My top will be:Imagine you were forced to choose. You can only ever listen to ten composers. And you have to choose now.
So not the ten greatest, most important (or whatever) composers. But your ten composers.
(Yes, this is idiocy. Of course. But I have very important things to do. And I do not want to do them. I will do this instead.)
My 10 (chronologically):
Yes, no Mozart.
But I figured I don’t really need Mozart. I’ve soaked him up anyway. Been listening to Mozart since I was seventeen or something (my brain tells me that makes forty years, something that I categorically refuse to believe). And when I’m in neeeeed of something, I very rarely turn to Mozart these days, haven’t for a long time. Haydn and Beethoven are my buddies, I can have a real conversation with them. But not with Mozart. He’s not about him and me. I can just look at him, admire him, marvel at him, yes. Except maybe in K516. And K491. Incredible psychodramas and both very ”real” (if you catch my drift). But however much I love them, they don’t really involve, include, invite, me. Pick any Beethoven piano sonata and Beethoven’s there in the room with you. That is, with me. And we’re talking. Right off the mark. And yes, there’s the first mvt of K504 (there’s tons of stuff, of course, the operas…). Figaro! Miracle of miracles! But what do you actually do with a miracle? What do you do with perfect? After forty years.
And I also had to exclude Monteverdi, Rameau (that was painful!), Handel (he’s always best when I’m drunk and I’m hardly ever drunk anymore, so…), Berlioz and Stravinsky. And Xenakis (but that’s OK. I think). And there are a few others, many, actually, that I will miss very much too. Yes.
And apologies, again, as always, for my not always good English.
Ludwig van Beethoven
Johann Sebastian Bach
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Hildegard von Bingen
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky