Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

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Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Lance » Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:08 pm

Here's a list of composers showing available CDs in the USA, most of which are available globally. It is kind of a barometer as to the popularity of composers with the public. They are not in any particular order.

JS Bach - 5,730
Handel - 2,506
Vivaldi - 1,725
Haydn - 1,913
Mozart - 6,338
Beethoven - 4,767
Schubert - 3,295
Schumann - 2,252
Brahms - 3,294
Chopin - 1,991
Liszt - 1,804
Mendlssohn - 2,187
Dvorak - 1,657
Mahler - 1,005
Fauré - 1,154
Puccini - 1,965
Massenet - 1,110
Donizetti - 1,227
Rossini - 1,598
Gounod - 1,178
Rachmaninoff - 1,565
Saint-Saens - 1,365
Shostakovich - 1,179
Prokofiev: 1,276
Richard Strauss - 1,568
Tchaikovsky - 2,872
Verdi - 3,101
Wagner - 2,095

Mozart continues to take the lead with Bach not far behind. I was basing this on recordings 1,000 or more. Most other composers are considerably behind with recordings only into the hundreds, if that. Does anything surprise you about this?

There is NO composer considered "contemporary" who even comes close to these numbers. Copland came in with 518, Stockhausen came in with 49, Piston with 57, Pärt with 195; Diamond with 44, Gorecki with 77, etc. Of course most of these contemporary composers didn't have the total output of numbers of works of most of the others on the highest list at the beginning. Even Sibelius came in at 767, Stravinsky at 898, and Vaughan Williams at 751. This offers some indication, however, of popularity among listeners and buyers of recordings. An interesting study certainly not meant to defame any others outside the "big" list.
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by RebLem » Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:24 pm

Lance wrote:Mozart continues to take the lead with Bach not far behind. I was basing this on recordings 1,000 or more. Most other composers are considerably behind with recordings only into the hundreds, if that. Does anything surprise you about this?
It does surprise me that Faure and Massenet are on the list and Wagner is not, otherwise, not much.
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by piston » Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:54 pm

I'm curious about your methodology, Lance. I once did something similar using CD counts on Amazon (I think!) and two things soon became apparent: a. for some reason, the count dropped somewhat significantly if one verified it all the way to the last page (e.g., a 6,000 count might turn out to be a 4,560 count); b. this computer-generated count would include numerous multi-composer CDs featuring a very popular work (e.g., Elegie by Fauré) thus explaining why a composer of gigantic works such as Wagner could not possibly compete numerically speaking.

I'm not sure how one can proceed scientifically with these computer generated counts. Perhaps it would be more accurate to assess popularity on the basis of only one famous work for each composer.... :mrgreen:
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by piston » Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:10 pm

I think that Mahler has got a much bigger fan club than Fauré (not here, though!) but Gustav is not showing those kind of numbers here because he too wrote gigantic works. Meanwhile, Chopin is likely to do well for just the opposite reason.

But there ain't no question that a composer such as Walter Piston isn't that popular nowadays. A fairly reliable method of assessing popularity consists of googling "News" and typing in the name of a composer. Some composers will not even show up!
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Chalkperson » Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:18 pm

piston wrote:I'm curious about your methodology, Lance.
No surprise that Arkiv Music lists exactly these numbers, but, that of course includes Arkiv's On Demand CD's... :wink:
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Ken » Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:27 am

piston wrote:I'm curious about your methodology, Lance. I once did something similar using CD counts on Amazon (I think!) and two things soon became apparent: a. for some reason, the count dropped somewhat significantly if one verified it all the way to the last page (e.g., a 6,000 count might turn out to be a 4,560 count); b. this computer-generated count would include numerous multi-composer CDs featuring a very popular work (e.g., Elegie by Fauré) thus explaining why a composer of gigantic works such as Wagner could not possibly compete numerically speaking.

I'm not sure how one can proceed scientifically with these computer generated counts. Perhaps it would be more accurate to assess popularity on the basis of only one famous work for each composer.... :mrgreen:
I was also curious about this; how many of the discs that we see reflected in these numbers are simply of the 'The Most Relaxing Classical Album EVER!' variety? Even EMI has released a whole slew of multi-disc budget pop-classical sets that probably sell like wreaths at Christmas. If there were a way to categorize and exclude any and all of these compilation discs, it'd be interesting to see how of if the list changed.
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Lance » Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:29 am

My apologies. Wagner was omitted erroneously. Wagner is 2,095 and I've corrected my original post. Thank you for pointing this out.
RebLem wrote:
Lance wrote:Mozart continues to take the lead with Bach not far behind. I was basing this on recordings 1,000 or more. Most other composers are considerably behind with recordings only into the hundreds, if that. Does anything surprise you about this?
It does surprise me that Faure and Massenet are on the list and Wagner is not, otherwise, not much.
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Lance » Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:33 am

Hi Jacques ... it is just a bit of a barometer. There could be 100 listings for Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto ... many works with various recordings by different personnel. Still, if there are that many renditions of a single work (or more), that tells one something about the popularity of a piece of work in the overall output of a composer. One can go to just about any site and ask for recordings of Joe Schmow and come up with a total number. Still, Bach, Haydn and Mozart, not to mention Telemann and Vivaldi have hundreds and hundreds of individual "works," so they still might come out ahead just based on one composition per work. It's not a scientific process I used.
piston wrote:I'm curious about your methodology, Lance. I once did something similar using CD counts on Amazon (I think!) and two things soon became apparent: a. for some reason, the count dropped somewhat significantly if one verified it all the way to the last page (e.g., a 6,000 count might turn out to be a 4,560 count); b. this computer-generated count would include numerous multi-composer CDs featuring a very popular work (e.g., Elegie by Fauré) thus explaining why a composer of gigantic works such as Wagner could not possibly compete numerically speaking.

I'm not sure how one can proceed scientifically with these computer generated counts. Perhaps it would be more accurate to assess popularity on the basis of only one famous work for each composer.... :mrgreen:
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Lance » Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:36 am

The numbers are based on ANY work by a composer if it is available on a compact disc. Even it is in an anthology of composers. Still, the NUMBERS for any number of works for a composer, even if they are repetitive works, offers some interesting information about the popularity of a composer. Selecting numbers between 1,000 entries and, in the case of Mozart - who just happened to pop up with the most of anybody narrows, substantially, the popular of composers on records. Follow my point?
Ken wrote:
piston wrote:I'm curious about your methodology, Lance. I once did something similar using CD counts on Amazon (I think!) and two things soon became apparent: a. for some reason, the count dropped somewhat significantly if one verified it all the way to the last page (e.g., a 6,000 count might turn out to be a 4,560 count); b. this computer-generated count would include numerous multi-composer CDs featuring a very popular work (e.g., Elegie by Fauré) thus explaining why a composer of gigantic works such as Wagner could not possibly compete numerically speaking.

I'm not sure how one can proceed scientifically with these computer generated counts. Perhaps it would be more accurate to assess popularity on the basis of only one famous work for each composer.... :mrgreen:
I was also curious about this; how many of the discs that we see reflected in these numbers are simply of the 'The Most Relaxing Classical Album EVER!' variety? Even EMI has released a whole slew of multi-disc budget pop-classical sets that probably sell like wreaths at Christmas. If there were a way to categorize and exclude any and all of these compilation discs, it'd be interesting to see how of if the list changed.
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Lance » Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:37 am

Correct, but still, they are recordings that ARE available (if one wants to pay their price for reprints).
Chalkperson wrote:
piston wrote:I'm curious about your methodology, Lance.
No surprise that Arkiv Music lists exactly these numbers, but, that of course includes Arkiv's On Demand CD's... :wink:
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:45 am

I think Ken's point is very valid, would you mind going thru and count only real CD's, i'm sure you could do that in your spare time... :lol:
Lance wrote:Correct, but still, they are recordings that ARE available (if one wants to pay their price for reprints).
Chalkperson wrote:
piston wrote:I'm curious about your methodology, Lance.
No surprise that Arkiv Music lists exactly these numbers, but, that of course includes Arkiv's On Demand CD's... :wink:
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Ken » Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:52 am

Lance, you're right, though, and this list is informative of the popular appeal of certain composers. It'd be interesting if we could see a similar list from 50 years ago and note if their popularity has waxed or waned in the last half-century. Even more interesting still if this were possible for a hundred years ago (sorry, Shosty and Sergei).
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:57 am

Ken wrote:Lance, you're right, though, and this list is informative of the popular appeal of certain composers. It'd be interesting if we could see a similar list from 50 years ago and note if their popularity has waxed or waned in the last half-century. Even more interesting still if this were possible for a hundred years ago (sorry, Shosty and Sergei).
If it was 100 years ago then Caruso would beat all the Composers put together... :wink:
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by absinthe » Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:17 am

Lance wrote:There is NO composer considered "contemporary" who even comes close to these numbers. Copland came in with 518, Stockhausen came in with 49, Piston with 57, Pärt with 195; Diamond with 44, Gorecki with 77, etc. Of course most of these contemporary composers didn't have the total output of numbers of works of most of the others on the highest list at the beginning. Even Sibelius came in at 767, Stravinsky at 898, and Vaughan Williams at 751. This offers some indication, however, of popularity among listeners and buyers of recordings. An interesting study certainly not meant to defame any others outside the "big" list.
But contemporary composers haven't been around as long as Mozart. Maybe in 200 years' time some names will prevail although we'll probably have music downloaded direct to our brains if we're still around. Or maybe the world will be in such a state that musicians will once again play to audiences.

A note about Stockhausen: as I understand, he bought his catalogue from DG and now issues it from his own site - nonsensically German based with bank payment or cash only - well, the Germans are like that: hate credit cards and as for paypal they'd turn it over in the soil rather than use it. He lists 99 CDs, covering just about all his output. As performance is often unique to Stockhausen (electronic, electroacoustic or with him as sound engineer) only a few works have been attempted elsewhere.

There's also the matter of press and marketing. Mozart is easy to sell - it mostly sounds nice; it lies well within the musical experience of most people so it's easily digestable. With some contemporary composers digestion is only possible with a good dose of syrup of figs or something.

And this brings me to the 2000 posts you mentioned elsewhere.
Thanks
:)

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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Jared » Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:32 am

Lance wrote:The numbers are based on ANY work by a composer if it is available on a compact disc. Even it is in an anthology of composers. Still, the NUMBERS for any number of works for a composer, even if they are repetitive works, offers some interesting information about the popularity of a composer. Selecting numbers between 1,000 entries and, in the case of Mozart - who just happened to pop up with the most of anybody narrows, substantially, the popular of composers on records. Follow my point?
on that basis, I'm surprised that Pachelbel and Albinoni don't appear... :lol:

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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Imperfect Pitch » Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:19 am


Wow, Massenet beats Mahler? The top four happen to be my four favorite composers, but I remain allergic to the fifth-place finisher (who currently trails #4 by just a hair). I am surprised by how high Verdi and Mendelssohn placed. Below is Lance's list in rank order, and here is what appears to be the source (thanks for the tip, Chalkie). I see that some of the numbers have already shifted ever-so-slightly.


1. Mozart - 6,338
2. JS Bach - 5,730
3. Beethoven - 4,767
4. Schubert - 3,295
5. Brahms - 3,294
6. Verdi - 3,101
7. Tchaikovsky - 2,872
8. Handel - 2,506
9. Schumann - 2,252
10. Mendelssohn - 2,187
11. Wagner - 2,095
12. Chopin - 1,991
13. Puccini - 1,965
14. Haydn - 1,913
15. Liszt - 1,804
16. Vivaldi - 1,725
17. Dvorak - 1,657
18. Rossini - 1,598
19. Richard Strauss - 1,568
20. Rachmaninoff - 1,565
21. Saint-Saens - 1,365
22. Prokofiev: 1,276
23. Donizetti - 1,227
24. Shostakovich - 1,179
25. Gounod - 1,178
26. Fauré - 1,154
27. Massenet - 1,110
28. Mahler - 1,005

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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by absinthe » Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:29 am

Yes, I was surprised to see Donizetti above Shostakovich, Rossini above Rachmaninoff. I suppose the number of recorded performances doesn't necessarily tally with CD sales. Some could be gathering cobwebs in a backroom - but it's heartening to see. I quite like Rossini / Donizetti (as long as I don't concentrate on the libretti). No surprise that Meyerbeer is missing - I spose no one can bear the recording expenses in these hard times.

18. Rossini - 1,598
19. Richard Strauss - 1,568
20. Rachmaninoff - 1,565
21. Saint-Saens - 1,365
22. Prokofiev: 1,276
23. Donizetti - 1,227
24. Shostakovich - 1,179

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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by lmpower » Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:39 pm

The closest thing to a surprise is Massenet. What in the world did he write that caused so many recordings. They couldn't all be of Manon.

