My ten most favourite composers

I’ve often thought about this particular question, and usually give up because it’s not a very easy one to answer! Well, lately I’ve given it some more thought, and if I don’t at least get it written down, then I’ll have no way of seeing how my interests change over time.

Just about any list of favourite composers will have to feature Mozart, Beethoven and others, but that doesn’t mean that I should omit them because they are essential. Even though these two characters ought to appear in any self-respecting aficionado’s “top ten”, I reckon that it’s the other composers one chooses to include in such a list that says the most about their musical tastes. So here goes…

  1. Ludwig van Beethoven
  2. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  3. Johann Sebastian Bach
  4. Georg Friedrich Handel
  5. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  6. Jean Sibelius
  7. Gustav Mahler
  8. Sergei Rachmaninov
  9. Johannes Brahms
  10. Antonio Vivaldi

After the first five, the ordering becomes academic, and not being able to include more is almost criminal, but my list of runners up would include: Falla, Vaughan Williams, Grieg, Haydn, Khachaturian, Ravel, Rimsky-Korsakov and Richard Strauss. Who knows, perhaps when I next review this list, I may elevate some of the runners up and demote one or two of the top ten (which all depends upon who I might have recently played to death :-)

Edit on 9/Aug/2015:

After a decade’s worth of thorough consideration I’d have to revise the list thusly:

  1. Johann Sebastian Bach
  2. Joseph Haydn
  3. Georg Friedrich Handel
  4. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  5. Ludwig van Beethoven
  6. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  7. Jean Sibelius
  8. Gustav Mahler
  9. Sergei Rachmaninov
  10. Johannes Brahms

Sorry, Vivaldi, but you had to go in order to make way for a dreadful omission: Haydn!

8 thoughts on “My ten most favourite composers

  1. Ten years on I’d have to say that I agree with Ron Gouder. I hardly ever listen to Beethoven nowadays and I tend to listen to Bach at least 50% of the time. I recently bought about 70 CDs of Bach’s choral music performed by the Bach Collegium of Japan under the direction of Masaaki Suzuki, and they are absolutely superb in every way! The Matthew Passion, Magnificat, and quite a few of the Cantatas are my daily staples with decent headphones on at work so that I can concentrate and be productive. I’d be lost without Bach to listen to.

  2. I’m with you 100%……from 1 to 4…then it just gets weird. I’m back on board by number ten though! (Never was a romantic, I suppose).

  3. I have just made an alteration to my list. Unfortunately, I have had to exclude Vaughan Williams in favour of Brahms, who has not only replaced one of England’s finest orchestrators, but has taken Vivaldi’s ninth place. Leaving Brahms out of my top ten has been eating away at me for some time, so I’m glad to have finally put things right.

    As for Ron’s statement that “JS Bach is the father of the lot”, what can I say? He probably does belong at number one, but I suppose I just like Beethoven more. Herr Bach should be glad that he’s on the podium and not gazing up in awe at my top ten such as the likes of the now demoted Vaughan Williams (such a shame I’ve had to limit myself to only ten!)

  4. I have just now moved Mozart to second and Beethoven to first, at the risk of provoking much debate with an old friend who, no doubt, would have liked the ordering of the first two just the way they were. Whilst I do like Mozart’s music very much, Beethoven’s is much more evocative. I would put forward any one of Beethoven’s symphonies or piano concertos as the pinnacle of all music any day!

  5. I am impressed with your selection there Marc! Maybe we should review our lists in a year’s time and see if anything has changed! Let’s hope our lists never see the dreaded Cage!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *