ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Top 5 Classical Composers of All Time

Updated on August 2, 2009
Gustavo Dudamel © Dan Porges
Gustavo Dudamel © Dan Porges

Well, this is the Top 5 as I see it, anyway. Granted, I’m not a classical musician and I absolutely hated classical music when I was a child – but I suspect that’s because I hated being forced to play it on the piano, when I wanted to learn something on the opposite end of the spectrum. I actually didn’t start listening to classical music radio until I was in my mid-twenties, but somehow managed to fall completely and utterly in love with several composers. The names on this list are certainly familiar, but you may wonder why certain names – such as Mozart – are not there.

The answer is simple: I find most of his music somewhat annoying and the rest overstated. But the main reason would have to be, Mozart just never moved me. And while there are certainly pieces from other composers that I listen to with great admiration, this list is as much about quantity as it is quality. Yes, I have something from Pachelbel in my collection – but I really only like 1 piece from him. These names belong to composers from whom I could randomly select any recording and be more than happy with the results. Obviously, this is just my opinion and many will feel others belong in the top 5. But I doubt anyone would say anyone on this list isn’t one of the greats.

Buy Beethoven's Works From Amazon

J.S. Bach
J.S. Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach

(1685 - 1750)

My favorite composer and totally incomparable, as far as I’m concerned. Born in Germany, Bach came from a musical family and was better known as an organist, than composer. It wasn’t until after his death that people took a serious interest in his compositions, which had previously been disregarded as old-fashioned. Today he’s revered for the incredible talent he was. My favorite classical instrument is the cello, and, in my opinion, none have outdone his Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello.

Bach's Cello Suite No. 4 Prelude: Performed by Sifei Wen

Ludwig van Beethoven

(1770-1827)

Another German composer, most will probably feel he belongs on this list. Beethoven’s talents were recognized at a very young age and he moved to Vienna, Austria to study under famous composer Joseph Haydn. It’s said he also attempted to study under Mozart but it’s unknown whether or not they ever even met. Beethoven was known to have a temper, and you can definitely hear his passion in his work. My favorite piece has always been Piano Sonata 14 in C Sharp Minor – better known as Moonlight Sonata.

Pyotr Tchaikovsky

(1840 – 1893)

Is there anyone on earth who doesn’t know most of The Nutcracker Suite by heart? Is there anyone who hasn’t at least heard of Swan Lake? Probably not, and that’s precisely why Russian composer Tchaikovsky is on this list. That, and nothing says Christmas like the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies. His music was so amazingly original and magical at the same time, it’s almost impossible to imagine the holiday season without it. It's the only ballet I've ever enjoyed watching, and it's all because of the music.

Antonín Dvořák

(1841 – 1904)

Dvořák was a Czech (Czech, not Czechoslovak) composer who created some of the most depressing music you have ever heard. By the way, Dvořák is pronounced Dvor-zhak. Well, not exactly, but that will sound a lot closer than how it looks. It’s the “ř” that has a special sound that only Czech people seem capable of pronouncing, but hearing it in English drives me nuts, because it’s so far off. My favorite works from him are the Slavonic Dances.

Elgar's Cello Concerto in E Minor: Performed by Jacqueline Du Pre

Sir Edward Elgar

(1857 - 1934)

This one will probably surprise, but I insist he be on this list. Classical music lovers will know him, the rest of the world has probably never heard of him, and that is a great shame. An Englishman who wrote “jovial” music, his works were popular, but fell out of favor when war hit. None of this is why he’s on this list, however. His last great masterpiece, Cello Concerto in E minor is the most powerful cello piece I’ve ever heard in my life, and I still cry every time I hear it. It’s an intimate portrait of an old man looking back on his life while looking ahead to his own death. It doesn’t get more real than that, and the honesty of this concerto can’t be ignored.

Comments

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)