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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by arglebargle » Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:31 pm

I'm surprised that composers such as Prokofiev or Shostakovich have 1/6 as many sales as Mozart, I'd have guessed more like 100 to 1. Perhaps I'm underestimating the general record buying public.
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by nut-job » Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:35 pm

lmpower wrote:The closest thing to a surprise is Massenet. What in the world did he write that caused so many recordings. They couldn't all be of Manon.
10 of Manon and 1100 anthologies of "most relaxing classical music" containing the Meditation from Thais.
arglebargle wrote:I'm surprised that composers such as Prokofiev or Shostakovich have 1/6 as many sales as Mozart, I'd have guessed more like 100 to 1. Perhaps I'm underestimating the general record buying public.
It is number of releases available, not number of sales.

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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by scytheavatar » Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:45 am

nut-job wrote:It is number of releases available, not number of sales.
And that's why this is a very bad methodology of measuring popularity. Composers with a huge body of works, like Schubert or Handel, are almost certainly going to have an edge over the likes of Mahler who composed less works.

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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Imperfect Pitch » Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:46 am

scytheavatar wrote:
nut-job wrote:It is number of releases available, not number of sales.
And that's why this is a very bad methodology of measuring popularity. Composers with a huge body of works, like Schubert or Handel, are almost certainly going to have an edge over the likes of Mahler who composed less works.
scytheavatar: That doesn't explain why Verdi (#6) is higher on the list than Haydn (#14). The reality is, any measure - including by sales volume - will have its imperfections. (Which methodology would you propose?) In any case, Lance offered the list as only "a bit of a barometer" of popularity, and that much is hard to argue with.

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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Ken » Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:07 am

scytheavatar wrote:
nut-job wrote:It is number of releases available, not number of sales.
And that's why this is a very bad methodology of measuring popularity. Composers with a huge body of works, like Schubert or Handel, are almost certainly going to have an edge over the likes of Mahler who composed less works.
True enough; think of it this way: it's a measure of how popular the composers are, not how beloved they are, much in the way that 'popular' music is frequently heard but seldom 'beloved'. ;)
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Debra » Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:13 am

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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by piston » Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:27 am

As much as I like Faure's music, it is clear from these boards and other similar classical music sites that he is not anywhere near Mahler in terms of popularity. (Simply do a search of both composers' names on CMG, for a starter). But, in contrast to Mahler, Faure composed a host of small piano pieces and chamber works which, in addition to his Requiem and his handful of orchestral works, almost certainly account for his good statistical standing here. There's no supply and demand for 150 versions X 10 of Mahler symphonies but there is supply and demand for 10 versions X 150 of Faure's works.
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by piston » Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:31 am

The count on CMG is:
Mahler 6055
Faure: 340

In fact, why not use the CMG search function as a methodology? :wink:
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by piston » Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:32 am

Make that 341 for Faure, er, it's now at 342..... :lol:
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Imperfect Pitch » Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:04 am

piston wrote:The count on CMG is:
Mahler 6055
Faure: 340
Dittersdorf clocks in at 1,410, which is more than Rossini (673) and Puccini (671) combined.

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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by THEHORN » Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:42 am

I'm amazed to see Stockhausen on this list at all ! Maybe it's curiousity about his personal eccentricities that drives some people to buy CDs of such esoteric stuff .

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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Ken » Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:58 am

^ His 'personal eccentricities', in the grand history of music, seem to me rather tame. Perhaps people purchase his esoteric music because it's just that--esoteric (and enjoyable). ;)
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by James » Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:20 am

Stockhausen is so cool - one of the 'big beasts' of the 20th century. Like Miles Davis, on tour in Germany, told his audience to "Give up on Beethoven: You've got Stockhausen now." 8)
absinthe wrote: There's also the matter of press and marketing. Mozart is easy to sell - it mostly sounds nice; it lies well within the musical experience of most people so it's easily digestable.
That's what precisely drives this - and the result is the massive flooding into the market with so much unnecessary & redundant produce - when that time, energy & money could be used to promote & produce a wider breadth of music in a more balanced manor giving people more knowledge & choices. But it's all about making money - narrow tunnel vision, not promoting the art form.

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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by THEHORN » Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:25 am

My comment is not about Stockhausen's music , which is certainly interesting . But if many of the concertgoers who love their Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov were taken to an all Stockhausen concert , they would feel like checking into a mental institution afterwards, if they were even able to sit through the whole thing.
His music is beyond the pale for many people.
Do you remember the story about Beecham late in his life ? He was asked if he had heard any of Stockhausen's music ,and replied that he had not, but had definitely trodden on it !

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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Imperfect Pitch » Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:49 am

James wrote:Stockhausen is so cool - one of the 'big beasts' of the 20th century. Like Miles Davis, on tour in Germany, told his audience to "Give up on Beethoven: You've got Stockhausen now." 8)
absinthe wrote: There's also the matter of press and marketing. Mozart is easy to sell - it mostly sounds nice; it lies well within the musical experience of most people so it's easily digestable.
That's what precisely drives this - and the result is the massive flooding into the market with so much unnecessary & redundant produce - when that time, energy & money could be used to promote & produce a wider breadth of music in a more balanced manor giving people more knowledge & choices. But it's all about making money - narrow tunnel vision, not promoting the art form.
Pure sophistry. If Stockhausen sat atop the list (hard to imagine, I know), you could just as easily direct these comments at him. They have nothing to do with Mozart per se.

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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by nut-job » Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:59 am

James wrote:That's what precisely drives this - and the result is the massive flooding into the market with so much unnecessary & redundant produce - when that time, energy & money could be used to promote & produce a wider breadth of music in a more balanced manor giving people more knowledge & choices. But it's all about making money - narrow tunnel vision, not promoting the art form.
In what sense are these products redundant and unnecessary if people want them and buy them? I am sure the average new release of a Beethoven symphony is more eagerly awaited and sells better than any release by Stockhausen (since that is the name that has been invoked above). Witness the vigorous discussion of Immerseel's recent Beethoven symphony cycle on this board and elsewhere. The fact is that Beethoven's body of work is so rich and layered that performers constantly find new meaning in them.

What we have here is the typical resentment based argument that the "unnecessary" and "redundant" recordings of mainstream music somehow interferes with the ability to Stockhausen recordings to be produced and distributed. This is not true. There is no shortage of resources for making audio recordings or distributing them. Denying people the Beethoven recordings they want will not increase demand for Stockhausens. The effect will be the opposite, the record companies will have less resources for producing money-losing Stockhausen recordings that few people buy.
Last edited by nut-job on Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:38 am, edited 2 times in total.

Beckmesser
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Beckmesser » Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:01 am

Another source of data which we can ponder is the annual survey of the League of American Orchestras. Each season this organization compiles a list of works performed by its member orchestras.

The Top 20 most frequently performed composers during the 2007-08 season were:

1,044 Beethoven, Ludwig Van
900 Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
628 Tchaikovsky, Piotr Ilyich
555 Brahms, Johannes
418 Dvorak, Antonin
367 Ravel, Maurice
359 Bach, Johann Sebastian
330 Stravinsky, Igor
319 Mendelssohn, Felix
296 Rachmaninoff, Sergei
285 Strauss, Richard
284 Sibelius, Jean
277 Haydn, Franz Joseph
275 Shostakovich, Dmitri
253 Mahler, Gustav
246 Schubert, Franz
236 Prokofiev, Sergei
213 Berlioz, Hector
210 Debussy, Claude
206 Copland, Aaron

Those who are interested in poring over the detailed data can obtain it here.

As an afterthought, I should probably underscore the fact that these findings are, of course, biased toward the orchestral repertoire. Composers whose output was primarily for solo instruments (e.g., Chopin), chamber ensembles, the opera house (Verdi and Puccini), or the church will tend to be underrepresented.
Last edited by Beckmesser on Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:22 am, edited 2 times in total.

piston
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by piston » Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:17 am

Note, in the above listing, that Ravel and Debussy are ahead of Faure and Saint-Saens, which is probably a more accurate measure of their popularity than the CD count.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

James

Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by James » Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:43 am

I have no resentment at all "nut-job", most of the stuff I like is easy to find & buy. Stockhausen produces & releases his own stuff (books, scores, cds, videos, courses etc), all the money goes directly to his cottage industry set up (which still thrives despite his passing, and no marketing-promoting machine). It operates & survives outside of the main-stream outlets, happily.

The overblown bores like Mozart, Beethoven & safe romantic stuff is what's dominating production, marketing & promotion, by & large though. So it's all people see - most who flock to just this stuff like mindless sheep aren't really into the art form in a deep way anyhow, most are ignorant, a lot just want to be seen with a foney veneer of appearing "cultured" etc. Same applies to the "companies" that tirelessly peddle it & market it. Only a tiny tiny fraction of all that rendundant effluent produce that they dump into the market is actually any good. Most true music lovers (a small committed group) don't need so many recordings or re-issues of the same thing and ignore all of this anyhow, they inform themselves and seek out other options & alternatives.

