Greatest Classical ComposersTop ten of the most talented and most respected composers of history.
The greatest composer of all time except for perhaps Bach. Beethoven completely transformed music, and some of the most important forms in classical music (the symphony, sonata, concerto) were changed irreversibly.
I also think Beethoven is the greatest composer in human history.
He was not as productive as Mozart and arguably not a great opera
Composer. However, he revolutionized music with the way he used dynamics
And developed motifs and themes. He also increased the length and scope
Of the symphony and the sonata. And he was a pioneer in the use of music to portray human feelings and emotions.
His motifs and themes and their development are rightfully famous for
Their originality and beauty.
Think of the violin concerto. That has got to be the most beautiful
Violin concerto ever. Think of the 4th piano concerto. I find even
More incredible than his more famous 5th. The originality and beauty
Of all its movements is simply astonishing. And then, his symphonies. They
Are all interesting and part of the modern repertoire. But just the
5th and the 9th would make anyone a celebrity. And then, the sonatas. Think of the 32 incredible piano sonatas. Nobody after ...more
Beethoven was the greatest composer of all time. Mozart was very good too, but he didn't feel his music as much as Beethoven did. Mozart was talented, Beethoven was less talented but he gave more effort to his work he composed because he felt so much pain that words could no longer describe it, so he turned to his music. He saw music as a friend, as someone who would always listen to him, understand him and never leave him. His music saved him. His music was part of him and he was part of music. He composed the 9th Symphony when he was deaf, he couldn't hear a single thing from what he wrote, he imagined it, he had the tune in his head and that's what he could hear. The whole romantic era was named after him, because he changed music from classical to romantic by making low tunes, of course not in his symphonies and all of his orchestral music, there everything is loud then he pauses for a while with calming and soothing tunes and then everything's loud again. The ninth Symphony is ...more
Mozart will forever be my favorite classical composer, but there's only one reason I chose Beethoven over him. Beethoven created the Ninth Symphony, which is, in my opinion, the greatest piece of music ever written. Beethoven's Ninth is everything a classical music piece should be: Grand, powerful, and full of emotion. Not even Mozart could create such a work of art that is the Ninth Symphony, and to think that Beethoven wrote this symphony while completely deaf is downright incredible. Like I said, I love Mozart, but Beethoven's Ninth is on par with almost every single work that Mozart has created.
Genius, but not revolution. Mozart took all the things that were supplied too him and made them into a "recreation of heaven." But, at least of what I am aware of, Mozart did not contribute anything but his music (which is all he really needed to do). So I would place Mozart as 3rd. Mozart probably would've made some discoveries if he were to live longer, but it is a shame that he didn't. Summary: Although Mozart did not make any major discoveries, his mastery of his craft is unmatched to any composer on this list. Even though he didn't make any major findings, his natural composition skills would be studied by many composers who came after him (Yes, I am also saying that without Mozart we may not have had Beethoven).
I suppose it would be difficult to argue for who the "best" classical composer of all time is, whatever that may mean. But, It would be difficult to argue that Mozart is not the most intelligent of the classical composers. He composed his first piece at age 4, and his first symphony at age 7 ( a very impressive symphony I might add, go listen to it for yourself! ). He composed over 600 pieces during his life time and only lived to be less than half the age of most composers on this list! The quality of his music is also, in my opinion, of the highest quality. For starters I recommend listening to symphony 25, 39, but honestly I can't think of a single mozart piece that isn't high above average quality.
Masterpieces in all genres, instruments in about every combination reasonably sensible (some no longer exist); all in lightning fast time.
Sure Haydn invented the "sonata form" and string quartet and wrote 104 good symphonies; Beethoven's symphonies were so good his successors were intimidated. Someone else commented what if he had lived into his late 50's like Beethoven (or 70's like Haydn) he's would have undoubtedly blow everyone out. Personally, all of the composers wrote many wonderful compositions and some one hit wonders we all still treasure. If Mussorgsky hadn't become an alcoholic in the military in his teen and died of it young he could have given the great Tchaikovsky a run for his money. Thanks for those that made this list and opened it up to comment!
