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Thread: My definitive ranking of the major composers

  1. #61
    Senior Member Bulldog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PlaySalieri View Post

    Just because Bach wrote a zillion cantatas that hardly anyone listens to now I wouldnt put him ahead of Mozart.
    The large number of Bach cantata recordings tells me that plenty of folks listen to them.

  2. #62
    Senior Member PlaySalieri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog View Post
    The large number of Bach cantata recordings tells me that plenty of folks listen to them.
    I doubt if the cantatas are more listened to more than the Mozart operas

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    Senior Member Bulldog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PlaySalieri View Post
    I doubt if the cantatas are more listened to more than the Mozart operas
    What's with you? First you say hardly anyone listens to the cantatas; now, you're making comparisons with Mozart's operas.

    All of this is irrelevant - it's my list. Make your own, and I'm confident you will put Mozart ahead of the other two. That's what you do here.
    Last edited by Bulldog; Sep-03-2019 at 08:22.

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  5. #64
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    The large number of Bach cantata recordings tells me that plenty of folks listen to them.

    A difficulty in comparing composers is the way they composed. Bach wrote cantatas because he needed one every Sunday; it was his job less than his inspiration or result of a commission.

  6. #65
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    I would have to dispute your ranking for concertos. Let's consider Beethoven: 5 PC, 1 V, 1 Triple concerto. Mozart: 27 PC (Of which say 10 may be considered great - though some would say 15), Violin - 5 (of which 3 are in the repertoire), plus horn concertos, Clarinet Concerto - probably rated as the best wind concerto ever composed, Flute x 2, Sinfonia Concertante.

    I don't contest your logic and agree in some ways with your position. I thought going into this Mozart would win this.

    However I would say this -- I considered the ratio of quantity and quality. All 5 of Beethoven's piano concertos are in the standard repertory (100 percent) and the Emporer is considered the greatest of them all. For Mozart, as you say, there may be 10 (about 40 percent.)

    Many players believe Beethoven's violin concerto the most difficult and greatest; I don't think anyone thinks that of any Mozart.

    Beethoven's triple concerto is probably the second-greatest to Bach's from Brandenburg No. 5 if you think the Brandenburgs are concertos and not chamber music. There is a growing belief today they were composed as chamber music one player to a part.

    Any way you cut it every concerto Beethoven wrote is at or near the top of them all. You can say that for Mozart's clarinet and bassoon concertos and possibly flute No. 1 and stretch it to the piano concerto No. 21 as I do but no more.

    If quantity is the issue then Vivaldi, who is said to have written 500 concertos, is probably the greatest. But I don't think anyone believes that.

  7. #66
    Senior Member PlaySalieri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by larold View Post
    I would have to dispute your ranking for concertos. Let's consider Beethoven: 5 PC, 1 V, 1 Triple concerto. Mozart: 27 PC (Of which say 10 may be considered great - though some would say 15), Violin - 5 (of which 3 are in the repertoire), plus horn concertos, Clarinet Concerto - probably rated as the best wind concerto ever composed, Flute x 2, Sinfonia Concertante.

    I don't contest your logic and agree in some ways with your position. I thought going into this Mozart would win this.

    However I would say this -- I considered the ratio of quantity and quality. All 5 of Beethoven's piano concertos are in the standard repertory (100 percent) and the Emporer is considered the greatest of them all. For Mozart, as you say, there may be 10 (about 40 percent.)

    Many players believe Beethoven's violin concerto the most difficult and greatest; I don't think anyone thinks that of any Mozart.

    Beethoven's triple concerto is probably the second-greatest to Bach's from Brandenburg No. 5 if you think the Brandenburgs are concertos and not chamber music. There is a growing belief today they were composed as chamber music one player to a part.

    Any way you cut it every concerto Beethoven wrote is at or near the top of them all. You can say that for Mozart's clarinet and bassoon concertos and possibly flute No. 1 and stretch it to the piano concerto No. 21 as I do but no more.

    If quantity is the issue then Vivaldi, who is said to have written 500 concertos, is probably the greatest. But I don't think anyone believes that.
    Vivaldi is known for the 4 seasons and not much else so its a poor example.

    I agree that Beethoven's VC is probably the greatest VC ever composed - but then the Clarinet concerto is its equal. So that is evens.

    Mozart's piano concertos do beat Beethoven's - if you look at the TC top recommended works - K466 is the first PC of any piano concerto and the other greats Mozart concertos are not far behind. I dont rate Beethoven's first 2 piano concertos - and the third - is inferior to K491. That leaves two really great concertos to Mozart's ten or so.

    You cant then say that the triple concerto is equal in value to Mozart's misc concerti - the flute, horn etc.

    Going on % of hits to misses does not seem like a good way to rank composers. We judge by the best quality work. If we are talking purely on numbers of hits - Mozart wins. Even on symphonies he is close - if like me - you start counting great Beethoven symphonies from no 3 onwards. You would also have to rate Beethoven a better opera composer as he had 1 opera and 1 hit. Mozart wrote 20 operas or so with 6 hits.

    if you are evaluating on the basis that Mozart PC 21 is the only great PC - you are in ludicrous territory and just then arguing utterly from personal taste. Which i am to an extent - but even if I accept your premise that all the Beethoven concerti are great works I still think Mozart has significant advantage.