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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by nut-job » Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:49 am

James wrote:I have no resentment at all "nut-job", most of the stuff I like is easy to find & buy. Stockhausen produces & releases his own stuff (books, scores, cds, videos, courses etc), all the money goes directly to his cottage industry set up (which still thrives despite his passing, and no marketing-promoting machine). It operates & survives outside of the main-stream outlets, happily.

The overblown bores like Mozart, Beethoven & safe romantic stuff is what's dominating production, marketing & promotion, by & large though. So it's all people see - most who flock to just this stuff like mindless sheep aren't really into the art form in a deep way anyhow, most are ignorant, a lot just want to be seen with a foney veneer of appearing "cultured" etc. Same applies to the "companies" that tirelessly peddle it & market it. Only a tiny tiny fraction of all that rendundant effluent produce that they dump into the market is actually any good. Most true music lovers (a small committed group) don't need so many recordings or re-issues of the same thing and ignore all of this anyhow, they inform themselves and seek out other options & alternatives.
It is good that you take the time to explain to us sheep that you are actually much smarter than we are. Otherwise we'd have no way of knowing. :D

James

Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by James » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:21 pm

Music isn't a popularity contest. Love it for what it is and can be, not how popular it is.

nut-job
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by nut-job » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:27 pm

James wrote:Music isn't a popularity contest. Love it for what it is and can be, not how popular it is.
And call people who don't agree with you "ignorant mindless sheep with a phoney veener of appearing cultured who consume redundant effluent." It must be a big burden being so much more intelligent than the rest of us. :roll:

James

Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by James » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:49 pm

Most of "these" consumers are sheep & do look at music that way though, doesn't take a genius to point it out either.

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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Lance » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:50 pm

You missed the point of this thread, James. Talking of popularity of composers enjoyed by people from all walks of life indicates how great this music really is and wants to be imbibed by those whom it touches. I believe your sentiments are very much in the minority unless you consider yourself very much above everyone else "culturally."

I find it difficult to believe that you—or any intelligent person—would write the following:

James writes:
The overblown bores like Mozart, Beethoven & safe romantic stuff is what's dominating production, marketing & promotion, by & large though. So it's all people see - most who flock to just this stuff like mindless sheep aren't really into the art form in a deep way anyhow, most are ignorant, a lot just want to be seen with a foney veneer of appearing "cultured" etc. Same applies to the "companies" that tirelessly peddle it & market it. Only a tiny tiny fraction of all that rendundant effluent produce that they dump into the market is actually any good. Most true music lovers (a small committed group) don't need so many recordings or re-issues of the same thing and ignore all of this anyhow, they inform themselves and seek out other options & alternatives.
Anyone who would count Mozart and Beethoven as "bores" needs to have a reality check, unless it is your aim to stir up people with fatuous comments such as this. We—who are truly interested in various renditions of music we love—enjoy hearing various interpretations of the same work - and take something from each performance, whether it is good or bad from our own standpoints. If we adopted your philosophy, why go to live concerts to hear the same works by various ensembles and orchestra? Once would be enough. I am a committed music lover, always have been and always will be, hence my own personal interest in acquiring various renditions. I suppose you consider yourself part of that "small committed group" you mention above.

It would seem to me that you might encounter problems in all aspects of your life with ideas that you convey. Think about it.
James wrote:Music isn't a popularity contest. Love it for what it is and can be, not how popular it is.
Nobody said it was a "popularity contest." This thread merely intended to indicate who has survived over hundreds of years and keeps on surviving. There is a good reason for this: it is great stuff whether you like it or not.
Lance G. Hill
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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by absinthe » Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:00 pm

James wrote:...a lot just want to be seen with a foney veneer of appearing "cultured" etc....
But..........I always thought that's why they're called seen-phoney concerts. No?


:?

James

Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by James » Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:59 pm

Lance wrote:You missed the point of this thread, James. Talking of popularity of composers enjoyed by people from all walks of life indicates how great this music really is and wants to be imbibed by those whom it touches. I believe your sentiments are very much in the minority unless you consider yourself very much above everyone else "culturally."
All walks of life? Including younger generations? The majority of the demographic is old. No offence, but the premise of the thread is silly, reducing music to a popularity contest based on mass commerical produce? Speaks nothing to quality or creativity and what the artform entails or can entail.
Anyone who would count Mozart and Beethoven as "bores" needs to have a reality check, unless it is your aim to stir up people with fatuous comments such as this. We—who are truly interested in various renditions of music we love—enjoy hearing various interpretations of the same work - and take something from each performance, whether it is good or bad from our own standpoints. If we adopted your philosophy, why go to live concerts to hear the same works by various ensembles and orchestra? Once would be enough. I am a committed music lover, always have been and always will be, hence my own personal interest in acquiring various renditions. I suppose you consider yourself part of that "small committed group" you mention above.


