View Poll Results: Who would have pumped out the best stuff?

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  • Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (26)

    1 1.43%
  • Franz Peter Schubert (31)

    13 18.57%
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (35)

    31 44.29%
  • Henry Purcell (36)

    0 0%
  • Georges Bizet (37)

    2 2.86%
  • Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (38)

    1 1.43%
  • Frédéric Chopin (39)

    7 10.00%
  • George Gershwin (39)

    2 2.86%
  • Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (42)

    5 7.14%
  • Other (Please specify in a post)

    8 11.43%
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Thread: What wondrous revelries hath death arrested from us?

  1. #1
    Junior Member P The D's Avatar
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    Question What wondrous revelries hath death arrested from us?

    Some composers have died young, too young. We can not delight in the glories of compositions never written. An obvious statement, but one that when considered from the glass half empty point of view is lent a palpable weight. It surely is a tremendous shame humanity will never experience that which, but for human mortality, would have been.

    Whose work, that would have been created if they were to have lived a “full” life, would have been the greatest? To be clear, I am not asking about the composer’s entire canon including what they already did, just what may have been but never was. Also I would like your opinion of “greatness.” Please don’t fret over others disagreeing. I’m certainly not looking for something put through a “I’m afraid that someone else might know what I think” filter.

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    Senior Member emiellucifuge's Avatar
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    Definitely Mussorgsky

  3. #3
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    Mozart or Schubert would be the answer I expect. Some say Schubert was developing at a quicker pace than Mozart did. Schubert was spurred on by the example of Beethoven but he had gone to his grave so I wonder who could have been his inspiration next. Had Mozart lived he could have been influenced by Beethoven and Haydn of course. I think it's safer to say Mozart as he was able to excel in more genres than Schubert and had produced so many great works already (while developing his style as well).

  4. #4
    Senior Member dmg's Avatar
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    The quality of Mozart's work was at its highest at the time of his death. I can't fathom what it would've been like had he lived at least another 20 years.

  5. #5
    Assistant Administrator Chi_townPhilly's Avatar
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    A variation on a previous theme.

    Of course, there are subtle differences- here we're only voting for one. Futhermore, I like the choices in this poll more than the choices in the previous one. [I sort of question Mussorgsky, though; I think it would have been better to make all of the options composers who passed away before age 40.] Also, here we're asked "who would have pumped out the best stuff?" This seems to move the response away from personal preference and closer towards more broadly-acknowledged greatness.

    So even if my personal listening enjoyment might incline more towards Gershwin or Schubert, the answer to the question "who would have pumped out the best stuff?"- I believe, is Mozart.
    The hardest knife ill us'd doth lose his edge. Shakespeare- Sonnet 95

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    Quote Originally Posted by starry View Post
    Mozart or Schubert would be the answer I expect. Some say Schubert was developing at a quicker pace than Mozart did. Schubert was spurred on by the example of Beethoven but he had gone to his grave so I wonder who could have been his inspiration next. Had Mozart lived he could have been influenced by Beethoven and Haydn of course. I think it's safer to say Mozart as he was able to excel in more genres than Schubert and had produced so many great works already (while developing his style as well).
    I agree: This kind of thread (e.g. THIS one) tends always to show the same winners: Schubert and Mozart. The others on the list are lesser composers.

    In the case of both composers the quality of their output was still on the increase at the time of their deaths, and there was no let up in the rate of production. So the prospect of gaining lots of very valuable further output from each of these composers was high, had they lived longer.

    On the subject of "greatness", my view is that Schubert would have eventually matched Mozart and Beethoven had he lived a few more years at least. To me, Schubert had already done enough to warrant that prestige but I fully accept that he is not generally regarded in such high esteem.

    I would question your point about Schubert possibly lacking inspiration after Beethoven's death. It was in the year and half after Beethoven's death that Schubert wrote much of his finest work. In any event, Schubert wrote in a different style than Beethoven. It is far more like Mozart, rich in melody, and had a much more expansive style than Beethoven's highly efficient, forward-driving style.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artemis View Post
    I would question your point about Schubert possibly lacking inspiration after Beethoven's death. It was in the year and half after Beethoven's death that Schubert wrote much of his finest work. In any event, Schubert wrote in a different style than Beethoven. It is far more like Mozart, rich in melody, and had a much more expansive style than Beethoven's highly efficient, forward-driving style.
    I know but I wonder if eventually he would have needed more inspiration from some rivals and whether he would have felt at home among some of the new composers, I think he was a classicist at heart (though some may disagree with me).

