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#418928 - 06/03/03 10:10 AM Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
johnmoonlight Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 2384
Loc: Lancaster, pa
Have any of you read the book by Phil Goulding, titled "Classical Music-The 50 Greatest Composers and Their 1,000 Greatest Works"?
I purchased this book years ago and really enjoyed it at that time. I just came across it again, and now, as a somewhat more "sophisticated listener" I have a somewhat different opinion of the book.
The author ranks the top 50 and gives explanations why they received the ranking they did. He has several "rules" whereby you can adjust the rankings yourself, within certain sectors. I was ASTONISHED that Rach was not even in the top 50. What the heck, I'll give you his list and see what you all think.

1.Bach
2.Mozart
3.Beethoven
4.Wagner
5.Haydn
6.Brahms
7.Schubert
8.Schuman
9.Handel
10.Tchaikovsky
11.Mendelssohn
12.Dvorak
13.Liszt
14.Chopin
15.Stravinsky
16.Verdi
17.Mahler
18.Prokofiev
19.Shostakovich
20.Richard Strauss
21.Berlioz
22.Debussy
23.Puccini
24.Giovanni da Palestrina
25.Anton Bruckner
26.Telemann
27.Saint-Saens
28.Sibelius
29.Ravel
30.Rossini
31.Grieg
32.Christoph Gluck
33.Paul Hindemith
34.Monteverdi
35.Bartok
36.Cesar Franck
37.Vivaldi
38.Bizet
39.Mussorgsky
40.Jean-Philippe Rameau
41.Faure
42.Rimsky-Korsakov
43.Donizetti
44.Ralph Vaughan Williams
45.Smetana
46.Johann Strauss
47.Karl Maria Von Weber
48.Janacek
49.Couperin
50.Borodin

Now to me, the most glaring errors are the placement of Franz Liszt(should be in Wagner's spot), Von Weber(should be ranked higher based on his importance as arguably the first true Romantic), and as mentioned the absence of Rach.
Oh, and of course Beethoven should be number ONE!!
\:D
_________________________
While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society's pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he's in.

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#418929 - 06/03/03 10:18 AM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
nickyg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/03
Posts: 36
Loc: Essex
I agree with you about Beethoven, but I think both Chopin and Liszt should be higher, with Chopin one place above Liszt. Why is Wagner so high? And Rachmaninov being omitted is a travesty indeed.
_________________________
"The difference between impossible and possible is practice" Horowitz

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#418930 - 06/03/03 10:20 AM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
mrenaud Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 1305
Loc: Switzerland
Bach should trade places with Palestrina, Mozart with Fauré, Debussy with Brahms, Bartok with Schumann, Stravinsky with Tchaikovsky.

Berlioz, Bruckner, Mahler, Vaughan Williams, Ravel, Borodin, Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Janacek should be higher on the list.

Also I see that Messiaen, Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, and Ligeti are missing.

Rachmaninov certainly doesn't belong on this list. I don't see why he included Vivaldi either.

Seeing that this list is too focused on the past anyway, I wouldn't take it too seriously.
_________________________
I have an ice cream. I cannot mail it, for it will melt.

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#418931 - 06/03/03 10:40 AM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
There are a lot of things I disagree with about this ranking, the first being the fact that it is impossible to create a ranking like this. I have not read the book, so I reserve some judgement, but how can you compare Bartok with Palestrina in a way that you can say one is a "greater" composer than the other?
Anyway, I may have some other comments later, but the one thing that really sticks out is ranking Tchaikovsky higher than Chopin, Stravinsky, Mahler, and Strauss - Richard that is.
Also, did the author sleep through the Second Viennese school sections of his music history classes?
BTW, Rocky doesn't belong on the list, IMVHO.

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#418932 - 06/03/03 10:49 AM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Renauda Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/02
Posts: 5066
Wagner 4th on the list?? Give me a break he shouldn't be in the top 20 IMO. Shostakovich 19th? Give me another break- he ought to be in 4th place at least.

Is the author deaf?

Not sure about about Rach though despite the fact I enjoy his music very much.

This is too subjective.
_________________________
"The older the fiddle, the sweeter the music"~ Augustus McCrae

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#418933 - 06/03/03 11:13 AM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Interesting all the comments about Wagner... that was my first ugh. Wagner *might* belong on the list, but he's nowhere near #4.

Chopin should be higher also, IMHO. And, dare I say it, Mendelssohn seems a tad high to me.

Nina

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#418934 - 06/03/03 12:18 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
aznxk3vi17 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/13/02
Posts: 701
Loc: Johns Hopkins University
I'm not too happy with Lizst being right above Chopin... but I don't want to start another flame war \:D

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#418935 - 06/03/03 12:26 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
benedict Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 2519
Loc: European Union
Everybody has the right to do a list.

Why don't we start ours ?

\:\)
_________________________
Benedict

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#418936 - 06/03/03 01:30 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
EHpianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/27/03
Posts: 1703
Loc: NY-Madrid-Newfoundland (rhymes...
 Quote:
Originally posted by benedict:
Everybody has the right to do a list.

Why don't we start ours ?

\:\) [/b]
Exactly. The list posted above should be called "Author's favorite composers", there are plenty of reasons to differ.

Elena
http://www.concertpianist.com
_________________________
Schnabel's advie to Horowitz: "When a piece gets difficult, make faces."

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#418937 - 06/03/03 02:03 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5228
Loc: McAllen, TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by mrenaud:
Debussy with Brahms[/b]
There is no conceivable way that Debussy was a superior composer to Brahms. In ANY respect.

Rachmaninoff doesn't belong in the top 100.
_________________________
http://www.BrendanKinsella.com

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#418938 - 06/03/03 02:08 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
nickyg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/03
Posts: 36
Loc: Essex
The more I think about it the more I think the list is useless, maybe even worse than useless. I have a slight objection in principle, 'grading' talent of this type is evidently innacurate, but also unjustified and possibly even offensive. But, the list is also hugely wrong. And there in lies another of my gripes. Its wrong.
_________________________
"The difference between impossible and possible is practice" Horowitz

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#418939 - 06/03/03 02:10 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
EHpianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/27/03
Posts: 1703
Loc: NY-Madrid-Newfoundland (rhymes...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Brendan:
 Quote:
Originally posted by mrenaud:
Debussy with Brahms[/b]
There is no conceivable way that Debussy was a superior composer to Brahms. In ANY respect.[/b]
I beg to differ. Perhaps you are only considering piano output but when viewed in the context of innovation in music, Debussy contributed *way* more than Brahms in terms of tonality, forms, and aesthetic. Brahms was just an extention of Beethoven musical ideals, even by his own admission.

Elena
http://www.concertpianist.com
_________________________
Schnabel's advie to Horowitz: "When a piece gets difficult, make faces."

Top
#418940 - 06/03/03 03:04 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4110
I also disagree, even though Brahms was indeed a great composer,I do not think he was even close to Debussy in the general aspects of things, such as innovation and reaching new musical heights. Then again, the time periods and composers were very different, thus making it tough to compare.

At least Bach is right where he should be, with Beethoven second. I do think Chopin should be one step higher than Liszt though, I don't know how that happened!

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#418941 - 06/03/03 03:12 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
benedict Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 2519
Loc: European Union
Mozart cannot be less than very close to Bach.
Listen the the Magic Flute of the 23rd piano concerto or the concerto for clarinette or the quintette with clarinette. Or Don Giovanni.

The podium of gold, silver and bronze is the same I was taught many, many years ago. And I find that I feel it will not move for a long time.

I would have put Monteverdi and Purcell much more at the top. And Vivaldi too. And of course Debussy and Berlioz.

Are we what we love ?
_________________________
Benedict

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#418942 - 06/03/03 03:27 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
mkesfahani Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 836
Loc: Irvine, CA
How long ago was this book written? I'm sure if the same author made a similar list now, it would look much different especially with somewhat of a revival in Rachmaninoff's music in recent times. An updated one would probably also include Schoenberg, Messiaen, Cage, and one of my personal favorites (and not for his musical theater!), Bernstein.

Mike

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#418943 - 06/03/03 04:07 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
1. Apples
2. Oranges
3. Watermelon
4. Strawberries
5. Kiwi
6. Peaches
7. Pineapple
8. Grapefruit
9. Bananas
10. Pears
11. Honeydew
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#418944 - 06/03/03 04:07 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Orlando Gibbons Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/14/01
Posts: 848
Loc: CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by EHpianist:
I beg to differ. Perhaps you are only considering piano output but when viewed in the context of innovation in music, Debussy contributed *way* more than Brahms in terms of tonality, forms, and aesthetic. Brahms was just an extention of Beethoven musical ideals, even by his own admission.

Elena
http://www.concertpianist.com [/b]
I can't believe that this argument still persists after more than a century. How does musical innovation in 'tonality, forms, and aesthetic' translate into emotional substance? Of course, it doesn't. The 'Prelude al'apres-midi d'un faune' is obviously revolutionary, and more important to the development of music than the C minor Symphony, but that does not invalidate Brahms.
_________________________
"See?! The Cliffs of Insanity!"

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#418945 - 06/03/03 04:08 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Shut up, loser. Everybody knows that a good watermelon beats even the best apple every day of the week.

Sheesh... :rolleyes:

 Quote:
Originally posted by Kreisler:
1. Apples
2. Oranges
3. Watermelon
4. Strawberries
5. Kiwi
6. Peaches
7. Pineapple
8. Grapefruit
9. Bananas
10. Pears
11. Honeydew[/b]
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#418946 - 06/03/03 04:09 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Oh please, watermelons are like 99.9% water - how on earth can that beat a nice crisp apple!?!?
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#418947 - 06/03/03 04:10 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Orlando Gibbons Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/14/01
Posts: 848
Loc: CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kreisler:
1. Apples
2. Oranges
3. Watermelon
4. Strawberries
5. Kiwi
6. Peaches
7. Pineapple
8. Grapefruit
9. Bananas
10. Pears
11. Honeydew[/b]
:D Quite right, Kreisler.
_________________________
"See?! The Cliffs of Insanity!"

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#418948 - 06/03/03 04:10 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I'm just wondering why the hell kiwi is on the list. KIWI? What kind of hippie fruitarian whack job are you?
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#418949 - 06/03/03 04:14 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
OK Kreisler.....You made your point. ;\)

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#418950 - 06/03/03 04:15 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Annihil8or Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/13/02
Posts: 273
Loc: England
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kreisler:
8. Grapefruit[/b]
:rolleyes:

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#418951 - 06/03/03 04:19 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
April Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 323
Loc: Great Lakes State
I am shocked and appalled that cantaloupe didn't make the list.

April
\:D

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#418952 - 06/03/03 04:20 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Orlando Gibbons Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/14/01
Posts: 848
Loc: CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Phlebas:
OK Kreisler.....You made your point. ;\) [/b]
He is right about Kiwi, though. \:\)
_________________________
"See?! The Cliffs of Insanity!"

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#418953 - 06/03/03 04:35 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4110
Orlando, but who is to say which one has more emotional substance? To some people, a Debussy prelude on the piano can be more intimately emotional than even something like a Chopin nocturne or a Brahms Ballade, it is truly very subjective. And of course, it does not invalidate Brahms, or any other composer of substance for that matter- it just makes them "Different". \:D

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#418954 - 06/03/03 04:38 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
EHpianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/27/03
Posts: 1703
Loc: NY-Madrid-Newfoundland (rhymes...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Orlando Gibbons:
[QUOTE]I can't believe that this argument still persists after more than a century. How does musical innovation in 'tonality, forms, and aesthetic' translate into emotional substance? Of course, it doesn't. The 'Prelude al'apres-midi d'un faune' is obviously revolutionary, and more important to the development of music than the C minor Symphony, but that does not invalidate Brahms.[/b]
Don't put words in my posts I didn't say. I would never invalidate Brahms, I adore Brahms. But honey, if you can't feel anything with Debussy's music, that ain't my problem! ;\)

Elena
http://www.concertpianist.com
_________________________
Schnabel's advie to Horowitz: "When a piece gets difficult, make faces."

Top
#418955 - 06/03/03 04:38 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Orlando Gibbons Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/14/01
Posts: 848
Loc: CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by CrashTest:
Orlando, but who is to say which one has more emotional substance? To some people, a Debussy prelude on the piano can be more intimately emotional than even something like a Chopin nocturne or a Brahms Ballade, it is truly very subjective. And of course, it does not invalidate Brahms, or any other composer of substance for that matter- it just makes them "Different". \:D [/b]
I'm glad you agree.
_________________________
"See?! The Cliffs of Insanity!"

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#418956 - 06/03/03 04:43 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Orlando Gibbons Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/14/01
Posts: 848
Loc: CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by EHpianist:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Orlando Gibbons:
[QUOTE]I can't believe that this argument still persists after more than a century. How does musical innovation in 'tonality, forms, and aesthetic' translate into emotional substance? Of course, it doesn't. The 'Prelude al'apres-midi d'un faune' is obviously revolutionary, and more important to the development of music than the C minor Symphony, but that does not invalidate Brahms.[/b]
Don't put words in my posts I didn't say. I would never invalidate Brahms, I adore Brahms. But honey, if you can't feel anything with Debussy's music, that ain't my problem! ;\)

Elena
http://www.concertpianist.com [/b]
Sweetheart, I took issue with your faulting Brahms for being an 'extension of Beethoven.' Are you going to address that, or continue dodging? And I feel Debussy just fine.
;\)
_________________________
"See?! The Cliffs of Insanity!"

