Greatest 20th century composer

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ravel30
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Greatest 20th century composer

Post by ravel30 » Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:19 am

This week, after listening the Festival Overture by Shostakovich on CBC radio, a radio host expressed the opinion that for him, Shostakovich was the greatest 20th century composer. It is in my opinion a decent choice that I do not necessary share but highly respect. After hearing that, I immediately wonder what CMG members would answer to the question as to who is the greatest 20th century composer (in their opinion). So which composer would be your choice ? Let us say that you can only choose one. Also, please note that I am not necessarly asking who your favorite composer is but who you think is the greatest.

My choice would be Debussy. Not because he is my favorite but because I keep reading all these 20th century composers mentionning him as a major influence.

Note: I think there was a fairly recent thread on the matter but I can't remember.

All the best,

Matt.

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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by stenka razin » Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:08 am

Stravinsky, because he wrote so many masterpieces over a very long time span and in many different, but easily recogizable styles.
If it was by Igor, it always sounded like Mr. S. 8)


P.S. I.S. is not my favorite 20th century master. That place belongs to Sergei Prokofiev. 8)
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by Donaldopato » Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:12 am

I would vote for Schoenberg. Most 20th century music was either in imitation of him or a reaction against. Even Stravinsky succumbed to 12 tone music.

Whether his revolution will last is another story.
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by maestrob » Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:28 am

Hi, Matt. :wink:

For me the greatest XXth Century Symphonic composer was Shostakovich, but that's not what you asked. The most inventive and innovative for me would be Stravinsky, bar none.

That leaves out quite a few truly great composers, however, such as Prokofiev, Britten, Copland, even Charles Ives, Ravel & Debussy, and so on, as well as a lot of stuff written at the beginning of the century by Mahler, Puccini & Rachmanninoff (Symphonic Dances) that I admire as well.

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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by arepo » Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:40 am

Assuming that you mean birth, my vote goes to Menotti and Gershwin.

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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by lennygoran » Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:10 pm

>After hearing that, I immediately wonder what CMG members would answer to the question as to who is the greatest 20th century composer (in their opinion). So which composer would be your choice ?<

Well my classical music knowledge could be better but I'd definitely have to go with Shostakovich. In the world of opera if Puccini can be counted I have gotten more enjoyment from him than even Shostakovich but would admit Shostakovich may be greater. I wouldn't want to forget about Strauss and Janacek either in the world of opera. I have grown to like Bartok more than Stravinsky but can't deny Stravinsky's influence. I also like Prokofiev more than Stravinsky.

I found this list at Wiki!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_20 ... birth_date

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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by Wallingford » Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:49 pm

Bartok.

He's quite simply the greatest musical spirit of the 20th century. His lifetime was dotted with masterworks, and it's got a spiritual replenishment I can only rarely find in other composers of the era. He would go down as one of the genius orchestrators of all time even if he'd written nothing but the Concerto For Orchestra; and he was possibly the century's most original piano writer. This, plus his stature as one of the very first ethnomusicologists.

--edited to correct one very grievous misspelling! :oops:
Last edited by Wallingford on Sat Aug 28, 2010 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by Air » Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:57 pm

I'd go Prokofiev.

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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by hangos » Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:19 pm

Wallingford wrote:Bartok.

He's quite simply the greatest musical spirit of the 20th century. His lifetime was dotted with masterworiks, and it's got a spiritual replenishment I can only rarely find in other composers of the era. We would go down as one of the genius orchestrators of all time even if he'd written nothing but the Concerto For Orchestra; and he was possibly the century's most original piano writer. This, plus his stature as one of the very first ethnomusicologists.
I agree with your very well-worded appraisal of Bartok, who is also my choice.
I see and hear Bartok as a kind of 20th-century successor to Beethoven (the composer he most admired) by virtue of the uncompromising nature of his works, the fighting spirit and, of course, the spirituality.
Also, no other composer (until Penderecki's 1960s phase, some Ligeti and some Xenakis) has expressed so much spooky dread and fascination in musical terms. I often think how much Bartok would have been in demand for film scores nowadays - not that he would have probably even entertained the idea! :oops:
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by Heck148 » Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:30 pm

overall, I go with Stravinsky - he mastered so many different styles, did them all well.

plenty of other great ones, but I give Igor the nod...

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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by Barry » Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:54 pm

Shostakovich. He may not have been as inventive or influential as Stravinsky or Bartok, but the emotional intensity of a lot of his music was so powerful that I can't go with anyone else.
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Aug 29, 2010 2:00 am

Shostakovich, without question...
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by absinthe » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:58 am

Again, it seems a nonsense issue. By what standard great? The most revolutionary? Innovative? The most played or the one with the highest music sales? The one who followed convention most rigorously?

The Bluffers' Guide says there are four composers beyond reproach: Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and your particular favourite. Arguing against these is useless. If Shosty is your man therefore, so be it!

I might once have said Webern because he distilled a style that would reach throughout the 20th C. Unfortunately, though it shook music up, it seems to have been a blind alley.

I honestly can't think of any "greats". There are plenty of good ones. The huge range of styles and genres would each beg their own champion.

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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by John F » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:20 am

Like absinthe said. There is no single greatest composer from any century in music history. Which is the greater, Bach or Mozart? (And what about Zelenka? :) )The radio host couldn't have defended Shostakovich as the greatest composer of his century, but wouldn't need to defend saying that Shostakovich was his greatest favorite.
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 6:09 am

John F wrote:Like absinthe said. There is no single greatest composer from any century in music history. Which is the greater, Bach or Mozart?
An ingenious evasion of the issue, John. The twentieth century contains the entire Modern period. Other centuries contained part of more than one period. There is a single greatest composer of the Baroque and Classical period, and IMO of the Romantic as well. And if you insist, there is also a single greatest composer of the 19th century. And of the 17th.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by josé echenique » Sun Aug 29, 2010 6:37 am

I couldn´t choose between Stravinsky, Ravel, Bartok and Prokofiev, I just love his 5th symphony.

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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by diegobueno » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:01 am

Stravinsky

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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by Seán » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:09 am

We had a similar discussion a long time ago. I would have to say that my vote goes to Stravinsky.

http://www.classicalmusicguide.com/view ... rs#p197851
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by John F » Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:04 am

jbuck919 wrote:
John F wrote:Like absinthe said. There is no single greatest composer from any century in music history. Which is the greater, Bach or Mozart?
An ingenious evasion of the issue, John.
Just what issue am I supposed to have evaded, exactly?

Period labels are arbitrary. You can assign as many or as few as you like, depending on what you think they mean. For me they refer to an extended stretch of years with a distinctive dominant style, and changes in the dominant style don't come tidily at each turn of the century. For example, the Baroque style succeeded Renaissance music well before the end of the 17th century, with composers like Buxtehude, Lully, and Purcell (d. 1695). J.S. Bach didn't begin the Baroque, he ended it, as Beethoven effectively ended the Classical period well into the 19th century.
jbuck919 wrote:The twentieth century contains the entire Modern period.
Many say the 20th century includes three distinguishable periods, two of them overlapping into adjecent centuries: Postromantic/Impressionist (cf. Mahler, Debussy, early Schoenberg), Modern, and Postmodern (cf. the return to tonality including minimalism).

So you're correct to say that the 20th century contains the entire Modern period, but that's an ingenious evasion of the issue, John. <ducking> The radio host wasn't talking about the Modern period but about the whole 20th century, which is also the subject of this thread. It's not "evading the issue," then, to ask which was the greatest composer of the 18th century, Bach or Mozart.

Which is aside from the impossibility of defining "greatest" or finding consensus criteria by which greatness can be measured. If it's a question of influence, I suppose Schoenberg would finish first. If it's about achievement, there's no one Modern composer whose whole oeuvre indisputably stands above the others'. As for the 19th century, Wagner arguably exercised the greatest influence of all, though I doubt that many including Wagner himself would rank his achievement above Beethoven's.

