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Thread: Which composers wrote the best Symphonies?

  1. #16
    Senior Member Olias's Avatar
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    If by "best" you mean:

    Perfect in formal structure - Haydn's 12 London Symphonies and Mozart's last 3
    Groundbreaking - Beethoven
    Evolved - Brahms
    National Identity - Dvorak
    Transcendental - Mahler
    Self-confessional - Shostakovich


    Just my opinion of course.

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  3. #17
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    Composers who wrote the best symphonies:

    Beethoven
    Mahler
    Mozart
    Shostakovich
    Vaughan Williams

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  5. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog View Post
    None of this is absurd if you focus on the thread question, which you did not do.

    Anyways, my favorite composers of symphonies are Mahler, Shostakovich, Beethoven, Brahms, Haydn and Prokofiev.
    The question is: Which composers wrote the best Symphonies?

    This remains an absurdity. In order to answer this with any credibility, one must determine what the "best Symphonies" are, which remains a purely subjective assumption. Only when the "best Symphonies" are chosen can they be matched to composers, which, seemingly, will answer the question. However, the word "best" implies a single item that stands at the top of the heap, which makes picking multiple bests (as in "best symphonies") illogical. Any way you look at this, it makes little sense for any reasonable answer of any reasonable merit. Your own response concerning your "favorite composers of symphonies" is exactly the kind of response that does make sense. One can certainly identify one's favorite composers or favorite symphonies or favorite whatevers. The question here is not asking such a logical question (one which, nonetheless, produces a subjective, though valid, answer). I continue to wish that posters would ask for "favorites" rather than "bests". The one is simple and reasonable to respond to, the other remains absurd!

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  7. #19
    Senior Member Bulldog's Avatar
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    Whenever I see "best" on a TC thread I immediately change it in my head to "favorite" - problem solved.

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  9. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog View Post
    Whenever I see "best" on a TC thread I immediately change it in my head to "favorite" - problem solved.
    I wish posters would make the distinction with the realization that "best" and "favorite" are not necessarily (or, perhaps, even usually) synonymous. "Best" suggests objective criteria for its basis while "favorite" proves totally subjective.I hesitate to name a "best piece of music", for I believe such is an absurdity. However, I do recognize that some works have more influence than do others (Beethoven's Third Symphony, for instance; or Wagner's Tristan, Debussy's Afternoon of a Faun, Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire, Stravinsky's Rite ….), and often these are "good" pieces -- interesting to hear, fascinating to play or study, popular with general audiences, popular with musical academics. But the importance or influence or "greatness" of a work does not establish its favoritism.

    To reference only the Beethoven Third …. It remains, to my thinking, one of Beethoven's most powerful compositions -- perhaps his "greatest symphony" in terms of influence. It is not my favorite Beethoven symphony, and I would argue that it is not the most publicly popular of Beethoven's symphonies, but if I had to preserve only one Beethoven symphony, though it would be a tough and saddening call, I likely would opt for the Third. It remains highly representative of Beethoven's art and of the movement in music from the "classical period" to the "romantic era", something for which Beethoven is substantially to be credited. (And sure, I would kick myself every day for not having chosen the Fifth, or the Ninth, or the Sixth, or the Seventh symphonies for preservation. And tomorrow if you ask me, I might just have another choice!) But the overt quality of a work of art does not necessarily equate with its popularity or favoritism.

    In the "Non-classical Music" threads of this Forum there is a constant debate over which is "the best rock band", as if that is a solvable issue. There are bands more skilled than others, bands more talented as performers or songwriters than others, bands with more stage presence than others (a somewhat more subjective calling than maybe is "skill" or "talent"), bands with more top chart hits, bands with more songs, more recordings, more awards, more press, more fans …. In the end, though, the "best" band cannot be determined, but one's favorite band certainly can be. At least at any given moment.

    "Best" and "favorite" remain nonsynonymous.

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  11. #21
    Senior Member 13hm13's Avatar
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    Barber.
    He wrote only two. And those two are my fave symphs of any composer.

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  13. #22
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    No love for Raff yet, so here you go haha


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  15. #23
    Junior Member Fabulin's Avatar
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  17. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Rock View Post
    As always, a matter of taste.
    That's all I can express - did you expect something else? - but if you disagree and think some of the others you mentioned (Aho, Rautavaara, Sallinen) were consistently excellent symphonists then why not have a go at persuading me (perhaps with examples)? The best of all three are pretty good but I have found many of their symphonies to be less interesting.

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