A big innovator in early C20th music even though he was born in the middle of the C19th. While some composers who reached their 60's don't compose much of consequence, Janacek's late works are his greatest, including several operas, the mighty Glagothic Mass, and the passionate String Quartets. The Sinfonietta (innacurately named as it is scored for a huge orchestra) and the earlier symphonic rhapsody Taras Bulba are also worthy of mention.
He definitely did not compromise in his music, and wrote what he felt. Some criticised him for this, saying he was negating the music of his friend and compatriot Dvorak or the earlier Smetana. In some ways, he had a quite wierd and idiosyncratic way of composing (eg. writing down in musical notation some passionate conversation he overheard, or the clucking of hens). He was a different drummer playing his own tune, but this fact just enhances my appreciation of his unique style. One of my favourite composers and, although he was of an earlier generation, his works can seem just as startling and bold as Stravinsky, Bartok or Hindemith.
What do people think?