Greatest Classical Composers

Top ten of the most talented and most respected composers of history.

The Top Ten

1 Ludwig Van Beethoven Ludwig Van Beethoven Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers. His best-known compositions include 9 symphonies, 5 piano concertos, 1 violin concerto, ...read more.

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

The 9th symphony, this sums up his battle with tinnitus, the attempted suicide of his nephew Carl Van Beethoven, his Immortal Beloved, His relationship with his father early on, his triumphs and his falters and his own battle with suicidal thoughts. As a 17 year old student in the UK, I don't think I have the life experience to fully comprehend all that Beethoven went through in terms of negativity but what I can say is that when you listen to his incredible ninth symphony, particularly MVTII scherzo and MVTIV presto, you can here the pits of his despair and the heights of his successes, his love for music and his faith in religion pours out seamlessly through meticulous note placements and even more so in his use of the chorale techniques. In response to the NASA scientist in saying he would send BACH to space for Aliens to here, I can say I cannot disagree more. Yes Bach was a pioneer of music and amongst a legendary league of musicians, he didn't quite have as much of an impact on ...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

The best work in classical music, the work that is light years ahead of everything was composed before or after it is Beethoven's Missa Solimnis. Just listen to it guys, say 10-20 times, and you will discover that this work is a prayer inspired by God himself to mankind through immortal LVB.

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2 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era, born in Salzburg.

He died at 35 years old, yet he is at the top 3 in these polls. Had he lived until 57 (like Beethoven) or 65 (like Bach), there would be no contest.

Wagner himself said: "The most tremendous genius raised Mozart above all masters, in all centuries and in all the arts. "

An opinion from nothing less that Albert Einstein: "Mozart is the greatest composer of all. Beethoven created his music, but the music of Mozart is of such purity and beauty that one feels he merely found it-that it has always existed as part of the inner beauty of the universe waiting to be revealed. "

Mozart, One of the most influential composers of the Classical Era. There is no mistake he was a musical genius. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had a gift for taking in and adapting important features of other kinds of music. His travels around Europe helped him compose and create a unique compositional language.

Anyone who loves classical music will love Wolfgang Amadeus, Anyone who hates classical will still love Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Georges Bizet quoted: "As a musician I tell you that if you were to suppress adultery, fanaticism, crime, evil, the supernatural, there would no longer be the means for writing one note."

To achieve this purpose as quoted above, one has to keep many things in mind while composing And hence, The intensity of influence of a musical composition is directly proportional to the Scale in which it is written. Perfect the Scale, Perfect the composition. Mozart mastered the art of adopting the perfect scale for a composition. Being able to write accurate scores requiring no editions or transcriptions is not a piece of cake for any human except Mozart. Perfect balance of Dynamics, Articulations, Tempo, Scale, Algorithm of notes are highly reflected in Mozart's polyphonies. One can hear every instrument in his polyphony at any interval when orchestrated as per original score. It's not noisy like Wagner or Verdi, dizzy like Bach or strenuous like Beethoven, its -"just as ...more

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

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3 Johann Sebastian Bach Johann Sebastian Bach Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Brandenburg Concertos and the Goldberg Variations as well as for vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor.

No composer comes even close to the shear perfection and emotion of Bach. Bach was revered by most of his colleague-composers as being the one and only true greatest:

- Mozart: "That's something one can learn from! " when being overwhelmed by hearing a motet from Bach for the first time.
- Van Beethoven: "The eternal god of harmony" (he played Bach every day before and after composing in order to bring peace to his mind! Also others like Schumann, Czerny, Mendelssohn and Liszt played Bach every day)
- Brahms: "Study Bach! There you'll find everything! "
- Verdi: "O you lucky sons of the north who grew up at Bach's bosom, how I envy you! "
- Wagner: "The most stupendous miracle in all music! "
- Mendelssohn: "To think that it was a Jew (meaning himself) to bring the greatest Christian music back to life..."

A contemporary source who heard both and who was very familiar with the music of both Mozart ...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

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

Bach is probably the greatest musical figure in all of the history of the world. He wrote some 1,000 plus works. Most of which were brilliant cantatas, he has keyboard music that is very virtuousic, and unique for its time.

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4 Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky

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.

Hands down my favorite composer of all time... For me, music is all about the emotion it brings, and Tchaikovsky's works are the epitome of human emotion being expressed through music. It's energetic, fun, romantic, heartbreaking, furious, triumphant and many other things all at the same time... When I listen to his music, it's almost as if I knew exactly what he was feeling as his composed it

The best.

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5 Frederic Chopin Frederic Chopin Frédéric François Chopin (1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849), born Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin, was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era who wrote primarily for the solo piano. He gained and has maintained renown worldwide as a leading musician of his era, whose "poetic genius ...read more.

I am often amazed to hear an amateur or pro pianist list their favorite composers, naming the usual German suspects; and then they play something for us... A beautiful tune by "Fryderyk f****** Chopin"! (trivia: which movie is this line from? )

Chopin is the most underrated composer. He is #1 in my book. Almost 500 works of such originality, some of them hiding most gorgeous melodies or tonal innovations. Case in point: listen to the etude op. 25 #5; easy to dismiss the piece after a few bars of a simple folksy staccato; but then you get to the middle part; sublime! And only repeated once; moving on to the next etude. If Beethoven (or the uber tedious, so predictable, boring, and totally overrated Schubert) ever came up with these 500 ideas, he would would have turned it into 500 grand symphonies or concertos, repeating the theme 20 times in each.

Still, I wish that someone embellished Chopin properly. Some pieces could really use a multi-instrumental ...more

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.

He had so much dynamic and composed so many beautiful and breath-taking masterpieces for such a young age. Etude Op. 25 No. 1 is much better than Bach's Two-Part Inventions...

Listin to ballade number 1

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6 Antonio Vivaldi Antonio Vivaldi

This composer is just amazing... His ability to play with the feelings of the listeners is just... I Especially like winter and summer, they are just amazing... Amazin!

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.

I love baroque music especially Vivaldi's intricate and decorated masterpieces, his cantatas, endless rich concertos, sinfonia and chamber and opera music have brought me to love his musical style.

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!

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7 Joseph Haydn

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.

He is surely the best. He is one of the fathers of classical music and influenced beethoven, schubert. Why isn't he on the top 5?

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...

Pure genius!

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8 Franz Schubert Franz Schubert Franz Peter Schubert (31 January 1797 – 19 November 1828) was an Austrian composer. Schubert died before his 32nd birthday, but was extremely prolific during his lifetime. His output consists of over six hundred secular vocal works, seven complete symphonies, sacred music, operas, incidental music ...read more.

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.

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.

i love him

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9 Johannes Brahms Johannes Brahms

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.

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.

4th place

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10 George Frederick Handel

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.

That Handel is not in the Top Ten is nothing short of a tragedy... Beethoven called him the greatest composer who ever lived: he was the yin to Bach's yang, the simplicity to balance the complexity, the emotion to match the technique, the ultimate musical master of simple means and devastating impact.

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.

I think he is the best composer ever.

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The Contenders

11 Felix Mendelssohn

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.

He composed the most beautiful music I've ever heard. His Violin Concerto in E and the Italian Symphony are simply perfection.

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.

Listen to Mendelssohn so you can Ascendelssohn

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12 Gustav Mahler

Mahler is second only to Beethoven in his skill at the symphony. His orchestration bears a rich and complex texture, and there are passages from his fifth, ninth, and tenth symphonies which are some of the most darkly intellectual music ever written. Many of his lieder are also beautifully written. - alexpijanowski

Mahler's music is like cosmos there is a chaos in his music, he taking his music from world, world not has mathematical melodies or regular voices, there is only "noise" sometimes and world should be like this and this is exactly what mahler do, he is master of "world voices"

Bach of course should be number one. Mahler didn't respect the formal structure of the symphony, but his music has the breadth and transcendent sweep of greatness.

Mahler is, basically, the bridge between all of the prior arcs of the Western art music tradition and the modern age. His fusion of symphonic form with the deeper layers of human experience were one of the strongest arrows pointing toward 'next' in his day. I definitely think it'll still be another hundred years or so before the impact of his works are really understood, but at least he has a lot of momentum from those who 'get it' in the present day.

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13 Franz Liszt Franz Liszt Franz Liszt was a prolific 19th-century Hungarian composer, virtuoso pianist, conductor, music teacher, arranger, organist, philanthropist, author, nationalist and a Franciscan tertiary.

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.

His Hungarian Rhapsodies stand out so much compared to any other composers works (apart from chopin and Mozart) especially no.2 which is one of the most famous and dramatic pieces of all time.

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!

Best

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14 Maurice Ravel Maurice Ravel

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!

How is he not in this list!?

Ravel's pieces are unique in style and absolutely unheard of. At least top 5.