It is not even close. Mozart was not only the most prolific composer in History, but was prolific in virtually every type and style of classical music. He finished his compositions almost entirely in his head before writing them on to paper. He only lived 35 years and yet produced over 50 symphonies. With all due respect to Beethoven - and his Ninth Symphony is a stroke of genius - Mozart produced ten times the music in half the time, and his operas are sublime and are still performed today to standing ovations. The second movement in his 23rd Piano Concerto is one of the most tender, longingly moving pieces ever written. And, frankly for me, the second movement of his Piano Concerto #20 (K366 - Romance) is almost an audio of his making love to Constanza. The build-up, the climax, the slow surrender to the ebbing feelings of his sexual release. Finally, Mozart's music, in general, is so toweringly more beautiful to hear and to be caressed by than Beethoven - who writes powerfully, but ...more
I would deem Bach not just the Father of Classical Music, but the Father of Music as a whole. Without Bach we would not have had Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Stravinsky, or even modern day artists like Ariana Grande or Billie Eilish.
He was so influential on the history of music that his death marked the end of the Baroque period of classical music. He made so many beautiful pieces for the organ, and much of his work lives on today through the hymns of the Lutheran and Anglican churches. He is one of the three Great B's of classical music, Bach, Brahms, and Beethoven.
Chopin may be my favorite composer, but I can not in good sense vote him over Bach.
So much has already been said..."The father of modern music", "The eternal God of harmony"...Without using such poetic language I will just say: Bach knew what he was doing.
The furious, fast, technically complex parts intertwined with mellow, quiet parts...his amazing choral harmonization...It's all there, just like Brahms said.
Some people criticize composers that produce a large amount of compositions, and I can understand why. It can get repetitive, just like any other music. For all the stunning amount of different compositions Bach has written though, it's amazing how much variety there is between them. Bach was also competent at composing music for other instruments besides piano/organ...something that can't be said about many of the supposed "best composers" on this site...
In the end, personal taste and how the music affects you, and only you, will always differ, ...more
Without a doubt, the father of modern music. His chorale harmonizations remain the foundation text of tonal harmony, and his synthesis of the French, German, and Italian styles of music created the expressive grammar and vocabulary that generations of composers have used to express their own ideas.
No one has ever succeeded in marrying the intellectual and emotional sides of music the way Bach did, with his amazing ability to combine beautiful melody with rigorous counterpoint and harmony. For just one example, listen to the Chaconne of Partita no. 2 for solo violin--a piece perfectly obedient to the strict rules of Baroque ground bass, yet a piece with such emotional depth and power that no less an authority than Brahms had the following to say about it:
"On one stave, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the ...more
For the sheer beauty and power of his music, he stands out to me as the best. Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, wonderful as they are, do not measure up to him. Whether it was his concertos or ballets, Tchaikovsky could bring about the whole spectrum of emotion and thought through his compositions. Exploding with the brass, or weaving ever so gently as upon a cool, calm lake, with a simple harp, flute, or violin, his music still takes us on extraordinary journeys. Of particular note, for me, are Swan Lake and his concerto for violin and orchestra, particularly the first movement of the latter and the finale of he former.
His versatility was astonishing. Apart from his many famous works there are numerous lesser known masterpieces such as a Liturgy, that reflects a deeply spiritual side (check out Hymn of The Cherubim). Also extraordinarily original orchestration, such as the 3rd orchestral suite, where in the middle of the scherzo movement, he treats the heavy brass with the delicacy of pizzicato strings (accompanied by side drum). Incidentally, a full six years before Richard Strauss in Don Quixote (1898), he used fluttertonguing in Nutcracker (1892). Just a few examples of originality. But Tchaikovsky did for ballet what Beethoven did for symphony.
Underrated by many musicians and critics for some strange reason (perhaps because he was homossexual and russian and a convicted melodist? ), Tchaikovsky nevertheless is one of the greatest musical genius ever in my opinion, a master of melody, harmony and orchestration. He has some of the most beautiful and lyrical musical pieces that I've heard, and I think that his ballet's are second to none and that his symphonies are amongst the best out there.
Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker is enough to get him top spot.
This beautiful guy has written some of the most beautiful melodies ever.
Sad they forced him to kill himself only because he was gay.
Melodic genius, one of the greatest piano composers. Pieces such as his Mazurkas and Polonaises especially show he possessed a quite advanced and unique harmonic and motific ingenuity, which he is often not given credit for.
This man should be first on this list. If you have ever played his music, you wouldn't believe that making music like his was possible. Listen, to his Ballade No. 2 in F major (the fast part) and his Etude in C minor, and you will understand what I am talking about. He was also really good at coming up with melodies, and rarely repeated them over two times in his whole piece, meanwhile I see composers such as Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, and Pachabel repeating their melodies well over twice. If I was allowed to go back in time and bring only one composer to the modern day and give him medications to allow him to live longer, I would bring Chopin.
Fryderyk Chopin was definitely the best composer of Romantic Period. Wrote many famous melodies. A lot of his pieces is technically so difficult and varied. I think it's hard to make "of all time" list. So we must create 3 lists: Greatest Baroque Composers (for me the greatest master of this period was Johann Sebastian Bach), Greatest Classical Composers (Wofgang Amadeus Mozart) and Greatest Romantic Composers (Fryderyk Chopin). Of course but where's Beethoven? He was great composer but only "great" and too overrated for me. Finally I type 3 great masters: Bach, Mozart and Chopin.
Chopin's music is the best of all. It is the most beautiful melodically; his Ballade in F minor is enough to give in top. How can someone create such beautiful melodies?
Vivaldi music is sweet and beautiful. his works also contain beautiful violin timbre. His works are very colorful. I can always listen. I think that it is difficult to compare among composers.
Some great composers express deep emotions but it is too heavy for me to fully listen.
It is more suitable to instruct but not for entertaining mind
I like all of his works. They are majestic, incredible and unbelievable. When I listen his four seasons, especially winter part, I feel like walking on baroque palace. He had such a simply perfect musics those are I listen even I work on my homework. He is the best!
I really think that some of his works, and namely the 'Four Seasons', are the best never written until now by all musicians in the world. The 'Four Seasons', in particular, are simply perfect. Other words are superfluous.
Vivaldi is often totally underestimated. Complaints about his development and things are false to me! Emotions, virtuosity, melodies, rhythm, and harmony all come together in a perfect blend. Truly the best to my ears!
No one can match Schubert: 31 years on earth: he trumped Mozart with his re-write of mozart 40 is Symphony 40 of Mozart. Inide of the look back that is Beethoven's 9, he has Symphony 4 which is beethoven's 10. He predated Mahler by 80 years, yet, his sym 8 &9 prefigure Mahler. 600 songs. Along with Haydn the master of chamber music.
A complete master of harmony, rhythm, song and both a-symmetry and symmetry. He was the first composer to invent a whole harmonic texture since Bach and his dark yet childish soul should earn him a spot in the top five at least.
He's #1, heads and shoulders above the rest. The most elegant, the master of both melody and silence - the grace in simplicty. In fact, the greatest artist who ever lived. Listen to the oboe line in the Andante of his 9th or to D946.2.
Schubert was born in 1797 in Vienna, Austria. He is known for his piano pieces and his symphonies. He died at the young age of 32 from Syphilis and Typhoid fever. My favorite piece of his is Ave Maria.
So few people actually discover the greatness of Haydn's compositions. So much of his music, from his symphonies to his string quartets, remains in relative obscurity.
One of the most under-rated of the great composers, Haydn should be in the top 3. He is the father of the symphony, string quartet, and piano trio, and one of the most important figures in the development of the sonata form. He is also one of the most original (he was not a copycat like Mozart) and creative composers, creating exquisite works from very simple motives. Haydn's work has had an enormous influence on great composers such Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert.
Among the huge amount of music he created (from nothing since he didn't know Bach), almost every peace, from the early symphonies till the London one, from the wonderful piano sonatas to the breathtaking quartetts, from his trios till his oratorios, almost everything he has left us is an endless source of joy and amazement the greatest ignorred composer, as Sir Simon Rattle surnamed him. To listen again and again...
I, too, believe that Haydn is truly underrated as one of the greats. His body of work is simply breathtaking in its scope and beauty. I also like that Haydn was not afraid to bring humor into his music. Haydn should, in my humble opinion, be in the top 5.
For me Brahms's music is the most comforting, warm but unsentimental of all. It has such a rich full bodied sound with beautiful melodies, great variation and satisfying rhythms. His music combines power and gentleness and makes me feel that mankind's propensity for much that is bad and destructive has another uplifting and glorious side in art such as his.
If my enjoyment of classical music is to be the basis of my vote then Brahms would be at or among the top three of the list. His chamber music and that of Schubert are my favorites and I love Ein Dutches Requiem and his vocal music. While the symphonies are all top caliber #4 is hauntingly beautiful for me.
So complex in pattern, yet so wonderful in harmony and texture. Each of his 4 symphonies is distinct in style and mood, and his two piano concerto's are as monumental as symphonies. The chamber music, especially containing piano and clarinet are broke new grounds.
Brahms has got a great symphony (No.4) and great violin and piano concertos. This fact alone makes him one of the greatest composers of all time.
Handel is on the same level as Beethoven and Bach. Unfortunately he of all the major composers is known by the least number of works. If one takes the time to discover other oratorios and operas other then the handful known, a revelation will be at hand, I think Chopin being in the top list is stupid. He only wrote successfully for the piano and he was basically a miniaturist. Vivaldi being in top ten is ridicules. His choral works and operas pale when compared to Handel. For me and most of the professionals I know the top three not in order are Handel, Bach and Beethoven. I would never choose between them.
Underrated, wrote so many lovely pieces for piano, violin, organ, opera, and more. Listen to his Water Music, or his famous Halleujah chorus.
His music is enjoyable... you have to be a musician to enjoy many others including Bach. I, as a musician likeBach and his fugues as I understand them, most listeners don't. Handel wrote pleasing music, many say fugues are more complexed than grounds, arias etc., so Bach is better, but Handel could write that as well, in fact Handel has written double fugues which take a lot of skill to do well. Beats Purcell due to skill as an organist. I don't like Mozart, as I find it irritating.
Handel is without questions the greatest composer ever lived. He integrates Italian and German traditions and defines opera, oratorio becoming symphony and court music. He does not waste a single note written by himself or another and incorporates all arts in his music transcending all cultures and religions.
Mendelssohn is one of the most underrated composers when it comes time to make these lists, which is a shame.
His Violin Concerto in E Minor alone makes him one of the very best -- the piece is musical perfection, if such ever existed.
Mendelssohn was born in 1847 in Lepzig, Germany. He is known for his symphonies and organ works. He died at the age of 38 from a stroke. My favorite piece of his is The War March of the Priests.
He composed the most beautiful music I've ever heard. His Violin Concerto in E and the Italian Symphony are simply perfection.
He has amazing string quartets! They are full of great harmonies and phrases that make his quartets simply perfect. I'd recommend listening to quartet in e flat major, op.12, the quartet in a minor, op.12, and the piano quartet no. 1 in c minor.
I think Ravel's music is very unique. His Gaspard de la Nuit shows the dark and ethereal harmonic features of his music. It is really unique music, honestly.