They are old tired bores to me, and you couldn't pay me to attend concerts of their music every season (yawn), or buy the endless stream of (mostly) pointless discs of their music pumped out there. And besides it shouldn't need to be said that there is so much more to art music than either of them or the safe romantic stuff. If you honestly get something meaningful from buying & listening to 100s even 1000s of interpretations of the same composers & works being performed by every tom, dick & harry out there (hard to believe), fair enough, but ...
This thread merely intended to indicate who has survived over hundreds of years and keeps on surviving. There is a good reason for this: it is great stuff whether you like it or not.
This thread indicates that it's believed that it's potentionally a much "easier" sell, and that's why the decision is made to invest & dump so much more of the same out there into the marketplace. Most of this produce (compact discs) isn't worth the time, it's more a reflection of the business. But also a fear of being rejected for taking a chance on something different for a change. No matter there are just enough truly pioneering adventurous entrepreneurial creative types out there (healthy alternatives & options) to keep folks who are simply tired of the "same 'ol, same 'ol" - very happy.

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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Lance » Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:30 pm

Well James, obviously you are well versed in the art of writing and you make some interesting points. I still maintain, however, that you are in the minority with the "same-old, same-old" expression. I still go to concerts and recitals where even familiar music by Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Sibelius symphonies are performed, regardless of how many interpretations I know from recordings. While those who are interested in the "traditional" classics may be grey-haired, I still see many young people attending concerts - and going for the experience of hearing live "traditional" classics. Walk through the practice halls of any college or university where music is taught and you will hear plenty of Mozart and Beethoven, not to mention Haydn, and other "oldies." This is what they are studying and this is what they want to learn and play. If some of us are contemporary music enthusiasts, we (not me) will be going to concerts featuring largely contemporary music - and there will be both, grey-haired people and young people in the audience because this is what they want to hear and make a part of their lives.

Insofar as obtaining multiple performances of great works, there is a point where this stops. I do not, for example, need another integral edition of Beethoven's Nine Symphonies unless it involves a conductor or ensemble that I am particularly interested in and want to study the conductor's art. How else will we learn about interpretation (on a regular basis, hence recordings)? One wonders just how much "traditional classical music" you have put to your ears to have fallen so out of love with these composers.

So, don't support concerts featuring Mozart and Beethoven. The preponderance of us will because we love the music and want to support the arts to keep hearing these composers and to leave something for those who are behind us. I would not be interested in attending an all-Stockhausen- or Cage concert (is there such a thing? Yes, somewhere, for sure.) since my leanings are not in that direction though I certainly have heard and know some of their music. But truly, James ... Mozart and Beethoven a "bore?" Be reasonable! Mozart and Beethoven will never die, and they shouldn't.
James wrote:
Lance wrote:You missed the point of this thread, James. Talking of popularity of composers enjoyed by people from all walks of life indicates how great this music really is and wants to be imbibed by those whom it touches. I believe your sentiments are very much in the minority unless you consider yourself very much above everyone else "culturally."
All walks of life? Including younger generations? The majority of the demographic is old. No offence, but the premise of the thread is silly, reducing music to a popularity contest based on mass commerical produce? Speaks nothing to quality or creativity and what the artform entails or can entail.
Anyone who would count Mozart and Beethoven as "bores" needs to have a reality check, unless it is your aim to stir up people with fatuous comments such as this. We—who are truly interested in various renditions of music we love—enjoy hearing various interpretations of the same work - and take something from each performance, whether it is good or bad from our own standpoints. If we adopted your philosophy, why go to live concerts to hear the same works by various ensembles and orchestra? Once would be enough. I am a committed music lover, always have been and always will be, hence my own personal interest in acquiring various renditions. I suppose you consider yourself part of that "small committed group" you mention above.