Daphnis Et Chloe

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15 John Williams John Williams John Williams (15 April 1903 – 5 May 1983) was an English stage, film and television actor. He is remembered for his role as chief inspector Hubbard in Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M For Murder, as the chauffeur in Sabrina, and as portraying the second "Mr. French" on TV's Family Affair.

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!

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.

Williams has composed some of the greatest songs to date and even today they haven't swayed in quality one bit. - notveryswoleboi

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.

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16 Modest Mussorgsky

I love his music! Mostly Night on Bald Mountain

Powerful and rich

Unreal

fat boiii

17 Igor Stravinsky

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

Composer of the greatest and most influential pieces of all time- The Rite of Spring

Igor Stravinsky is a legend! His compositions are so unique. I love him!

Stravinsky's music is unlike anything else.

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18 Claude Debussy Claude Debussy

He is a genius who is one of the most influential musician of the 20th century who influenced many jazz musician.

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.

I do like tchaikovski, but thinking Debussy so far behind is flabbergasting...

He's an amazing musician. Mozart might be a good compopser, but he's a very crappy musician.

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19 Danny Elfman Danny Elfman

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.

20 Johann Pachelbel

His Canon in D minor just touches my soul its very soulful

Pachelbel's Canon in D is AMAZING!

I enjoy playing his canon in D

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.

21 Scott Bradley

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.

This man did the music for the old MGM cartoons. - jezza0

22 Frédéric Chopin

You guys know he's number five, right?

Number 55? what. He composed some of the most moving piano works ever written. His nocturnes and etudes are fantastic.

Should be in top 15.

23 Giuseppe Verdi

Giuseppe Verdi can't be 16 in the ranking. He deserves at least a top 8

How this Italian genius cannot be included in the top 10

Verdi is arguably the best opera composer. His Requiem is beautiful. He should be placed much higher.

Someone mentioned this being 16th. Guess what, now it's 31st!

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24 Ennio Morricone Ennio Morricone Ennio Morricone, Grand Officer OMRI is an Italian composer, orchestrator, conductor, and former trumpet player.

Watch Once Upon a Time in the West

25 Sergei Prokofiev

Marvelous composer!. Listen to the fifth symphony only the second movement. That describes his style.

The score of Romeo and Juliet will make you cry.

He may not be the best... But he is my favourite!

Prodigal Son, Romeo and Juiet, Cinderella etc. His ballet scores never fails to impress us. He's a true genius.

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26 John Cage

Doesn't deserve to be here.

No way!

27 Alexandre Desplat
28 Alexei Stanchinsky
29 Carl Stalling

This man should be at the top. Don't believe me, try listening to one of those old Warner Bros cartoons (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird) he scored, while you are doing something else and I can guarantee that you'll know exactly whats happening and to whom simply from the comedic music timing of this American icon.

The music from all these Germanic composers from the 17th century or so all sound the same. They do tend to drag on and on and on. A Carl Stalling score is very bouncy, slick and comedic.

Carl Stalling is the most logical choice here. Warner Bros cartoons were famous for their comedic use of music just as much as their violence. - jezza0

My guess is that the only reason Carl Stalling isn't number one on this list is that people haven't heard of him. Yet they would know his music from the classic Warner Bros. cartoons he scored.

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30 Niccolò Paganini

No he created great music I think he should ne higher on the list

Not so much of a great musical composer but a violin player... Hmm...

31 Giuseppe Tartini

Probably the best violinist of all time

Ah devil's thrill :3

32 Sergei Rachmaninoff

How on earth is Rachmaninoff not on here... pure genius. His Piano Concertos are excellent but his Preludes are really I think some of the most beautiful piano pieces of all time.

Chopin and Debussy are quite excellent as well. Beethoven, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky are way overrated. Bach was obviously obscenely talented and his pieces are fascinating, but I would much rather listen to Rachmaninoff, Chopin, or Debussy any day of the week. - AndrewLatham

I very much appreciate classical music but I am picky about what I listen to. Rachmaninoff is in a class by himself, a pianist even better than Horowitz and a composer of the most memorable pieces for the piano in my lifetime. In fact I consider his concerto no. 2 as THE BEST EVER. And to be rated 22 on your list is shockingly absurd.

Not only one of the greatest, but THE greatest romantic writer of all time in my opinion. This is a man who spent all of his life as a seer of the world, and from that heartache, wrote some of the greatest and most well-known pieces of the classical repetoire. Not only a miracle to classical music, but a miracle to humanity. Top 5 EASILY!

Rachmaninoff is the greatest composer of the 20th century...
He made the most technically challenging piano concerto ever
the fact that pachabel is ahead of me breaks my heart

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33 Hans Zimmer Hans Zimmer Hans Florian Zimmer is a German film score composer and record producer. Since the 1980s, he has composed music for over 150 films.

