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Thread: What are your favourite composers for each period ?

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    Question What are your favourite composers for each period ?



    European classical music is generally divided in the following time period : Renaissance (1450-1600), Baroque (1600-1750), Classical (1730-1820), Romantic (1815-1910), Modern (1905-1985).

    My favourite periods are the Classical and Romantic. I won't comment on the Renaissance period as I don't know it well. I find that Baroque composers are too difficult to distinguish based on talent (the most famous are about equivalent).

    In Classical, Mozart is the most renowned genius and I agree. Beethoven is usually classified as "Classical" but I find his unique style to be more a transition between Classical and Romantic (too personal and emotional to be Classical). He is my favourite for the transition period.

    The most interesting period for comparison is the Romantic one, because it is so personal and comprise so many great composers. It is indeed difficult to choose a "top 5", but if I had to I would rank them as follow :

    1) Liszt : the most "virtuoso", the most romantic, the most powerful and the most technically perfect
    2) Schumann : fits very well with my character, most personal, 2nd most romantic
    3) Brahms : technically excellent but a bit too heavy at times
    4) Wagner : deepest and most dramatic; too bad his famous works are mostly limited to opera
    5) Elgar : all the pump and grandeur of British imperial times, although less deep and less technically perfect than the above.

    Bruckner and Malher are very good as well, but a bit too dark, solemn or heavy to be in the top 5. Dvorak is also close to making the top 5. Richard Strauss is also a personal favourite, but is too repetitive (lacking virtuosity and depth) to rival with the likes of Liszt or Schumann. Many other Romantic composers are only famous for one or a few works (Berlioz, Saint-Saens, Mussorgsky, Grieg...)

    Tchaikovski is usually considered as a "Romantic", but, like Beethoven, his style is too unique for me to classify him as such.

    In the 20th century "non Romantic", the most talented genius in my ears is indubitably Shostakovitch, with few direct rivals.
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    It's really stupid, but even after playing classical music for 8 years and singing from classical composers for 5 years I still don't know much about different composers. I would learn music from a range of composers but not have a very good picture of anyone's overall oeuvre. I listen to classical music on the radio because I like to hear the music but I never know who is the composer, because I don't hear the announcer when s/he says who it is. I rather like Baroque, Modern classical and some of late Romantic - these last 2 were mostly what we learned of in university.

    Off the top of my head, of individual pieces at the moment I'm stuck on Má Vlast (Bedřich Smetana) - I studied that piece so I always liked it from hearing in a more analytical way. :) From the point of view of playing, I really enjoyed playing Hindemith (the fact that my teacher hated it yet had to accompany me had nothing to do with it! honest! ). I also rather liked playing Haru no Umi (Michio Miyagi) because it's very open to interpretation. I recently learned Air on the G String on the keyboard (randomly!), which I like, but in general I don't really like Bach's work that much. Another piece I enjoy playing on keyboard is Sonata in G minor (Tomaso Albinoni).... although since that rather completes my entire keyboard repertoire I'm not a very good judge of piano pieces! Cliched, as well, but I like the Moonlight Sonata.

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