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Thread: Will there ever be any more truly great composers?

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    Senior Member bassClef's Avatar
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    Default Will there ever be any more truly great composers?

    Stravinsky died in 1971, Shotakovich in 1975, Britten 1976, Khachaturian 1978, Barber 1981, Orff 1982, Bernstein & Copland 1990, Messiaen 1992. There's a rough but noticeable "trailing off" of greatness there - I'd argue they all just about deserve the adjective but even most of those names struggle to measure up to the big names from centuries past.

    Some might argue that there have been greater than those names since then, or may be some (at least potentially) great composers still living. But do you think the world will ever see talent on the scale of a Wagner, Mozart, Beethoven or Tchaikovsky again? If not, why not? Is it just because times have changed and that people with such natural abilities will find an outlet for their talents in other genres or other arts?

    I'm sure the regulars will happily tell me if this has been discussed before - if so, profuse apologies - but I just started wondering and found it easier to formulate as a question than to search thousands of threads.
    Last edited by bassClef; Nov-03-2011 at 22:35.

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    Rest assured, I'm here.

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    Senior Member kv466's Avatar
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    Doubtful. Oh, that's not ten characters? Then: no.

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    "Great" is a pretty loaded term. I'm sure there are and will be lots of talented composers in various fields who won't be recognized as great because they don't sound like something or another.
    People who hide are afraid!

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    Most of the music being written today is pretty far off from the music composed in the 17th-19th century that you can't really compare them...I mean, listen to a symphony by Mozart and then an electro-acoustic piece written in the 21st century, what exactly are you going to compare? Sure, you might like the music of Mozart and past composers a whole lot better, and thats fine, but it says nothing about the talent of composers today.

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    Senior Member some guy's Avatar
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    Not only is "great" a loaded term, but putting "truly" in front of it just ups the ante.

    I think that what you're seeing is not a diminuition of talent or skill but simply the operation of time passing. A hundred years from now, people will be asking if there's anyone today who can contend with the giants of the twentieth century.

    Bach is almost universally considered to be "great," even by people who never listen to him. Same with Mozart and Beethoven. All dead. All comfortably in the past. All with idioms that are very familiar to us (and so easy to identify as "great"), even though some people still report as struggling with late Beethoven.

    Now, why Mozart and Beethoven but not Haydn or even Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven but not Gluck, that's an interesting pancake.

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    Senior Member Tapkaara's Avatar
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    Anything is possible.
    "Music is not philosophy." --Akira Ifukube

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    but it says nothing about the talent of composers today.
    Actually it says a lot. If composer fails to appeal to people* who are able to appreciate other classical music, if his music doesn't move/provide pleasure to them or if it does it to minimal extent then it says quite a something about it.

    * his collegues from music school/academy are not people

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    Senior Member Tapkaara's Avatar
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    If the "Do You Pee in the Shower" thread on Talk Classical can be so popular, than yes, I think another "truly great" composer is out there. Again, ANYTHING is possible.
    "Music is not philosophy." --Akira Ifukube

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tapkaara View Post
    If the "Do You Pee in the Shower" thread on Talk Classical can be so popular, than yes, I think another "truly great" composer is out there. Again, ANYTHING is possible.
    Props to kv466 for anticipating this.

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    Elliott Carter . Pierre Boulez . Hans Werner Henze . John Adams. Krzystof Penderecki .
    Peter Maxwell Davies . Gyorgy Kurtag . Einojuhani Rautavaara . Sofia Gubaidullina.
    Kaaia Saariaho . Henri Dutilleaux. Christopher Rouse . Poul Ruders .
    Osvaldo Golijov . Tan Dun . John Harbison . Wolfgang Rihm . Harrison Birtwistle .
    Arvo Part . Philip Glass . Rodion Shchedrin . Ned Rorem . William Bolcom .


    All widely performed and respected composers .
    Recently Deceased : Milton Babbitt . Ralph Shapey. Gian Carlo Menotti .
    Nicholas Maw. Henryk Gorecki . Leon Kirchner . George Rochberg.
    Karlheinz Stockhausen . Gyorgy Ligeti . Luciano Berio . Lou Harrison .

    Up and coming younger composers : Thomas Ades . Nico Muhly .

    I don't think we're doing too badly !

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    Yes

    ..............

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    Quote Originally Posted by superhorn View Post
    Elliott Carter . Pierre Boulez . Hans Werner Henze . John Adams. Krzystof Penderecki .
    Peter Maxwell Davies . Gyorgy Kurtag . Einojuhani Rautavaara . Sofia Gubaidullina.
    Kaaia Saariaho . Henri Dutilleaux. Christopher Rouse . Poul Ruders .
    Osvaldo Golijov . Tan Dun . John Harbison . Wolfgang Rihm . Harrison Birtwistle .
    Arvo Part . Philip Glass . Rodion Shchedrin . Ned Rorem . William Bolcom .


    All widely performed and respected composers .
    Recently Deceased : Milton Babbitt . Ralph Shapey. Gian Carlo Menotti .
    Nicholas Maw. Henryk Gorecki . Leon Kirchner . George Rochberg.
    Karlheinz Stockhausen . Gyorgy Ligeti . Luciano Berio . Lou Harrison .

    Up and coming younger composers : Thomas Ades . Nico Muhly .

    I don't think we're doing too badly !
    It provides examples which prove that today we still have SOME composers that reach some fame. But I think they are hardly great. Can't compare, huh? Well, I think that when Penderecki started to write in more traditional ways he opened way for comparisons. His piano concerto is such a uninspired drivel that it clearly exposes the truth: when he is not hiding behind mysterious cloak of avant-garde it turns out, and anybody can hear it, that he is not composer of the same weight as Chopin, rather as Noskowski. Have you heard of the latter? I guess so. Now, if Penderecki will be more famous than Noskowski is today hundred years from now, it will be because our era is really miserable time for art.

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    Senior Member violadude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    Actually it says a lot. If composer fails to appeal to people* who are able to appreciate other classical music, if his music doesn't move/provide pleasure to them or if it does it to minimal extent then it says quite a something about it.

    * his collegues from music school/academy are not people
    So what of the numerous classical music lovers that fail to make a connection with the music of Mozart? Is he less talented for that? People liking something as absolutely nothing to do with talent.

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    Senior Member violadude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superhorn View Post
    Elliott Carter . Pierre Boulez . Hans Werner Henze . John Adams. Krzystof Penderecki .
    Peter Maxwell Davies . Gyorgy Kurtag . Einojuhani Rautavaara . Sofia Gubaidullina.
    Kaaia Saariaho . Henri Dutilleaux. Christopher Rouse . Poul Ruders .
    Osvaldo Golijov . Tan Dun . John Harbison . Wolfgang Rihm . Harrison Birtwistle .
    Arvo Part . Philip Glass . Rodion Shchedrin . Ned Rorem . William Bolcom .


    All widely performed and respected composers .
    Recently Deceased : Milton Babbitt . Ralph Shapey. Gian Carlo Menotti .
    Nicholas Maw. Henryk Gorecki . Leon Kirchner . George Rochberg.
    Karlheinz Stockhausen . Gyorgy Ligeti . Luciano Berio . Lou Harrison .

    Up and coming younger composers : Thomas Ades . Nico Muhly .

    I don't think we're doing too badly !
    Thanks for this list, awesome!

    I really like what I have heard of Nico Muhly's music. It'll be interesting to see where he goes in his composition career.

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