    One plus for Schubert is that he would have received plenty of encouragement from a regarded composer like Schumann and that may have helped his music receive more performances among the wider public.



    One composer not mentioned here who died young was Arriaga, but he wasn't that prolific. Would have been nice to hear a second symphony though.

  8. #8
    Senior Member TresPicos's Avatar
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    I would have loved listening to Schubert's 25th symphony.

    It's a bit strange, though, to wonder what "would have become" of him and Mozart, when you consider their impressive actual output of roughly 1000 and 600 works respectively. Had Schubert lived a full life, though, and kept up his pace, he might actually have become the most prolific composer ever (only beaten by Simon "One fugue a day" Sechter).

    Quote Originally Posted by starry View Post
    One composer not mentioned here who died young was Arriaga, but he wasn't that prolific. Would have been nice to hear a second symphony though.
    So sad... He didn't even live to see his 20th birthday.

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  10. #9
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    I think Schubert's songs would probably have made the biggest impact. The long sonatas may not have fitted what people wanted in the mid 19th century which were mainly shorter pieces. His symphonies would probably have been absolute music in a time of more programmatic music. I don't know if he would have continued writing operas but that again may not have been suited to the public's taste at the time. But then it's hard to say how Schubert would have developed or how he may have influenced the public taste and other composers in this period. Would he have wrote concertos for virtuosos of the day as well?

  11. #10
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    It also would have been interesting if Arriaga or Lili Boulanger lived longer, to put out a couple less famous names.

  12. #11
    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
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    Mozart followed by Schubert are indeed the obvious choices. One almost suspects that Mozart might have surpassed Bach had he lived another 20 years. His final achievements are phenomenal. One cannot help but wonder where he might have gone with another couple German comic operas, the Requiem... and a few more choral works, a number of more symphonies in a minor key... and symphonies inspired by Haydn's continued efforts... more string quartets... etc...

    On the other hand, I have to agree that Schubert had matured and was developing faster than Mozart... faster than almost any composer. One wonders what another 20 or 30 years of composition would have led to in the field of Schubert's symphonies, lieder, quartets, solo piano music, choral music, etc... Would Schubert eventually pull together a successful opera? He was certainly one of the absolute greatest at composing unforgettable melodies. With his growing assurance in orchestration via his symphonies might not a great opera not have been far off?

    As for the votes for Mussorgsky... C'mon... he would almost assuredly have continued to drink away his talents. As much as I love his works, I cannot in any good conscience count him among the real giants when looking at his limited oeuvre.

  13. #12
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    Bizet for me. His three operas were all masterpieces, and his other works also show some potential. Maybe this is not an objective assessment, but I really have a soft spot for Bizet, he's one of the few non-C20th composers who I really like.

    Another great composer who died aged 39 was Carl Maria von Weber. Another genius who died too young, he paved the way for Wagner...

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  15. #13
    Senior Member nefigah's Avatar
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    Mozart was just warming up when he died. As prolific as he was, and with the number of "hits" he produced, I think it's certain he'd only have made more if he'd lived longer.

  16. #14
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    Mendelsohnn would have matured into even more of an expressive composer, wonderful person, innovator, and figure in the history of music. I think his name would have been as common place as Beethoven's name is today.

    I find it horrible that such an optimistic person could fall apart so entirely and then just die. If only his sister hadn't died...
    There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance.
    Nahj ul-Balāgha by Ali bin Abu-Talib

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    I have to agree that Mozart was at his best before his death. Even as it is some rank him higher than Beethoven! If he had lived longer we may have a completely different conception of him as a composer. He may not have been a world-shaker like Beethoven, but he was no slouch when it came to improving his art. And of course Schubert could well have been the equal of Beethoven, but we will never know.

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