They are old tired bores to me, and you couldn't pay me to attend concerts of their music every season (yawn), or buy the endless stream of (mostly) pointless discs of their music pumped out there. And besides it shouldn't need to be said that there is so much more to art music than either of them or the safe romantic stuff. If you honestly get something meaningful from buying & listening to 100s even 1000s of interpretations of the same composers & works being performed by every tom, dick & harry out there (hard to believe), fair enough, but ...
This thread merely intended to indicate who has survived over hundreds of years and keeps on surviving. There is a good reason for this: it is great stuff whether you like it or not.
This thread indicates that it's believed that it's potentionally a much "easier" sell, and that's why the decision is made to invest & dump so much more of the same out there into the marketplace. Most of this produce (compact discs) isn't worth the time, it's more a reflection of the business. But also a fear of being rejected for taking a chance on something different for a change. No matter there are just enough truly pioneering adventurous entrepreneurial creative types out there (healthy alternatives & options) to keep folks who are simply tired of the "same 'ol, same 'ol" - very happy.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Imperfect Pitch » Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:58 pm

piston wrote:Note, in the above listing, that Ravel and Debussy are ahead of Faure and Saint-Saens, which is probably a more accurate measure of their popularity than the CD count.
Perhaps in terms of popularity among concert-goers, but not - apparently - among CD consumers. But I am with you, piston, insofar as the League of American Orchestras' list (which Beckmesser kindly provided) aligns more closely with what I would have come up with on my own if asked to name the most "popular" Classical composers (without any further parameters).


James wrote:Music isn't a popularity contest. Love it for what it is and can be, not how popular it is.
Yes indeed, James. That is why so many of us love Mozart, Beethoven, et al.: for what their music is, not how popular it is or how popular we will be with the likes of you.

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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Seán » Thu Sep 24, 2009 5:25 pm

James wrote: The overblown bores like Mozart, Beethoven & safe romantic stuff is what's dominating production, marketing & promotion, by & large though. So it's all people see - most who flock to just this stuff like mindless sheep aren't really into the art form in a deep way anyhow, most are ignorant, a lot just want to be seen with a foney veneer of appearing "cultured" etc.
I hope that you are writing this nonsense in an effort to annoy people and that you don't actually believe it.
Seán

"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler

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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by absinthe » Thu Sep 24, 2009 5:46 pm

I can see James' point of view. My intro to classical music was a little closer to the present. Then, I could never imagine myself listen to Classics. I still have trouble with Mozart and Haydn but I'm ok with Beethoven now. Most of what I've heard. They say he was quite good at music so we have to give the man a try. :mrgreen:

But coming to it from a predominantly contemporary bearing, I find Mozart sometimes facile, frivolous maybe; and sometimes clever. How on earth anyone can play his Oboe Quartet on a modern instrument beats me let alone one of those 6-keyed horrors of his day!

(I never respond on a Mozart or Haydn thread - too risky!)

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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by Seán » Thu Sep 24, 2009 5:56 pm

absinthe wrote:I can see James' point of view. My intro to classical music was a little closer to the present. Then, I could never imagine myself listen to Classics. I still have trouble with Mozart and Haydn but I'm ok with Beethoven now. Most of what I've heard. They say he was quite good at music so we have to give the man a try. :mrgreen:

But coming to it from a predominantly contemporary bearing, I find Mozart sometimes facile, frivolous maybe; and sometimes clever. How on earth anyone can play his Oboe Quartet on a modern instrument beats me let alone one of those 6-keyed horrors of his day!

(I never respond on a Mozart or Haydn thread - too risky!)
Fair enough the music of Beethoven, Haydn & Mozart may not appeal to you but James went much further than that when he stated that concert goers are mindless sheep that don't appreciate the music, that in my view is turgid rubbish.
Seán

"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler

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Re: Popularity of Composers based on CD counts

Post by nut-job » Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:20 pm

Imperfect Pitch wrote:
James wrote:Music isn't a popularity contest. Love it for what it is and can be, not how popular it is.
Yes indeed, James. That is why so many of us love Mozart, Beethoven, et al.: for what their music is, not how popular it is or how popular we will be with the likes of you.
Well put. There is no doubt that the casual listener that just wants a bit of pretty classical music will be attracted to the more popular bits of Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, etc. That doesn't mean that there isn't true gold there for the serious music lover. And since the casual listener will generally be satisfied with a single "most relaxing classical music" disc, there is little doubt that the many new recordings of Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, etc, are sold predominantly to the true connoisseurs.

I have no issue with someone who claims to be bored with Mozart or Beethoven, I've felt that way myself at times. But the characteristic claims that Beethoven, etc is banal and that we devotees are just sheep led around by the "establishment" is a transparent cry for attention from a pathetic person with no other source of self esteem.

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