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#418957 - 06/03/03 04:59 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Bernard Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/06/01
Posts: 3857
Loc: North Groton, NH
IMHO, on a scale of 1 to 100 these composers all fall between 99.9 and 100, so trying to rank them is kinda futile.
_________________________
"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown

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#418958 - 06/03/03 05:02 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4110
Bernard, I agree. Although ranking composers on subjective terms is hard, I think it is possible to rank a composer's technical abilities at composition. (Hey, Bach is number one again! Maybe there is more to this than we know!)

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#418959 - 06/03/03 06:33 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5228
Loc: McAllen, TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by CrashTest:
I also disagree, even though Brahms was indeed a great composer,I do not think he was even close to Debussy in the general aspects of things, such as innovation and reaching new musical heights.[/b]
I laughed uncontrollably.
_________________________
http://www.BrendanKinsella.com

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#418960 - 06/03/03 06:48 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4110
Brendan, as far as having an impact on twentieth century composers and even composers now, Debussy has more of an impact than Brahms, and I still believe that he was indeed more important.

Why do you think otherwise?

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#418961 - 06/03/03 07:02 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
mrenaud Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 1305
Loc: Switzerland
 Quote:
Originally posted by Brendan:
 Quote:
Originally posted by CrashTest:
I also disagree, even though Brahms was indeed a great composer,I do not think he was even close to Debussy in the general aspects of things, such as innovation and reaching new musical heights.[/b]
I laughed uncontrollably.[/b]
There is far too much conservativism in Brahms' music for it to be nearly as interesting as Debussy's.
_________________________
I have an ice cream. I cannot mail it, for it will melt.

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#418962 - 06/03/03 07:05 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
johnmoonlight Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 2384
Loc: Lancaster, pa
Well, first of all, the book was written in 1992.
As it turns out this guy's wife gave him hell for NOT placing Rach in the top 50.
He states in the book that his decisions were based on popularity and contribution to musical development, and his own subjective assessment.
To assess popularity he looked at the New Schwann Record and Tape Guide to determine how many works have been recorded for each composer and also looked at radio station polls.
Here is a quote from the book. "Of famous composers who didn't make The List, such artists as Benjamin Britten, Aaron Copland, Francis Poulenc, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Henry Purcell, and Leonard Bernstein were given about a page each in Schwann. Arnold Schoenberg, a big favorite of many music people because of his influence on composition, also got a little less than a page. And Josquin des Prez and Orlandus Lassus, important Renaissance composers, had only a few lines. Many assessors would include some of these composers and, consequently, displace a few of mine."

So yes, maybe Benedict has a good point. Maybe we should form our own poll...based on contribution to musical development and our own likes/dislikes.
I do agree with what Elena said regarding Brahms...don't shoot me! \:D
_________________________
While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society's pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he's in.

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#418963 - 06/03/03 07:05 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Annihil8or Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/13/02
Posts: 273
Loc: England
 Quote:
Originally posted by mrenaud:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Brendan:
 Quote:
Originally posted by CrashTest:
I also disagree, even though Brahms was indeed a great composer,I do not think he was even close to Debussy in the general aspects of things, such as innovation and reaching new musical heights.[/b]
I laughed uncontrollably.[/b]
There is far too much conservativism in Brahms' music for it to be nearly as interesting as Debussy's.[/b]
Bleh.

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#418964 - 06/03/03 07:24 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Krazypaul Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 133
I wonder if they have a book ranking world's most greatest classical pianist instead of a composer category.

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#418965 - 06/03/03 07:30 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
We're forgetting something very important here - the kind of late-romantic contrapuntal music written by Brahms and Wagner had an enormous effect on Debussy.

So even if Debussy did have a greater impact than Brahms, without Brahms, the Debussy we know would never have existed.

 Quote:
Originally posted by CrashTest:
Brendan, as far as having an impact on twentieth century composers and even composers now, Debussy has more of an impact than Brahms, and I still believe that he was indeed more important.

Why do you think otherwise?[/b]
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#418966 - 06/03/03 07:31 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
So one wonders, which is more important, the chicken or the egg? And does the answer depend on which came first? \:D
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#418967 - 06/03/03 08:04 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
The D's Pianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/01
Posts: 624
Loc: Southwestern Oregon
 Quote:
Originally Posted by EHPianist: Debussy contributed *way* more than Brahms in terms of tonality, forms, and aesthetic. Brahms was just an extention of Beethoven musical ideals, even by his own admission.[/b]
Wonderfully put, EH! Orlando Gibbons replied with something about how "tonality, forms and aesthetic" don't translate into "emotional substance". While I agree with this, I feel that contributing to those areas, while perhaps not providing a profound emotional substance (and I'm not saying that Debussy didn't!), most certainly would have a larger impact on those who would dish out that substance later on; Debussy helped to create more tools that are allowing composers now to create such substance than Brahms did, in my opinion.
_________________________
Musically,
Benjamin Francis
http://www.myspace.com/benjaminfrancis
(I just changed my sig., so no grief, yeah?)
----------
Sofia Gilmson regarding Bach:
"Bach didn't write the subject; he wrote the fugue."

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#418968 - 06/03/03 08:22 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
RachFan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/03
Posts: 1307
Loc: Maine, U.S.
The fact that Gluck, who has been all but forgotten, appears on the list in position 32 while Rachmaninoff isn't even on the list is either the height of extreme bias or absurdity.

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#418969 - 06/03/03 08:36 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
The D's Pianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/01
Posts: 624
Loc: Southwestern Oregon
 Quote:
Originally posted by RachFan: The fact that Gluck, who has been all but forgetten, appears on the list in position 32 while Rachmaninoff isn't even on the list is either the height of extreme bias or absurdity. [/b]
:D <> \:D
_________________________
Musically,
Benjamin Francis
http://www.myspace.com/benjaminfrancis
(I just changed my sig., so no grief, yeah?)
----------
Sofia Gilmson regarding Bach:
"Bach didn't write the subject; he wrote the fugue."

Top
#418970 - 06/03/03 09:21 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
virtuoso_735 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/08/03
Posts: 996
Loc: California
It's unfair to place composers in a list to say who is the best. All of the composers made their contribution to music, and all are talented in their own right.
_________________________
"If music be the food of love, play on." -William Shakespeare

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#418971 - 06/03/03 10:04 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
yok Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/01
Posts: 463
Loc: New Zealand
No.8 is a bit of a surprise. At least one American got in (unless we also count 15).