    To back up my point - from a 2011 TC poll on best piano concertos

    1. Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 20
    2. Brahms - Piano Concerto No. 2
    3. Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2
    4. Grieg - Piano Concerto
    5. Schumann - Piano Concerto
    6. Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 5 "Emperor"
    7. Prokofiev - Piano Concerto No. 3
    8. Ravel - Piano Concerto (in G major)
    9. Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 4
    10. Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 23
    11. Bach - Harpsichord Concerto No. 3 (BWV 1054)
    12. Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 21
    13. Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 3
    14. Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No. 1
    15. Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 27
    16. Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 3
    17. Prokofiev - Piano Concerto No. 2
    18. Ravel - Piano Concerto for the Left Hand
    19. Brahms - Piano Concerto No. 1
    20. Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 24

    So 5 from Mozart in the top 20 and 3 from Beethoven.

    Your greatest of them all Emperor concerto is no 7 and K466 is no 1.
    Last edited by PlaySalieri; Sep-03-2019 at 14:54.

  8. #67
    Senior Member PlaySalieri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog View Post
    What's with you? First you say hardly anyone listens to the cantatas; now, you're making comparisons with Mozart's operas.

    All of this is irrelevant - it's my list. Make your own, and I'm confident you will put Mozart ahead of the other two. That's what you do here.
    Clearly more people listen to Mozart opera, both live and otherwise, than Bach's cantatas - since we are evaluating supremacy in vocal music.

  9. #68
    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog View Post
    The large number of Bach cantata recordings tells me that plenty of folks listen to them.
    The Bach cantatas posted on YouTube appear almost endless, and did he ever write a lousy note despite the heavy demands of his weekly schedule? People are obviously listening. This showdown between Bach, Mozart and Beethoven is much more epic than I could ever imagine. Three giants, three immortals, three masters… It’s breathtaking! Mozart and Beethoven have to be breaking out in a cold sweat with Bach and his cantatas breathing down their necks. On the other hand, Mozart was composing at 5 and no one could thunder and roar like the B!
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Sep-03-2019 at 19:47.
    "That's all Folks!"

  10. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    I think the main question is who is number one: Bach, Mozart, or Beethoven. I know who’s my number one, but no one seems to know who’s the bonafide top dog, the big enchilada, the big Lebowski, the supreme commander, the ruler of the Queens Navy, and consequently, there are a lot of sleepless nights worrying about how these three are getting along on Mount Olympus, especially if they are being competitive with each other and not getting along. God forbid if Beethoven fell in love with one of Bach’s daughters or had religious differences. Should Mozart be demoted from the top spot because of the scatological humor? Is Bach better at his best than Mozart is at his best or Beethoven? I hope someone gets to the bottom of this and objectively declares who’s wearing the top hat and gets more press. I’m betting on…
    At least it's convenient that the three best composers in all human existence lived within 85 years of each other! What are the chances!

    Or maybe this implies that the first composer had a massive impact on the next 85 years.
    Last edited by Ethereality; Sep-12-2019 at 21:11.

  11. #70
    Senior Member PlaySalieri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereality View Post
    At least it's convenient that the three best composers in all human existence lived within 85 years of each other! What are the chances!

    Or maybe this implies that the first composer had a massive impact on the next 85 years.
    and what are the chances that the best 3 english playrights for 400 years lived within a few decades of each other, Shakespeare Marlowe and Kyd

    there are great eras of art

  12. #71
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    And Mozart died at the age of 35, his life 54% percent of Bach's, 61% of Beethoven's. Maybe if he lived longer he could've settled the question for us??

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    Quote Originally Posted by PlaySalieri View Post
    Vivaldi is known for the 4 seasons and not much else so its a poor example.
    Yeah, but no. Vivaldi's Stabat Mater, La Stravaganza, L'estro armonico, Nisi Dominus, Gloria, Olympiade, etc. are all highly regarded. He was 1,960 recordings in Arkiv, more than Dvorak, Berlioz (by more than double), or Grieg, and more than his contemporaries Purcell, Rameau, and A. Scarlatti combined.

    Just because you aren't aware of his works doesn't mean the world has also.

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  15. #73
    Senior Member PlaySalieri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AeolianStrains View Post
    Yeah, but no. Vivaldi's Stabat Mater, La Stravaganza, L'estro armonico, Nisi Dominus, Gloria, Olympiade, etc. are all highly regarded. He was 1,960 recordings in Arkiv, more than Dvorak, Berlioz (by more than double), or Grieg, and more than his contemporaries Purcell, Rameau, and A. Scarlatti combined.

    Just because you aren't aware of his works doesn't mean the world has also.
    Im aware of Vivaldi's output - ok - the 4 seasons and a handful of other works.

    in todays completest world the number of recording is irrelevant

    one day all salieri's output will be available

  16. #74
    Senior Member PlaySalieri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereality View Post
    And Mozart died at the age of 35, his life 54% percent of Bach's, 61% of Beethoven's. Maybe if he lived longer he could've settled the question for us??
    for many the question is settled anyway

  17. #75
    Senior Member NLAdriaan's Avatar
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    How about an efficiency ranking of famous composers per written note. It might bring Webern into the highest rankings and would establish Beethoven far over Bach, Mozart, Mahler, Bruckner, Wagner.

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