The 50 Best Composers of All Time

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Who’re the very best composers ever? We requested 174 of right now’s main composers that very query and right here, in their very own phrases, we current the fascinating outcomes and who they assume ought to be topped the best composer of all time.

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How the well-known composers had been scored

‘Making choices in regards to the “biggest” this or that’s all the time problematic,’ replies composer Brian Ferneyhough, when BBC Music Journal asks him to call his biggest 5 composers in historical past. And, to be truthful, he has some extent. Can one actually evaluate figures who had been writing music 800 years aside? Or weigh the intricate craftmanship of a two-minute piano piece up in opposition to the grand imaginative and prescient that goes right into a four-hour opera?

Nonetheless, when confronted with the identical query, Ferneyhough gamely named his prime 5 biggest composers – as did 173 different main composers from throughout the globe.

To make clear issues, we set out the factors for greatness as follows:

  1. originality – to what extent did your chosen composers take music in new and thrilling instructions?
  2. affect – how enormously did they affect the musical scene each in their very own lifetime and in years/centuries to return?
  3. craftmanship – from a technical viewpoint, how brilliantly constructed is their music?
  4. sheer enjoyability – fairly merely, how a lot pleasure does their music offer you?

He we current the Prime 50 well-known composers, in descending order, with every well-known composer personally appraised by a kind of who voted for them.

The 50 greatest composers of all time

50 Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)

Russian virtuoso pianist, gifted melodist and one of many greats of late-Romanticism

John Rutter says:

Rachmaninov belongs to the aristocracy of composers. He by no means wrote a chunk of music until he had one thing to say and he by no means repeated himself; he by no means outstayed his welcome. No two of his piano items are alike, each creates its personal world. He lays his soul earlier than us in music just like the Second Symphony, but it’s noble as a lot as passionate.

His melodic invention is to die for, his harmonic flavour refined and immediately recognisable, his orchestration wealthy but by no means cloying. He has the reward of creating his music appear as if he’s talking simply to you.

Beneficial recording:

Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 4
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (piano); Philharmonia/Ettore Gracis (1957)
EMI 567 2382

Learn our evaluate of this recording right here.


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