Greatest Classical ComposersTop ten of the most talented and most respected composers of history.
The Top Ten
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
His songs are part of my childhood! especially when watching little einsteins! ;D his musics are the best! - Lucy1402V 102 Comments
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.
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.
My personal favorite composer - NostalgiaMonkeyV 82 Comments
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
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
Air on the g string..
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
His music transcends generations. No other composer is so interwoven in popular culture!V 48 Comments
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...
His music is as perfect as Mozart's.V 32 Comments
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.
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!V 50 Comments
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...
I agree. His influence over many musicians is not given the proper respect, in my opinion. I enjoy his piano sonatas immensely!
Haydn's music is a bit overrated in my opinion, but I must admit that he is a solid and inventive composer. - gyandriV 9 Comments
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.
Schubert should be at #4 directly behind Bach, Beethoven and Mozart, with Tchaikovsky at #5, and Chopin is only known for brilliant piano compositions, not an all around great composer.V 11 Comments
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 placeV 5 Comments
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.V 9 Comments
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.
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.
johnV 4 Comments
He composed the most beautiful music I've ever heard. His Violin Concerto in E and the Italian Symphony are simply perfection.
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.
Midsummer Night's Dream, Italian Symphony, Violin Concerto. wow. (Elijah and Octet too)V 3 Comments
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.V 8 Comments
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!
Very good imagination complex compounent in his play he is my favorit,he is something like alekine in chessV 10 Comments
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 ChloeV 7 Comments
I love his music! Mostly Night on Bald Mountain
Powerful and rich
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.V 1 Comment
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.V 11 Comments
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.
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
Number 55? what. He composed some of the most moving piano works ever written. His nocturnes and etudes are fantastic.
You guys know he's number five, right?
Should be in top 15.
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!V 6 Comments
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.V 4 Comments
Doesn't deserve to be here.
Actually called Carl Stalling.
Carl Stalling has to be number one otherwise this list is bunk. His comedic timing with his music is evident throughout virtually all the classic Warner Bros. cartoons!
He did a lot of the music for the old Warner Bros. cartoons - jezza0
Probably the best violinist of all time
Ah devil's thrill :3
Not so much of a great musical composer but a violin player... Hmm...
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.
Hitler's literal favorite music artist, he inspired Hitler through his music - LucretiaV 15 Comments
Greatest music compose ever!
"Journey to the Line." Enough said.
Watch the "No time for caution".
the bestV 2 Comments
Best Japanese Composer ever! - asantalo
This man did the music for the Hanna Barbera cartoons - jezza0
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!
The best!V 9 Comments
Toccata will forever be one of my favorite pieces...
20th Century Composers are seriously underrated in this list, Here are some of my favourites
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.
I'm really shocked to see him this low. are you kidding me?
The True Romantic - his music has such energy. Very fine piano concerto and brilliant 1st and 3rd. Symphonies. He inspired others such as Brahms.
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".
I don't think he's really "classical"! - Alex151
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.V 1 Comment
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.
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?
Clean, fresh, memorable, and recognized by everybody. This guy does not get enough credit.
In the hall of the mountain king is my all-time favorite classical piece
His work is beautiful and distinctive. Near top 10.
One of the bestV 8 Comments
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
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