So I stand by what I said. As expected. :)
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by rogch » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:19 am

For me, it is either Schönberg or Xenakis. Very difficult to choose between the two, they are very different. Perhaps Schönberg had a more diverse production, but i have heard more of his works than Xenakis'.
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by bombasticDarren » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:39 am

In order of preference:-

1. Stravinsky
2. Ravel
3. Bartok
4. Shostakovich
5. Britten

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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by hangos » Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:30 pm

John F wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:
John F wrote:Like absinthe said. There is no single greatest composer from any century in music history. Which is the greater, Bach or Mozart?
An ingenious evasion of the issue, John.
Just what issue am I supposed to have evaded, exactly?

Period labels are arbitrary. You can assign as many or as few as you like, depending on what you think they mean. For me they refer to an extended stretch of years with a distinctive dominant style, and changes in the dominant style don't come tidily at each turn of the century. For example, the Baroque style succeeded Renaissance music well before the end of the 17th century, with composers like Buxtehude, Lully, and Purcell (d. 1695). J.S. Bach didn't begin the Baroque, he ended it, as Beethoven effectively ended the Classical period well into the 19th century.
jbuck919 wrote:The twentieth century contains the entire Modern period.
Many say the 20th century includes three distinguishable periods, two of them overlapping into adjecent centuries: Postromantic/Impressionist (cf. Mahler, Debussy, early Schoenberg), Modern, and Postmodern (cf. the return to tonality including minimalism).

So you're correct to say that the 20th century contains the entire Modern period, but that's an ingenious evasion of the issue, John. <ducking> The radio host wasn't talking about the Modern period but about the whole 20th century, which is also the subject of this thread. It's not "evading the issue," then, to ask which was the greatest composer of the 18th century, Bach or Mozart.

Which is aside from the impossibility of defining "greatest" or finding consensus criteria by which greatness can be measured. If it's a question of influence, I suppose Schoenberg would finish first. If it's about achievement, there's no one Modern composer whose whole oeuvre indisputably stands above the others'. As for the 19th century, Wagner arguably exercised the greatest influence of all, though I doubt that many including Wagner himself would rank his achievement above Beethoven's.

So I stand by what I said. As expected. :)
That would be a first! Wagner considered himself as a holy trinity of Beethoven, Shakespeare and I forget who else, rolled into one :D
I agree that just about everyone else would rank Beethoven above Wagner. To be fair, Wagner did idolise Beethoven
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by hangos » Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:37 pm

rogch wrote:For me, it is either Schönberg or Xenakis. Very difficult to choose between the two, they are very different. Perhaps Schönberg had a more diverse production, but i have heard more of his works than Xenakis'.
Xenakis was actually quite diverse, in that he wrote for "conventional" orchestras, string orchestra, chamber ensemble and piano on the one hand, and also electronic music using tape etc on the other.
I really enjoy his string quartets and his music for string orchestra - very wild and exciting stuff, like Bartok's Divertimento on LSD or something similar :shock:

Martin

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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by hangos » Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:41 pm

hangos wrote:
rogch wrote:For me, it is either Schönberg or Xenakis. Very difficult to choose between the two, they are very different. Perhaps Schönberg had a more diverse production, but i have heard more of his works than Xenakis'.
Xenakis was actually quite diverse, in that he wrote for "conventional" orchestras, string orchestra, chamber ensemble and piano on the one hand, and also electronic music using tape etc on the other.
I really enjoy his string quartets and his music for string orchestra - very wild and exciting stuff, like Bartok's Divertimento on LSD or something similar :shock:

Martin
Here's a link to one of his string quartets ;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-R5x9mA7W0o

Martin

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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by hangos » Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:46 pm

rogch wrote:For me, it is either Schönberg or Xenakis. Very difficult to choose between the two, they are very different. Perhaps Schönberg had a more diverse production, but i have heard more of his works than Xenakis'.
Hi rogch,
Here's another link for you, this time to a wild piece for 18 strings. Xenakis must have heard Hendrix at some time, I think!
Enjoy!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eG6t8_uhKRA
Martin

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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by Ken » Sun Aug 29, 2010 1:04 pm

Should "greatest" mean "most influential", then Schoenberg and Bartok must be high on the list. Should it mean "most popular", however, perhaps Prokofiev.
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by RebLem » Sun Aug 29, 2010 1:22 pm

It depends on how you define greatness. Some people think the essence of greatness is the striking out in new directions in both form and tonality. But that would exclude J.S. Bach as a great composer, which is plainly absurd. Others think its essence is the perfection of old forms, like J.S. Bach, but that would exclude Haydn and Mozart, also an absurdity. For me, there are six serious contenders: Schoenberg, Stravinsky, and Bartok in the first category, and Strauss, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich in the second. Of these, the first three, with the exception of a few early works by Stravinsky, and Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle, the two violin concerti, and the first piano concerto, do not move me much. I recognize their importance, their brilliance, their originality, and I particularly respect Bartok's contributions in the field of ethnomusicology. But it is the last three to whom I return again and again for spiritual renewal, for expressions of optimism and pessimism, hope and despair, for the sublime and down to earth musical experience.

I know this brands me as a knave and a rube in some quarters. We should acknowledge that among the congnoscenti, there is a certain aesthetic correctness analagous to political correctness. Asked to name the greatest 20th century chamber music, you're supposed to express admiration for the Bartok String Quartets. My choice, though is for the Shostakovich String Quartets, and even more the Piano Quintet, and, secondarily, the chamber music of Arthur Honegger; also, those of the Stenhammar quartets that were written in the 20th century, which I think offhand were the last four of the six. But that is where I am.

One thing keeps gnawing at me, though. Where do we fit Charles Ives into all this? Obviously, in the first group, with the innovators, but how do we rank his importance, or are we Americans just to close to him to be objective and clear about this?
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by John F » Sun Aug 29, 2010 2:15 pm

Ken wrote:Should "greatest" mean "most influential", then ... Bartok must be high on the list.
Hmmm. How so? Where does his influence lie? I see him as the culmination of some Romantic tendencies - nationalism (folk music and idioms), instrumental virtuosity (piano concertos) - combined with characteristic Modern dissonance. But that's on the receiving end of influence.
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by Tore » Sun Aug 29, 2010 2:31 pm

If the question is who composed the greatest music in the 20th century, then I have several names worth mentioning:

Gustav Mahler, with his 9th symphony. My candidate for greateast ever 20th century symphony.

Giacomo Puccini, with Tosca (premiered january 14, 1900) and also his aria from Turandot Nessun Dorma.

Benjamin Britten, with Peter Grimes, the greatest British piece of music in the 20th century

The greatest ever 20th century composer?? There are just too many greatest ever too choose about: Shostakovich, Britten, Vaughan Williams, Tippett, Martinu, Janacek and many more.

I have a clear answer for greatest ever composer and piece of music: Beethoven and his 9th symphony. I can not name a greatest ever 20th century composer.

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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 6:01 pm

My answer is Claude Debussy, while many would say without hesitation that it is Richard Strauss. I find it astonishing that, unless I have missed something, neither name has been mentioned.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by lennygoran » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:28 pm

>that it is Richard Strauss.<

I mentioned Strauss! Regards, Len

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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by lennygoran » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:30 pm

>I agree that just about everyone else would rank Beethoven above Wagner. To be fair, <

Still to really be fair--Wagner spent more time in the greater more difficult art form--opera! Regards, Len [fleeing]

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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by RebLem » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:41 pm

jbuck919 wrote:My answer is Claude Debussy, while many would say without hesitation that it is Richard Strauss. I find it astonishing that, unless I have missed something, neither name has been mentioned.
You're really skimming. Both have been mentioned multiple times, once by me, in the case of Strauss.
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:36 am

RebLem wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:My answer is Claude Debussy, while many would say without hesitation that it is Richard Strauss. I find it astonishing that, unless I have missed something, neither name has been mentioned.
You're really skimming. Both have been mentioned multiple times, once by me, in the case of Strauss.
:oops: But I skimmed three time! :wink:

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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by josé echenique » Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:41 am

jbuck919 wrote:My answer is Claude Debussy, while many would say without hesitation that it is Richard Strauss. I find it astonishing that, unless I have missed something, neither name has been mentioned.
And we also forgot to mention Sibelius.

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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by Jack Kelso » Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:38 am

Has anyone mentioned Hindemith?! Certainly he is one of the most important of the 20th-century neo-classic masters, if not the greatest.

There is so much competition in the 20th century, as in the latter part of the 19th. Must we decide who is the "greatest master"?

There are so many directions in 20th-century music that to choose a favorite is just a matter of taste.

Are we running a beauty contest, or what...?!

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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by Chalkperson » Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:55 pm

Jack Kelso wrote:Has anyone mentioned Hindemith?! Certainly he is one of the most important of the 20th-century neo-classic masters, if not the greatest.

There is so much competition in the 20th century, as in the latter part of the 19th. Must we decide who is the "greatest master"?

There are so many directions in 20th-century music that to choose a favorite is just a matter of taste.

Are we running a beauty contest, or what...?!

Tschüß,
Jack
No, but one of the reasons I gave it to Shostakovich was the sheer volume of his output and the fact that it included almost every Genre...and the very high quality of most of it...
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by Lance » Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:05 pm

It seems almost impossible to select one primarily because of the diversity of musics composed within that span of 100 years, from 1900 to 1999 inclusive. It's just so vast. You will end up choosing one that is close to your own idea of great music within the 20th century and the others would go by the wayside, which isn't fair. Pre-1950 might be one way to go, and 1950 to 1999 the other, yes?
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by Trilogy » Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:23 pm

I'd like to throw Khachaturian into the mix as well. After hearing his Violin Concerto, Piano Concerto, and Gayane, I feel like I've discovered a real treasure in his works.

I'm still listening to and trying to absorb his Symphonies, his other ballet Spartacus, and solo piano works; so far its been amazing. 8)

"Music embodies feeling without forcing it to contend and
combine with thought, as it is forced in most arts and
especially in the art of words. If music has one advantage
over the other media through which a person can represent
the impressions of the soul, it owes this to its supreme
capacity to make each inner impulse audible without the
assistance of reason...Music presents at once the intensity
and the expression of feeling. It is the embodied and
intelligible essence of feeling, capable of being apprehended
by our senses. It permeates them like a dart, like a ray, like
a mist, like a spirit, and fills our soul."


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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by Prometheus » Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:30 pm

Chalkperson wrote:No, but one of the reasons I gave it to Shostakovich was the sheer volume of his output and the fact that it included almost every Genre...and the very high quality of most of it...
I agree as well. :)

hangos
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by hangos » Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:56 am

Trilogy wrote:I'd like to throw Khachaturian into the mix as well. After hearing his Violin Concerto, Piano Concerto, and Gayane, I feel like I've discovered a real treasure in his works.

I'm still listening to and trying to absorb his Symphonies, his other ballet Spartacus, and solo piano works; so far its been amazing. 8)
Which mix? cement or concrete? :mrgreen:
Martin

Istvan
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by Istvan » Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:27 am

SIBELIUS, without hesitation. It took me several years to really appreciate his works. I now find in them so much originality, poetry and depth as to make current favourites such as Shostakovich or Mahler seem shallow and grandiloquent in comparison.
Cheers

Istvan

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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by Chalkperson » Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:00 am

Istvan wrote:SIBELIUS, without hesitation. It took me several years to really appreciate his works. I now find in them so much originality, poetry and depth as to make current favourites such as Shostakovich or Mahler seem shallow and grandiloquent in comparison.
It's funny, I felt the same way until fairly recently, suddenly he clicked with me and I can finally appreciate the Symphonies...
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by slofstra » Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:01 am

hangos wrote:
Trilogy wrote:I'd like to throw Khachaturian into the mix as well. After hearing his Violin Concerto, Piano Concerto, and Gayane, I feel like I've discovered a real treasure in his works.