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#418972 - 06/03/03 10:26 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5228
Loc: McAllen, TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by CrashTest:
Brendan, as far as having an impact on twentieth century composers and even composers now, Debussy has more of an impact than Brahms, and I still believe that he was indeed more important.[/b]
You off no substantiation for that. The only thing that I will grant Debussy is that he knew how to manipulate the French language in his songs. Otherwise, his orchestration is cumbersome and redundant, he wrote almost no melodies in ANY of his compositions, Pellias is over-wrought at the very least, and his harmony is predictable, almost always using the same modes and same sequences/patterns.

What makes Brahms superior is one simple thing: direction. His music always clearly pursues a goal, unlike Debussy's aimless meanderings. And nothing that Debussy wrote even remotely comes close to the German Requiem or the Four Serious Songs.

For the "Brahms was the admitted torch-bearer of Beethoven" crew, Debussy acknowledged several times during his life that his own music came directly from Grieg's. Mendelssohn, Schumann and Liszt all looked back to Beethoven in their own compositions, as did Tchaikovsky to Mozart and Chopin to Bach. Even Messiaen said that his biggest musical influence after Wagner was Mozart. Learning from the past and expounding upon it in no way makes a composer conservative.
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#418973 - 06/03/03 11:06 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
mkesfahani Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 836
Loc: Irvine, CA
The fact that Berlioz or Vaughan Williams are on there baffles me. I've listened to plenty of both and silence would be a much better alternative for me.

As for fruit, pomegranates take the top spot.

Mike

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#418974 - 06/03/03 11:07 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Hank Drake Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 1652
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
The flaw with Mr. Goulding's list such as this is that it's promarily subjective. Beauty is in the eye (or ear) of the beholder, after all.

As for Rachmaninoff not being in the top 50, well I'm sure his estate is crying...all the way to the BANK! \:\)

Sixty years after his death, Rachmaninoff remains popular with audiences because his music reaches them emotionally, and while it is fashionable in some circles to sneer at Rachmaninoff's old-fashioned "gushing" melodies and "swirling" harmonies, his music will be a repertoire staple for generations to come--long after most of the stuff touted by the intellectual crowd is in the dustheap.

Wanna play a dirty trick on a violinist friend? ;\) Tell him the long lost violin concerto by Rachmaninoff has finally been published, and watch him wet his pants in excitement.
_________________________
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The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
George Szell

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#418975 - 06/03/03 11:33 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4110
I think it is safe to say that Brahms and Debussy are absolute opposites. Debussy loathed the old "German romantic school", while Brahms obviously held a deep admiration for such older musical values. If one listens to Debussy while searching for things that are alien to his style, such as the absence of "Melody" and the "meandering" form, one will miss what Debussy is, its like comparing oranges to apples!

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#418976 - 06/04/03 12:59 AM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
jeffylube Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/02
Posts: 716
Loc: Weatherford, Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by Hank Drake:
Wanna play a dirty trick on a violinist friend? ;\) Tell him the long lost violin concerto by Rachmaninoff has finally been published, and watch him wet his pants in excitement. [/b]
Dang, I wet *MY* pants thinking that was true and I don't even play the violin!! :p

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#418977 - 06/04/03 02:04 AM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Gluck, however, was extremely popular in his day and exerted an enormous influence on compositional trends. Although his music is rather uninteresting to us, he was DA MAN back then.

(FWIW, I hate Gluck, but being the musical history nerd I am, I have to grant him a place of importance....)

 Quote:
Originally posted by RachFan:
The fact that Gluck, who has been all but forgotten, appears on the list in position 32 while Rachmaninoff isn't even on the list is either the height of extreme bias or absurdity.[/b]
Oh, and if I may weigh in on the Brahms/Debussy argument, which of the two do you think most influenced the following:

Copland
Berg
Barber
Stravinsky
Bernstein

I would submit that each was influenced by both in certain ways.

Berg is a good case in point. Even in the piano sonata we find a very rigorous adherence to classical form and structure (thanks Brahms!) but a leaning towards whole-tone influenced harmonic structure (thanks Debussy!)
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#418978 - 06/04/03 03:45 AM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 3202
Loc: Midwest U.S.
After listening carefully to DeBussy's "Reverie" this afternoon on two great pianos and one mediocre one, comparing voicings, I'd be inclined to rank him substantially higher--in my top five (and as my favorite, but not above Beethoven whose complex genius overwhelms). I realize any point of view on this discussion is largely personal taste (the fruit list is entirely apt), but DeBussy is always fresh to me. "Reverie" could have been composed yesterday. Beethoven's work is wholely different in character, but similarly timeless. He very nearly "rocks".

Bach and Brahms by comparison seem quite staid and dated by a sort of non-interesting sort of familiarity from the first listen to the last, regardless of who's performing. (I've tried. Have a shelf full of LP's. Hate 'em all.)

An exceptionally talented friend who can play literally anything beautifully gave me 14 CD's of her Bach and Brahms performances recently. I just gritted my teeth and thanked her. And just kept shoving DeBussy and Beethoven sheets in front of her so I could hear her play something actually good instead. I did listen to her CD's once, but I could only think "what a waste of talent" and "I'll never listen to those again".

Beethoven's work and DeBussy's inspire me to work hard. If I ever get good at enough at their stuff, I'll tackle some Chopin that's been gathering dust these 20+ years.

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#418979 - 06/04/03 07:48 AM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
jazzyd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/01
Posts: 1861
Loc: United Kingdom
Chickgrand,

So is there really nothing of Bach's that you consider "good"? You would say all his music fails technically and aesthetically?

It is difficult enough to imagine anyone thinking this of Brahms with anything approaching good reason, let alone Bach. Your friend should be congratulated - you are definitely missing out...

David
_________________________
"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley

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#418980 - 06/04/03 10:21 AM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Hank Drake Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 1652
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
I'm fairly promiscuous, I love just about everything which falls under the "Classical Music" categorization, and a number of musical styles outside that genre.

But...I've never been able to get into Telemann.
_________________________
Hank Drake

The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
George Szell

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#418981 - 06/04/03 10:49 AM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
Brendan,

Well put. I am mystified by those that think Brahms' music is boring. I can't think of anything by Debussy that has the same emotional impact as many of Brahms' last 20 piano pieces.

Ryan

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#418982 - 06/04/03 10:54 AM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
Comparing the respective "greatness" of composers like Debussy and Brahms is almost too subjective. Once again, it depends on your criteria of how the author - or the posters here - are rating composers. To take Kreisler's apples and oranges analogies, it's more like sirloin vs. vichyssoise to compare Brahms and Debussy.
Certainly Debussy was a very important composer. He was one of the most influential composers of piano music in the early 20th century, the only other composer that had as much influence on early 20th century piano technique - IMVHO - is Bartok, and that is not even beginning to talk about how important Debussy's orchestral music is.