Greatest music compose ever!

"Journey to the Line." Enough said.

Watch the "No time for caution".

the best

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34 Akira Ifukube

Best Japanese Composer ever! - asantalo

35 Hoyt Curtin

This man did the music for the Hanna Barbera cartoons - jezza0

36 Aram Khachaturian

Toccata will forever be one of my favorite pieces...

37 Olivier Messiaen

20th Century Composers are seriously underrated in this list, Here are some of my favourites

Olivier Messiaen
Arvo Pärt
Arnold Schönberg
Béla Bartók

38 Alan Silvestri
39 Robert Schumann

How is he so low? His solo piano works, symphonies, concertos for piano, violin, and cello are all sterling; not to forget his lieder, second only to Schubert, and his underrated chamber music. This ranking only reinforces my belief that Schumann is the most overlooked of the "Great Composers."

Schumann, Brahms, Handel and Haydn are all too low, but I voted for Schumann because he was lowest of all of these. Second greatest lieder writer of all time, and also one of the greatest composers of solo piano music, plus some great orchestral and chamber works.

Schumann deserves a better spot. His piano work and symphonies are among the best.

Should be in the top 10

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40 Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Symphonies 4,5,6; nutcracker, sleeping beauty, swan lake ballets; piano and violin concertos, serenade for strings, Romeo and Juliet, 1812 overtures and many more compositions are loved by almost every classical music listeners. Just look at the World's symphonic orchestra programs...

Why he's so low?

41 Gustav Holst

Best known for his symphony, "The Planets, " Gustav Holst is a real icon for the late romantic era and early British nationalist music. Fond of folk tunes? Have a go at his Symphonies in E flat and F for military band - two of the greatest wind pieces I have ever heard, and a heartbreakingly beautiful interpretation of the English folk world.

Before you vote for anyone else listen to his jupiter movement

42 Alexander Borodin
43 Arnold Schoenberg

I don't think he's really "classical"! - Alex151

44 Aaron Copland

He embodies Americana. Why John Williams has a higher placing than Aaron Copland is beyond me. With- out Aaron Copland we would not have a John Williams. Also, John Williams, like most movie composers, must be inspired by the picture or the moment in a movie to add the back drop of music. Aaron Copland created the music first and inspires us to envision America through his music. That is pure genius.

I would move him up 20 or more points for helping define the 'American Sound', which is music suggesting expanse and spacial distance, which is the American landscape. Also, he was a major influence on Leonard Bernstein and John Williams, without which, we would not have had "West Side Story" and "Star Wars".

45 Richard Wagner Richard Wagner Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is primarily known for his operas.

Deserves the first place for the best total work of art to ever grace humanity - Parsifal. The immeasurable depth and solemnity of this work will always lead humanity into heroic...

The way is music changes, loud and gruff to melodic and gentle. Always there is beauty. He really shows how great both can be (sometimes letting them intermingle).

Wagner's work is far ahead of any other composer. He deserves first place and only is not in the top5, because his operas are too difficult to completely understand to most of the people.

How is he this low? He deserves #4.

V 16 Comments
46 Karlheinz Stockhausen

German composer, widely acknowledged by critics as one of the most important (Barrett 1988, 45; Harvey 1975b, 705; Hopkins 1972, 33; Klein 1968, 117) but also controversial (Power 1990, 30) composers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Another critic calls him "one of the great visionaries of 20th-century music" (Hewett 2007). He is known for his ground-breaking work in electronic music, aleatory (controlled chance) in serial composition, and musical spatialization.

Immensely enjoyable music opening the door to different Worlds and transcendental states. Always the voice of the human being in juxta-position to the absurdity of reality.

I live here in Kürten where he died. My Parents knew him, and my grandfather played violin with him (one time).

47 Henry Jackman
48 Howard Shore
49 Edvard Grieg

In the hall of the mountain king is my all-time favorite classical piece

Clean, fresh, memorable, and recognized by everybody. This guy does not get enough credit.

His work is beautiful and distinctive. Near top 10.

The greatest

V 9 Comments
50 Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

The Flight of the Bumblebee is so masterfully crafted, so ingeniously put together that this song alone qualifies Rimsky-Korsakov to be on the list.

Flight of the bumblebee enough said amazing composer

He should be on the 2nd page

His music is pure beauty. Russian Easter Overture, Scheherazade, and Cappricio Espagnol are his big 3.

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