Maurice Ravel does not only deserve to be on the list, he is the greatest composer ever, TOP 1! I have never seen anybody with such technical perfection, just listen to his piano works, perfect, perfect, perfect!
Though clearly influenced by other contemporaries, he has managed to create a unique voice of exquisite impressionism and colour. His diverse repertoire shows a mastery of all the instruments of the orchestra, and his sense of balance is truly remarkable. Give his string quartet a listen. definitely one of the best.
Ravel's pieces are unique in style and absolutely unheard of. At least top 5.
Best pianist of all time, undoubtedly. Even without recordings of his playing style we can look at his music and say with confidence that he is the greatest. His mastery and dedication deserve recognition and he should not fade away into obscurity.
Liszt has written some great melodies, although not being as good as Chopin (as a composer). His Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2 is really gorgeous.
Besides, he was regarded as one of the best performers of his time alone.
A complete musician in every respect. Composer, conductor, pianist, teacher. A true genius with a mission who brought forth original ideas for the 20th Century to follow. His music although problematic in many cases was truly original and far reaching including his religious music with outstanding form.
I don't know much about all the classical music stuff but I have my memories attached to this one. When I was a child, my favourite episode of looney tunes was the "rhapsody bunny" where buggs plays the masterpiece "hungarian rhapsody" from franz liszt. From that day to present franz became my favourite!
Williams is incredibly popular with his film scores. However, how many of the great classical composers in the past wouldn't have given their souls to do film if they had lived in our modern times. One of Williams influences which is all over his more suttle scores is the American great, Aaron Copland, who did touch on film scores. A lot of musicians in todays modern orchestras will owe part of their career to Williams for keeping them employed. God Bless John Williams!
John Williams isn't the greatest composer all times, but he is a real chameleon and therefore for sure a top tenner! He used Holst in Star Wars, made olympic hymns based on the greatest classic artists and with sometimes simple tunes he makes total soundtracks of movies. Somehow he manages to make the music he writes his own recogmisable style and keeping the old ways alive. Surely the best alive.
He combines all musical traditions and patterns before him with mastery on melody and it is only thanks to his music that accompanied directors the fall of an other art, cinema, was moved from television age to video game age.
The creator of the most well known compositions ever. I bet as your reading this you're humming imperial march. Admit It, when was the last time you hummed Beethoven's Symphony No. 5?
If I had to choose only one classical piece of music that I could listen throughout my life, I'd choose Pictures of an Exhibition. These rough, unconventional harmonies, this devotion, dedication and passion strike me each time I listen to them. Of course Ravel orchestrated it in an exceptional manner as well.
I love his music! Mostly Night on Bald Mountain
Powerful and rich
Debussy was the first one to master the art of creating music just for its beauty. While others were going for complexity and other things, Debussy just was for rule breaking and creating pure bliss in his music.
A very underrated composer. I chose Debussy due to the following:
-I respect Mozart, however, I have not played any of his grand pieces.
-Beethoven's music is alright, however, behind the music, he was an extremely odd man. One of the main respectful things is his ability to make music while completely deaf, however let's remember he wrote sonatas for random women decades younger than him.
-Bach's music is more mathematical than musical. He works on the same formula, and all of his music sounds the same, especially his Prelude and Fugues, just with a different base note.
-What made me love Debussy was Arabesque number 1, one of my favorite pieces to hear and play.
The music of Claude Debussy is truly incredible and far superior to that of any other composer. Every piece of his provokes real feeling and emotion, which is a quality I have yet to find in any other composer. Debussy was an absolute genius. (I honestly do not understand why Beethoven is ranked first on this list. His music is a slipshod pile of careless ideas and concepts rather than anything real.)
He was innovative genius who created some of the most beautiful music ever. I think he is even better than Beethoven or Mozart, because he's music has more feeling and emotion.
An amazingly talented composer whose endearing, often invigorating and sometimes even very moving compositions stay with you long after the movie has ended. You find yourself singing his pieces some time later from just hearing them once. His works are in modern day animated classics like Nightmare Before Christmas and The Corpse Bride as well as countless other live action movies and animated features.
