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
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 symphony no. 7 movement 2 is perhaps the most beautiful piece of music in the history of classical music. The piano sonatas are enough to get this guy in the top 5.
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.
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!
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. "
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 many notes as ...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
I am not per se a musician. I just like listening to classical music. You see Bach has to come very close to the very top because he wrote for organ, violin, piano - the lot, just listen to the Mass in B minor. Some of his compositions must be very difficult to play and sing. As far as I know Mozart and Beethoven composed for piano and orchestra but they were not articulate enough (blasphemy! ) to demonstrate to write for the king of instruments. Maybe they found the instrument boring; but not Bach. He seems to compose endlessly for all instruments and orchestra alike. Truly a genius, perhaps number 1.
As Douglas Adams nicely put it, "Beethoven tells you what it's like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you what it's like to be human. Bach tells you what it's like to be the universe."
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.
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.
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?
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.
Search for beauty, inspiration, aesthetics, passion less intellectualisation, cerebralism, calculations. Risk: sometimes sliding to easy, mellow and other structures pedantics hate.
It is so difficult to compare composers born in different epoques, that we can't say which one is the greatest. What I would say, is that Vivaldi, probably more than any other composer, has been capable to write a music that touch the whole range of human feelings: from the majesty and serenity (for example in many sacred music pieces, or in some of the "chamber" concerts) to the pure anger (in many "furious" concerts and arias), from the most tender and subtle love (as mere example, the slow movement of the concert RV 222), to the loneliness of a desperate soul (hear to the aria "Dite ohimè", in La Fida Ninfa), to the taste of grotesque (in many basson concerts, and in many arias), to the description of the most pure cheerfulness (e.G. , in RV 558). In addition, he produced music of all kinds (sacred coral and for single voice, operas and, obviously, instrumental music that explored the use of nearly all the musical instruments of his time, as solists or combination of solists), ...more
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.
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.
True Genius. Achieved so much more than Beethoven at the age when he died. So sad that he never even heard his own symphonies being played. Thankfully due to Schumann and Mendelssohn the rest of us have
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How could you not pick listz he made songs of extreme technical skill god.
Gave him two hands and 10 fingers and he wrote songs of such skill and such musical complexity that it would almost require multiple hands like his transcendental etudes these etude play at such tempo's and cover almost all keys on the piano.
Or his concert etudes like la campanella one of the most technique and skill requiring songs he made
And like un sospiro such simplicity yet required so much skill how could you not put him at first
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!
John Williams is great, but this is the wrong picture. This is the actor and not the composer. John Williams (composer) isn't dead either.
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.
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
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.
He is a genius who is one of the most influential musician of the 20th century who influenced many jazz musician.
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.
His Canon in D minor just touches my soul its very soulful
I enjoy playing his canon in D
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.
This man did the music for the old MGM cartoons.
If God exists, himself dwells in Morricone's Music
Watch Once Upon a Time in the West
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”.
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
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
Composer of the greatest and most influential pieces of all time- The Rite of Spring
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
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.
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!
No one else comes close to Verdi as Opera composer (quality+quantity)