It's true that Brahms composed much of his music using classical forms, but he still composed in a romantic style, and his compositions seem conservative to some, but they were actually quite innovative. He was one of the most important 19th century composers of chamber music, and influenced later composers like Dvorak, Wolf, Mahler, Strauss, and others.

Also, should a composer being influential or innovative constitute the main criteria in assigning "greatness," or should it be the artistic quality of their compositions - or some combination of the two? If you assign greatness solely on the basis of innovation, would Mozart be as high on your list - ahead of earlier classical era composers who did more to develop sonata-allegro and other classical forms?

I think it is easy in some cases to say that certain composers are less great than others - Mendelssohn was not on the same level as Beethoven, for example - but other composers are much harder to compare because either their respective styles are so different, they lived during vastly different stylistic periods, or they were on a level that was very close.

At the end of the day, when we have all the composers ranked in a nice little league table, the questions that might come to mind is: Why did we bother?

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#418983 - 06/04/03 11:38 AM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
shantinik Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/23/01
Posts: 4271
Loc: Olympia, WA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Hank Drake:
I'm fairly promiscuous, I love just about everything which falls under the "Classical Music" categorization, and a number of musical styles outside that genre.

But...I've never been able to get into Telemann.[/b]
You have impeccable taste! \:D

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#418984 - 06/04/03 11:40 AM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
johnmoonlight Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 2384
Loc: Lancaster, pa
It's hard for me to really get involved with the Brahm's vs Debussy argument because I'm not all that fond of either composer.
I do think, however, that we can come up with a ranking that is NOT completely subjective. If we take into account that composer's contribution to the overall development of music weighed equally with our like/dislike for his music, I think that would produce some interesting results.
For example; overall, Chopin's music appeals to me a little more than Liszt's, but I feel that Liszt contributed more to the development of music. So I would probably put Liszt a notch or two above Chopin.
Beethoven is my absolute favorite composer. Bach I feel contributed more than anybody to musical development. So on my list these two guys get the number 1 and number 2 spots.
If we each rank our top 10 composers we could then extrapolate to come up with the top 50.
Anyone want to take a stab at it?
_________________________
While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society's pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he's in.

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#418985 - 06/04/03 11:52 AM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
The D's Pianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/01
Posts: 624
Loc: Southwestern Oregon
 Quote:
Originally posted by Phlebas: Also, should a composer being influential or innovative constitute the main criteria in assigning "greatness," or should it be the artistic quality of their compositions - or some combination of the two? If you assign greatness solely on the basis of innovation, would Mozart be as high on your list - ahead of earlier classical era composers who did more to develop sonata-allegro and other classical forms?[/b]
OK, I can see what you're saying, but still: I think Mozart was definitely the "god" of the classical form -- specifically the Austrian classical form. Others may have developed the styles before him, but I think he really provided an *ideal template* of the music. Anyone who can take a form and bring it to a new level of "perfection", IMHO, is worthy of a top-50 title.
_________________________
Musically,
Benjamin Francis
http://www.myspace.com/benjaminfrancis
(I just changed my sig., so no grief, yeah?)
----------
Sofia Gilmson regarding Bach:
"Bach didn't write the subject; he wrote the fugue."

Top
#418986 - 06/04/03 12:30 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by The D's Pianist:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Phlebas: Also, should a composer being influential or innovative constitute the main criteria in assigning "greatness," or should it be the artistic quality of their compositions - or some combination of the two? If you assign greatness solely on the basis of innovation, would Mozart be as high on your list - ahead of earlier classical era composers who did more to develop sonata-allegro and other classical forms?[/b]
OK, I can see what you're saying, but still: I think Mozart was definitely the "god" of the classical form -- specifically the Austrian classical form. Others may have developed the styles before him, but I think he really provided an *ideal template* of the music. Anyone who can take a form and bring it to a new level of "perfection", IMHO, is worthy of a top-50 title.[/b]
I think you might have missed my point, which was one cannot only use a measure of how innovative or influential a composer is in order to assign greatness. Classical forms were well established by the time Mozart came along by composers such as CPE Bach, WF Bach, Stamitz - of the Mannheim school - and Haydn. With the possible exception of Haydn, none of those others approached the level of Mozart as a composer. Clearly Mozart was one of the greatest composers of all time, but his greatness was in the artistic quality of his music, and not so much as an innovator. He lived in the later part of the Classical era, when compositional style had almost an obsession with structural clarity. Mozart, although he wrote beautiful pieces that remain monuments of artistic achievement, did not deviate from the classical style very much. So, my point in using Mozart as an example is, revolutionary ideas, and innovation leading to a change, in large or small ways, in how future composers approached music - which describes Debussy - should not be the sole criteria people use to assign greatness.

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#418987 - 06/04/03 12:40 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
The D's Pianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/01
Posts: 624
Loc: Southwestern Oregon
 Quote:
Originally posted by Phlebas: So, my point in using Mozart as an example is, revolutionary ideas, and innovation leading to a change, in large or small ways, in how future composers approached music - which describes Debussy - should not be the sole criteria people use to assign greatness. [/b]
Alright; sorry for the misunderstanding. I agree completely that it should not be the sole[/b] criteria, but I think it should definitely be one of the most important. Second to perhaps your point of "artistic quality". Thanks for clearing that up. \:\)
_________________________
Musically,
Benjamin Francis
http://www.myspace.com/benjaminfrancis
(I just changed my sig., so no grief, yeah?)
----------
Sofia Gilmson regarding Bach:
"Bach didn't write the subject; he wrote the fugue."

Top
#418988 - 06/04/03 01:39 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4110
chickgrand,

Are you sure you are talking about the J.S Bach, and not one of his sons!? To me, his music is the opposite of dated- for this very reason, composers of the past and present look to him for ideas. Can you follow the counterpoint in his works well? Many people who lack a developed sense of polyphony find his work boring, since a lot of the excitement is in seeing how all of the different voices develop and merge into the harmonious structure.

I agree with you on Debussy. I do think you should give Brahms another consideration, he has some great works, although he is of course, no Debussy. ;\)

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#418989 - 06/04/03 06:13 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
kluurs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/02
Posts: 3739
Loc: Chicago
If I were to suddenly have my own harem, would I spend my time ranking the young lovelies from one to 50 or just enjoy my good fortune? Better yet, let them compete for my attention. Ranking -- too much work...just enjoy...

