powers allowed him to play them here, which points to another problem in trying to restrict composers so tightly to certain genres. Composers who may have started with one genre may not stay with it, but because they get typecast, they are not considered to be another type of composer, even when they are writing different kinds of music.

There are composers of what is considered contemporary classical music that I have enjoyed very much. But they are, as I said, minor league players with limited audiences.
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#2036718 - 02/21/13 02:05 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Clayman Offline
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Registered: 01/07/13
Posts: 300
Loc: Prague, Czech Rep.
Much of what Kreisler has said makes sense but imho it only goes to show that it's basically pointless to try to name contemporary composers that may one day be recognized along with names like Mozart, Bach, Beethoven etc. There are many more names to consider than there ever were two centuries ago. Everyone can come and and add their own bunch of names to the list but no-one is any wiser.

Still, that doesn't mean we can't argue over every single one to the death and beyond, does it? :]
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Learning to play the piano since 06/2013 on a Kawai CA-95.

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#2036725 - 02/21/13 02:13 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Clayman]
Derulux Offline
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Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5296
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Clayman
Much of what Kreisler has said makes sense but imho it only goes to show that it's basically pointless to try to name contemporary composers that may one day be recognized along with names like Mozart, Bach, Beethoven etc. There are many more names to consider than there ever were two centuries ago. Everyone can come and and add their own bunch of names to the list but no-one is any wiser.

Still, that doesn't mean we can't argue over every single one to the death and beyond, does it? :]

I think there are probably the same number of names, or perhaps even more names two hundred years ago. What we have left is, largely, the cream of the crop. Who knows what music was lost to us forever because someone randomly deemed it wasn't worthy enough to save?

Just look at music from the 50's and 60's. If you ask average kids today who the Beatles were, just about everyone could tell you. If you ask them who the Drifters were, you may get some responses, but not many. If you ask them who the Brooklyn Bridge were, I would be willing to bet not one kid under 25 has ever heard of them. You could probably do this with music as late as the 80's and get the same result for kids born in the 90's and later.

Now, compound that over 200 years, and make it even worse by talking about an era before recordings ever existed, and we may very well be surprised to see just how many other composers there were back then.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2036734 - 02/21/13 02:46 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Kreisler]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19745
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
....Today, the structures and venues have changed.

Yes

Quote:
....Today's "classical" scene is fractured. There's no single structure or venue....

Yes

Quote:
....This makes it far more difficult to compare composers.

Yes

Quote:
....it's very difficult to say that someone today is a great composer of piano sonatas because very few are doing it, and the form isn't standardized.

Yes (I guess, although I have to admit I didn't exactly know that) grin

Quote:
Anyway, it's getting late and my mind is starting to poke gigantic holes in my own theory....

..............NOT! smile

Originally Posted By: JoelW
Great post.

+1!

Originally Posted By: Clayman
Much of what Kreisler has said makes sense but imho it only goes to show that it's basically pointless to try to name contemporary composers that may one day....

No, it all makes sense! grin
But I'm with you that we can rarely if ever know until time has passed, and Frycek may be right:

Originally Posted By: -Frycek
Great composers are like saints, they usually have to be dead awhile - - -


BTW, great quote by Harold Schonberg in "The Great Pianists," about BACH's reputation as a composer in his time:

Originally Posted By: Harold Schonberg although not really "posted" :)
He was, after all, known in Germany as the greatest of organists, the most brilliant of clavierists, and a composer second only to the mighty Telemann.


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