I'm still listening to and trying to absorb his Symphonies, his other ballet Spartacus, and solo piano works; so far its been amazing. 8)
Which mix? cement or concrete? :mrgreen:
Martin
LOL. Obviously, you haven't caught the Khachaturian fever.

Here's a question. There's a fair bit of received wisdom floating around on who the great 20th C composers are. You could know nothing about classical music and Google around, and come up with Shostakovich, Stravinksy, possibly even Bartok as candidates. But Khachaturian or Villa-Lobos would be considered dark horses. Perhaps not justifiably, but the received wisdom would say that. Is this "market intelligence" accurate? Or is there some composer out there with a huge catalogue of compositions that we just haven't got around to recognizing properly yet.

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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by karlhenning » Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:12 am

I guess the conversation has taken its own turns from the query of the subject header. The very thought of proposing Khatchaturian as the greatest composer of his century simply boggles the mind.

Cheers,
~Karl
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slofstra
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by slofstra » Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:44 am

Chalkperson wrote:
Istvan wrote:SIBELIUS, without hesitation. It took me several years to really appreciate his works. I now find in them so much originality, poetry and depth as to make current favourites such as Shostakovich or Mahler seem shallow and grandiloquent in comparison.
It's funny, I felt the same way until fairly recently, suddenly he clicked with me and I can finally appreciate the Symphonies...
Scandinavia is a hotbed for the 20th Century. Sibelius, Nielsen and Grieg especially, but then you have all these lesser lights such as Stenhammar, Tubin, Norgard and others who have written great music.

ravel30
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by ravel30 » Tue Aug 31, 2010 12:31 pm

slofstra wrote:
Scandinavia is a hotbed for the 20th Century. Sibelius, Nielsen and Grieg especially, but then you have all these lesser lights such as Stenhammar, Tubin, Norgard and others who have written great music.
And I would also add Alfven and Peterson-Berger to that list :D (although neither of them tops the first three)

ravel30
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by ravel30 » Tue Aug 31, 2010 12:40 pm

Seems like that thread was quite successful and brought some interesting comments. Thank you for that. When I first started it I only expected a few replies before some points out that the same question was asked not that long ago (I could swear that such a question was asked once with a poll. Probably mixed it up with something else.)

Not very sure what in which sense I meant greatest but probably something along the lines of most talented one that brought the most (by his influences and the quality of his compositions) to classical music.

For example, even if Sibelius is among my favorites, I still think that Stravinsky, Debussy or Schoenberg (don't know his music that much but am aware of his influence) were greater composers than him (according to my previous definition). And like I mentionned, if I had to pick one, it would be Debussy (just to repeat it so that Jbuck sees it :D ).

Every choices read here are also excellent. (And now I want to learn more about Bartok and finally listened to Mahler's ninth yesterday)

Matt.

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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by karlhenning » Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:21 pm

ravel30 wrote:. . . even if Sibelius is among my favorites, I still think that Stravinsky, Debussy or Schoenberg (don't know his music that much but am aware of his influence) were greater composers than him (according to my previous definition).
Well, Matt, I think the case can be made that Sibelius is right up in their ranks (though not their superior).

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
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karlhenning
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Re: Greatest 20th century composer

Post by karlhenning » Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:30 pm

Istvan wrote:SIBELIUS, without hesitation. It took me several years to really appreciate his works. I now find in them so much originality, poetry and depth as to make current favourites such as Shostakovich or Mahler seem shallow and grandiloquent in comparison.
Oh, gosh . . . I love Sibelius's music myself, but I don't think they 'trash' Shostakovich at all, at all; the two composers were about different things, musically.

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
Published by Lux Nova Press
http://www.luxnova.com/

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