Tim Burton's go-to guy for film composing.
Pachelbel was born in 1653 in Nuremberg, Germany. He is known for writing his major piece Canon in D Major and his organ fugues. He died at the age of 52 from unknown causes. My favorite piece of his is Canon in D Major.
It's a shame everybody only knows one piece by him. But I think that one will be known and played as long as there are humans.
Marvelous composer!. Listen to the fifth symphony only the second movement. That describes his style.
Prodigal Son, Romeo and Juiet, Cinderella etc. His ballet scores never fails to impress us. He's a true genius.
The score of Romeo and Juliet will make you cry.
He may not be the best... But he is my favourite!
Not only a composer but also a master arranger. The fact he turned Manhattan Serenade into a trilling finale involving Jerry Mouse being chased out of New York shows his brilliance in the Tom and Jerry short Mouse in Manhattan.
Not the first composer many think of in this genre but his music for the old school Tom and Jerry cartoons is sure as hell distinctive.
A true heir to Mozart genius when it comes to Opera. He probably reached the highest combination of classical elegance and deep emotional bursts. The greatest dramatic composer, he just has to be on the top ten list.
After Vivaldi he is the greatest Italian composer ever lived. The King of the opera. Here is my personal top 10
10Brahms (Runners up Stravinsky, Handel and Haydn)
Verdi is arguably the best opera composer. His Requiem is beautiful. He should be placed much higher.
The best opera composer the world has produced has to be in the top ten!
The ability to thing differently is rare, so this must be noticed. He set up the path for the modern classical composers and opened some of the largest gates for music exploration.
Stravinsky succeeded in making a name for himself by defying conventions of many of the composers before him. Granted, he lived in an era different from that of Mozart or Bach or Beethoven, where secular music as a whole was frowned upon. However, riots broke out when said composer debuted Rite of Spring. That's saying something. In a more subjective lens, I can say that I appreciate Stravinsky's conventions much more. I like the idea of dangerous orchestral music. When you listen to the likes of Tchaikovsky, it's more pleasant and safe-sounding. Stravinsky still proves that he can have those moments though. but with much more passion, power, and elegance. The Finale of the Firebird Suite exemplifies this. I can hear Stravinsky's influence in modern music. Aaron Copland cites him as his primary inspiration, for one. But I hear a similar intensity in more modern music as well. Stravinsky has seeped his way into the atmospheric winds sections in Sufjan Stevens songs, as well as into the ...more
Stravinsky is the best composer of all. He was the first in music to do what other composers were afraid to do or could not because of their lack of innovative talent. Stravinsky was precisely the creator. He was the most daring and insanely innovative composer. Today, other composers imitate Stravinsky. All the music of Hollywood movie thrillers is written based on Stravinsky's "Sacred Spring".
The man who got me into the world of classical music, Stravinsky was an absolute madlad within his era. When's the last time that you heard of a piece that managed to cause an audience to almost spontaneously riot? This definitely never happened in the classical era, as any composer who broke from the norm was instantly labeled as a joke.
Stravinsky has also shown that ballet does not simply consist of simple dances done in 4/4 or 3/4 or any other simpler meter, but instead can be one of the upmost forms of expression available. His Big Three Ballets (The Rite of Spring, The Firebird, and Petrushka) are very rarely too closely reminiscent to the ballets of Tchaikovsky (like Swan Lake and The Nutcracker).
The diversity of Stravinsky's music is also something to behold, as his instrumentations are rich and full, just as compositions by Beethoven, Camille Saint-Saens (most notably Danse macabre), Modest Mussorgsky, and Paul Dukas (most notably The Sorcerer's Apprentice). ...more
I consider myself a classical fan but I haven't ever heard of 8 out of the top 50. Why is this? Because there are few votes on the list and everyone can push his favorite underground composer to the first page