K

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#418990 - 06/04/03 06:23 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
The D's Pianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/01
Posts: 624
Loc: Southwestern Oregon
 Quote:
If I were to suddenly have my own harem, would I spend my time ranking the young lovelies from one to 50 or just enjoy my good fortune? Better yet, let them compete for my attention. Ranking -- too much work...just enjoy... [/b]
ROFL!
\:D :p
_________________________
Musically,
Benjamin Francis
http://www.myspace.com/benjaminfrancis
(I just changed my sig., so no grief, yeah?)
----------
Sofia Gilmson regarding Bach:
"Bach didn't write the subject; he wrote the fugue."

Top
#418991 - 06/04/03 06:43 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
RachFan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/03
Posts: 1307
Loc: Maine, U.S.
Hi Kreisler:

Yes, from a musicological standpoint Gluck was important in his lifetime the same way Weber was before the latter was totally eclipsed by the better appreciated Romantic composers. But neither one withstood the test of time or universality. In perspective then, Gluck deserves to drop off of any "greats of all time" list in my opinion. I certainly would not object to his being an historical footnote though.

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#418992 - 06/04/03 08:19 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Joe Townley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 182
Loc: Glendale
KREISLER WRITES:

Shut up, loser. Everybody knows that a good watermelon beats even the best apple every day of the week.[/b]

I mean...it's like....it's like....comparing apples to oranges, you know?? hehehe...whoa!...hehehe...hehehe....whoa!

---------------------------------------------
A Dog-Feeder's Dirge:[/b] (sung to the tune of "The Girl That I Marry")
The Dane that I'm feeding, I hate to say
Is costing me seventeen bucks a day!
He eats a daily meal
Of T-bones and lambchops and shoulder of veal.

And when he is finishd, he has a bowl
Of Porterhouse Steak and File of Sole.
His great yearning, I am learning
Swallows up every penny I'm earning.
The Dane that I'm feeding
Is constantly bleeding
Me dry!
_________________________
http://www.JoeTownley.com

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#418993 - 06/04/03 08:20 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Joe Townley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 182
Loc: Glendale
 Quote:
Originally posted by Joe Townley:
KREISLER WRITES:

Shut up, loser. Everybody knows that a good watermelon beats even the best apple every day of the week.[/b]

I mean...it's like....it's like....comparing apples to oranges, you know?? hehehe...whoa!...hehehe...hehehe....whoa!

---------------------------------------------
A Dog-Feeder's Dirge:[/b] (sung to the tune of "The Girl That I Marry")
The Dane that I'm feeding, I hate to say
Is costing me seventeen bucks a day!
He eats a daily meal
Of T-bones and lambchops and shoulder of veal.

And when he is finishd, he has a bowl
Of Porterhouse Steak and File of Sole.
His great yearning, I am learning
Swallows up every penny I'm earning.
The Dane that I'm feeding
Is constantly bleeding
Me dry![/b]
http://www.JoeTownley.com Lots of piano videos!
_________________________
http://www.JoeTownley.com

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#418994 - 06/04/03 08:22 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Joe Townley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 182
Loc: Glendale
 Quote:
Originally posted by Joe Townley:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Joe Townley:
KREISLER WRITES:

Shut up, loser. Everybody knows that a good watermelon beats even the best apple every day of the week.[/b]

I mean...it's like....it's like....comparing apples to oranges, you know?? hehehe...whoa!...hehehe...hehehe....whoa!

---------------------------------------------
A Dog-Feeder's Dirge:[/b] (sung to the tune of "The Girl That I Marry")
The Dane that I'm feeding, I hate to say
Is costing me seventeen bucks a day!
He eats a daily meal
Of T-bones and lambchops and shoulder of veal.

And when he is finishd, he has a bowl
Of Porterhouse Steak and File of Sole.
His great yearning, I am learning
Swallows up every penny I'm earning.
The Dane that I'm feeding
Is constantly bleeding
Me dry![/b]
http://www.JoeTownley.com Lots of piano videos![/b]
_________________________
http://www.JoeTownley.com

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#418995 - 06/04/03 08:23 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Joe Townley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 182
Loc: Glendale
KREISLER WRITES:

Shut up, loser. Everybody knows that a good watermelon beats even the best apple every day of the week.[/b]

I mean...it's like....it's like....comparing apples to oranges, you know?? hehehe...whoa!...hehehe...hehehe....whoa!

---------------------------------------------
A Dog-Feeder's Dirge:[/b] (sung to the tune of "The Girl That I Marry")
The Dane that I'm feeding, I hate to say
Is costing me seventeen bucks a day!
He eats a daily meal
Of T-bones and lambchops and shoulder of veal.

And when he is finishd, he has a bowl
Of Porterhouse Steak and File of Sole.
His great yearning, I am learning
Swallows up every penny I'm earning.
The Dane that I'm feeding
Is constantly bleeding
Me dry![/qb][/QUOTE] http://www.JoeTownley.com Lots of piano videos![/qb][/QUOTE][/QB][/QUOTE]
_________________________
http://www.JoeTownley.com

Top
#418996 - 06/04/03 08:27 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Joe Townley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 182
Loc: Glendale
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Joe Townley:
[QB]KREISLER WRITES:

Shut up, loser. Everybody knows that a good watermelon beats even the best apple every day of the week.[/b]

I mean...it's like....it's like....comparing apples to oranges, you know?? hehehe...whoa!...hehehe...hehehe....whoa!

---------------------------------------------
A Dog-Feeder's Dirge:[/b] (sung to the tune of "The Girl That I Marry")
The Dane that I'm feeding, I hate to say
Is costing me seventeen bucks a day!
He eats a daily meal
Of T-bones and lambchops and shoulder of veal.

And when he is finishd, he has a bowl
Of Porterhouse Steak and File of Sole.
His great yearning, I am learning
Swallows up every penny I'm earning.
The Dane that I'm feeding
Is constantly bleeding
Me dry!

http://www.JoeTownley.com Lots of piano videos!
_________________________
http://www.JoeTownley.com

Top
#418997 - 06/04/03 09:37 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Bernard Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/06/01
Posts: 3857
Loc: North Groton, NH
mkesfahani,
 Quote:
The fact that Berlioz ... on there baffles me.
You blaspheme! Berlioz's "Nuit d'été" is one of my favorite set of songs.

I still think trying to rank composers is as silly as trying to rank artists from Rembrant, Da Vinci, Michaelangelo on up to Kandinsky, Worhol, and Pollock.

Phlebas,
 Quote:
... it's more like sirloin vs. vichyssoise...
Nice.
_________________________
"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown

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#418998 - 06/04/03 09:54 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Krazypaul Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 133
I think Beethoven deserves some kind of leverage in the ranking because of how he could composed music with his growing deafness. or if it was considered or this is considered to be superfluous..then nvm.

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#418999 - 06/04/03 10:03 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 3202
Loc: Midwest U.S.
___________
Jazzd said:

So is there really nothing of Bach's that you consider "good"? You would say all his music fails technically and aesthetically?

It is difficult enough to imagine anyone thinking this of Brahms with anything approaching good reason, let alone Bach. Your friend should be congratulated - you are definitely missing out...
______________

CrashTest said:

Are you sure you are talking about the J.S Bach, and not one of his sons!? To me, his music is the opposite of dated- for this very reason, composers of the past and present look to him for ideas. Can you follow the counterpoint in his works well? Many people who lack a developed sense of polyphony find his work boring, since a lot of the excitement is in seeing how all of the different voices develop and merge into the harmonious structure.

___________

Yup, I'm talking about that J. S. Bach. I understand counterpoint and polyphony and his approach to voices. It's specifically that what he did with them is NOT exciting. It's very nearly mathematical and predictable. While I do recognize Bach's significant contributions to composition and form that followed, I have never felt in the least moved by any of his work. He all but bores me to tears. He strikes more as a theorist and less an artist in his composition. As to Brahms, my word would be "mediocre" if I remain polite. All that said, whether I'm moved by one and not by another is a matter of taste. I'm not arguing technical merit, just artistry. Ability to compose/play within a form doesn't show me much. Doing something I wouldn't expect and making it sound good does.

(Judging composers is about as meaningful as judging figure skating or ice dance at the Olympics.)

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#419000 - 06/04/03 10:05 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 3202
Loc: Midwest U.S.
P.S. Erik Satie would get in somewhere in MY top 50.

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#419001 - 06/04/03 10:25 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Well, people from Norman are weird, so you're allowed. ;\)
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#419002 - 06/04/03 11:03 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 3202
Loc: Midwest U.S.
Kreisler said:

Well, people from Norman are weird, so you're allowed.

________

No disagreement there. Just curious how you have come to know that though.

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#419003 - 06/04/03 11:06 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4110
chickgrand,

The common misconception about Bach is that he is pedantic, predictable, and without true emotion- but this is a horrible view. Have you studied his works extensively, or were you put off just because of the recordings you heard? Listen to the Brandenburg concerti, the keyboard concerti, English suites, partitas, how can they be boring?! (He wrote more than just the well-tempered clavier!)

Bach is not so strict in form that he is predictable. His fugues are not even "textbook" fugues. I understand your idea on technical skill and artisty, but I seriously think that your are viewing Bach through the wrong "looking glass".

I would hate to read what you think of Mozart!

(What do you think of Mozart?) ;\)

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#419004 - 06/04/03 11:52 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 3202
Loc: Midwest U.S.
CrashTest wrote:

(What do you think of Mozart?)

I try not to.

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#419005 - 06/05/03 12:01 AM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4110
!

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#419006 - 06/05/03 12:02 AM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Bernard Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/06/01
Posts: 3857
Loc: North Groton, NH
It's my very un-scientific opinion that children who are exposed to Bach's music when they are very young and young will develop a strong joie de vivre. At least--I wouldn't be surprised if they found that out through some study or other. Especially some of the chorals from the cantatas.

You should see what my birds do when I put one on--they gather on a perch, sit contentedly and have every appearance of listening and enjoying the gorgeous sound of Bach. (They do this with other classical music too.) I'm convinced it's a pleasurable sensory experience for them.
_________________________
"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown

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#419007 - 06/05/03 01:36 AM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
StanSteel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 646
Loc: Los Angeles
 Quote:
Originally posted by Joe Townley:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Joe Townley:
[QB]KREISLER WRITES:

Shut up, loser. Everybody knows that a good watermelon beats even the best apple every day of the week.[/b]

I mean...it's like....it's like....comparing apples to oranges, you know?? hehehe...whoa!...hehehe...hehehe....whoa!

---------------------------------------------
A Dog-Feeder's Dirge:[/b] (sung to the tune of "The Girl That I Marry")
The Dane that I'm feeding, I hate to say
Is costing me seventeen bucks a day!
He eats a daily meal
Of T-bones and lambchops and shoulder of veal.

And when he is finishd, he has a bowl
Of Porterhouse Steak and File of Sole.
His great yearning, I am learning
Swallows up every penny I'm earning.
The Dane that I'm feeding
Is constantly bleeding
Me dry!

http://www.JoeTownley.com Lots of piano videos![/b]
Shut up, Mona Lisa \:D
_________________________
"War does not determine who is right; only who is left."

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#419008 - 06/05/03 03:55 AM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
David_J Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/02
Posts: 175
Loc: Australia
Anyone who doesn't like Mozart should flush their head down some toilet... (Please take my advice in good faith).

I like Bach's Italian Concerto... how come I don't hear of it much here? I think it's underrated... the third movement is quite enjoyable. \:\)

Regarding the list, switch Mozart and Bach, delete Beethoven (not too serious...) and I'm happy.

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#419009 - 06/05/03 05:04 AM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Annihil8or Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/13/02
Posts: 273
Loc: England
The only reason I can think of that people cannot find anything in Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart etc. is that they just don't know how to listen to that kind of music. They can't form a musical conception of the works, they are too stuck on how "similar" the material sound, rather than what it actually "means". It's like saying you can't find any sense in what French people say because you don't like the sound of their language.

Bernard: My dog comes and sits next to the piano whenever I play Chopin.

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#419010 - 06/05/03 10:11 AM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
chickgrand,

You said: 'As to Brahms, my word would be "mediocre" if I remain polite. '
If you don't mind my saying so, you are responding more to your own personal taste rather than an informed opinion on a the "greatness" of these composers.

It's fine not to like Bach, Mozart, Brahms - or, for that matter, any of the other composers whose music is generally considered by the rest of the classical music listening/performing community as pinnacles of artistic achievement, and whose works have survived for centuries and will endure until the last stone of our civilization is destroyed (I guess you know how highly I regard these composers by now).

However, this thread is about determining the "greatest" composers, historically - if that is at all possible - and you often have to put aside your personal preferences to form and argue objective, informed opinions. For, example, I don't really like Schoenberg, but he should be on this list. Also, I would rather read a novel by Mickey Spillane than one by Marcel Proust. That doesn't mean I think Proust was inferior, or a "mediocre" writer.

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#419011 - 06/05/03 11:52 AM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 3202
Loc: Midwest U.S.
Phlebas said:

If you don't mind my saying so, you are responding more to your own personal taste rather than an informed opinion on a the "greatness" of these composers.
_________

I think I said this about taste myself. It is precisely a matter of taste. I'm not even arguing that Bach, Brahms and Mozart wouldn't be on my list of 50. They just wouldn't be much beyond my middle. One must consider the whole body of a person's work to determine the value of their contribution to their field. Lots of small incremental innovations add up. But that doesn't make any one effort a work of genius. But then neither does one major innovation in a flash of genius elevate one's body of work above that of the other who's plugged away with hundreds of solid, but incremental, efforts. There are composers who've produced only a few wonderful pieces. I wouldn't necessarily put them on a list of only 50, even if I liked all of their small body of work.

