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"Was Shostakovich a great composer? Not by any criteria of innovation in the language and style of music or by extraordinary powers of invention . . . "

Really? Bach wrote the first true keyboard concerto, was the first to systematically adopt the well tempered system (composing the WTC just to force the matter) and brought counterpoint to a degree of sophistication and brilliance never matched before or after. As for extraordinary powers of invention-that's what he was famous for... I admit, you trolled me, but just sayin'...
I don't think any of the above were Stravinsky-like "innovations". Bach was essentially a musical conservative, not an 18th century avant-gardist. The point is that the "innovator" or "inventor" standard is bogus.
 

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To say that Bach wasn't an 18th century avant-gardist (who was?) doesn't mean that he didn't, by a number of criteria, innovate as regards music and the language of music (of course that meant something different in his day); and, have to say it again, Bach's "extraordinary powers of invention" were unequaled. We're just going to have to disagree as regards Bach. As regards Stravinsky, I attended a concert in which Joshua Bell performed Beethoven and Stravinsky. What struck me with incredible force was how childish, insipid and "conservative" Stravinsky's music sounded next to Beethoven.
I don't think Bach can be called an "innovator". Scarlatti was much more that type, imo. He was a perfecter or "culminator" of the traditions he inherited, not a rebel against them.
 
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