I just happen to not like the aesthetic, the style of Bach, Mozart or Brahms. That's why I give them their due for technical merit (particularly Bach there). I just don't find myself wanting to listen to their body of work. An occassional piece, yes, an evening's program, certainly not.

Judging composers is really like judging any other "art" (my figure skating reference). Technical merit alone can get you a bronze or silver. Some additional artistry is usually required to get on the higher podium with a gold. And that mark for artistry is always in the subjective eyes or ears of the judge.

Bach, Brahms, and Mozart just don't suit my taste or convey any emotion I can relate to. (In the case of Bach, I come nearer appreciating his work on harpsichord rather than piano. And wonder if I'd like his work better on a properly, historically-tempered piano.)

I plan to force myself to wade through my vast shelf of vinyl and CD's. One's aesthetic sense gets redefined with experience. But I'm doubtful that I'll come away from the experience with any new-found admiration for the aesthetics of those three. One can acquire a "taste" for something. In my case, Satie was a little inaccessible emotionally at first, but I've learned to love a fair bit of his rather enigmatic work.

I grew up in a house filled with music. I have a huge collection that includes these three. (No collection or education would be complete without it.) But the fact that previously listening to extensive volumes of their work has not inspired me to either want to listen to it again, nor to want to play it, is a likely indicator that I will probably find that yes, I still really don't like it. (I have MADE myself listen to their stuff on occassion, with a critical ear.)

I consider myself to be very open-minded in all things, but quite simply, there's too much great music out there to waste time immersing oneself in something that simply does not appeal to one's own taste. If it doesn't move me, I have no cause to listen or to play it myself. I expect to be moved emotionally and intellectually challenged by music.

(Would you prefer I learn to love and wear out all that Mozart, Bach, and Brahms vinyl you could someday buy in its current pristine condition at my eventual post-mortem estate sale?) ;\)

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#419012 - 06/05/03 12:15 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 3202
Loc: Midwest U.S.
No Delibes in that 50?

(Have to get that in before a block-long mob of Mozart, Bach and Brahms afficianados with pitchforks arrive and burn me in the windmill.)

Actually, I wouldn't ever presume to be so well acquainted with enough of the life-time body of work of all of the major and minor composers to even begin ranking and culling to 50.

As Liszt said, "Music is enough for a lifetime. But a lifetime is not enough for music."

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#419013 - 06/05/03 12:23 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Matt G. Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 3789
Loc: Plainfield, IL
I am just going to weigh in with two observations. First is that the list is comprised of composers in all musical genres, not just piano music. Perhaps the author felt that Rach's contributions were too piano-centric. Second is that I'm glad the author chose to include Smetana and Janacek. They both wrote some wonderful piano music, much of which is quite technically demanding. They seldom receive their due respect. (Yikes! Post #1000? Someone shut me up!)
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#419014 - 06/05/03 01:38 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Praetorian_AD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/01
Posts: 717
Loc: England
 Quote:
Originally posted by chickgrand:

Actually, I wouldn't ever presume to be so well acquainted with enough of the life-time body of work of all of the major and minor composers to even begin ranking and culling to 50.

As Liszt said, "Music is enough for a lifetime. But a lifetime is not enough for music."[/b]
Rachmaninoff said that, actually. (Pianomuse? \:\) )

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#419015 - 06/05/03 02:17 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Diarmuid2 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/02
Posts: 871
Loc: London
 Quote:
Originally posted by benedict:
Mozart cannot be less than very close to Bach.
Listen the the Magic Flute of the 23rd piano concerto or the concerto for clarinette or the quintette with clarinette[/b]. Or Don Giovanni.
[/b]
Hey, I did a live recording of the clarinet quintet for someone recently. For anyone who doubts benedict's wisdom:

http://www.diarmuid.plus.com/Mozclip.mp3

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#419016 - 06/05/03 03:04 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
nickyg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/03
Posts: 36
Loc: Essex
Chickgrand, you say that you adore Beethoven yet cannot listen to Mozart. I maybe wrong here, but this suggests to me that you really haven't listened to that much Mozart, and you disliked what you heard. This i can sort of understand, in that I have listened to Stockhausen twice and I won't again if I have a choice. But that is slightly different. Some of Mozart's music I dislike. But some of his work is so stunningly moving that it make your stomach turn. And while you may feel that Mozarts sonatas lack the depth and brutality of Beethovens, dig a little deeper and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you find. It isn't all light and airy. He's considered great for a reason. Personally i think Mozart and Beethoven compliment each other wonderfully as examples of examplary classical music, at either sides of the spectrum. Give it a try.

As for Bach, I also find him slightly inaccesible, and would never rush to see a Bach program, but when you decide to listen without prejudice as I can occasionaly when the mood suits, I sometimes find the discords and the progressiveness of Bach fascinating and it is something that you may grow into, as I slowly am. It takes a while, but then you see what previously you couldn't, or didn't want too.
_________________________
"The difference between impossible and possible is practice" Horowitz

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#419017 - 06/05/03 03:48 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4110
Listening to and playing the works of composers is really a vastly different thing. For those who do not associate with Bach or Mozart's music, have you learned any of their works? (Keyboard or otherwise) I find that when one becomes intimate with a piece, it opens up an entire level of appreciation that dwarfs any superficial "taste" or bias one may of had.

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#419018 - 06/05/03 03:53 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4110
The majority of people, just want to "Enjoy" music, which is why composers like Chopin and company are popular- their works are very lyrical, and often agitated.

This is why composers such as Boulez, Schoenberg, and others like them have such a hard time- people are not willing to step out from their musical cacoons and see that music isn't really just a melody over an alberti bass.

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#419019 - 06/05/03 04:19 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
Krazypaul Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 133
Honestly, I dont find Bach's music very moving or...to me he lacks a kind of variety. Sometimes, after hearing it over and over, it's rather motonomous and dull. He just doesn't capture my interest whenever I listen to him. It's like I dont absorb any of his music. If I had a choice, I would choose Beethoven over Bach anyday.

But anyways, I do agree that music should not just be judged based solely on its sound or appeal.

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#419020 - 06/05/03 05:30 PM Re: Rachmaninoff not even in the top 50?!!!!!
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 3202
Loc: Midwest U.S.
I said:

As Liszt said, "Music is enough for a lifetime. But a lifetime is not enough for music."

Praetorian_AD said:

Rachmaninoff said that, actually. (Pianomuse?)

___________

You're right. First he's not in the 50. Now I'm adding insult to injury by attributing his quote to Liszt.

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