Let's talk classical music

Obviously, by my username, you can tell I'm a classical fan (mostly romantic era). I'm interested in discussing your favorite composers, pieces, recordings, etc. 

My Top 10 composers (because why not)

In no particular order: Mahler, Sibelius, Bruckner, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Bruch, Saint-Saëns, Schumann, Schubert, Tchaikovsky. I could go on for a while, but I'll leave it here. 

I like a lot of pieces, and it's hard to come up with a top few, but if I could only listen to one last piece of music in my life, it'd be Mahler 6. 

I look forward to your responses!

Comments (58)

Aug 25, 2020 - 8:11pm
LEVERAGEDUPHARDO, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Antonio Vivaldi 

Johannes Brahms  

Frederic Chopin 

Antonin Dvorak 

George Frideric Handel 

If i could only listen to one last piece of music in my life, it'd be Minuet in G major. 

Aug 25, 2020 - 8:38pm
Gustav Mahler, what's your opinion? Comment below:

In particular, Petzold's Minuet in G major is always a joy to hear. Looking at Chopin, my favorite interpreter is probably Pollini. 

“The important thing is never to let oneself be guided by the opinion of one's contemporaries; to continue steadfastly on one's way without letting oneself be either defeated by failure or diverted by applause.”
Aug 26, 2020 - 2:50pm
Deal Team Six, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Love this answer. Between you and OP, you named my three favorites, those being Vivaldi, Dvorak, and Tchaikovsky. 

However, if I could only listen to one piece for the rest of my life, I think it would be either Vivaldi's The Four Seasons in G Minor or Dvorak's No.9 in E Minor, Part III (From New World). I observed the CSO perform the latter and it was one of more perfect things I've witnessed.   

Aug 25, 2020 - 8:31pm
Deo et Patriae, what's your opinion? Comment below:

A classical music fan that doesn't like Bach? Heresy! Without Bach, none of those other composers you mentioned would have existed!

I kid... my top 10, in alphabetical order: Bach, Beethoven, Debussy, Mahler, Mozart, Scarlatti, Schubert, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Verdi

If I could only listen to one piece of music, it would be Verdi's Aida

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Aug 25, 2020 - 8:51pm
Gustav Mahler, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Haha, Bach is the great Master, that is for sure!

I just watched a documentary about Scarlatti, and his story is very cool. Link if you'd like:

“The important thing is never to let oneself be guided by the opinion of one's contemporaries; to continue steadfastly on one's way without letting oneself be either defeated by failure or diverted by applause.”
Aug 25, 2020 - 8:59pm
JG_wentworth, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Favorite composers:

Mozart Vivaldi JS Bach Beethoven Haydn Galuppi Pergolesi Vinci Hasse JC Bach

Funny that while all the composers listed in this thread full under the classical music umbrella, my tastes differ dramatically from yours. I'm still into more conservative romantic music (special mention for above list: Schumann and Mendelssohn), but in terms of music that I can consistently enjoy, the 1850/60s is a sort of cut off.

If I had only time to listen to one last piece of music, I'd probably go with last movement of Beethoven's 5th, but I would say Haydn's Creation is my #1 piece of music. I admit I've never listened to Mahler's 6th...

Aug 25, 2020 - 9:18pm
Gustav Mahler, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It's great to know that there is so much music under the classical umbrella, creating numerous possible flavors! Admittingly, I have never heard of Pergolesi -- I'll give him a try tonight. 

“The important thing is never to let oneself be guided by the opinion of one's contemporaries; to continue steadfastly on one's way without letting oneself be either defeated by failure or diverted by applause.”
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Aug 25, 2020 - 9:02pm
DirtyDan, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This must be where the intellects reside

There can only be one Dirty Dan, the rest of you are Pin-head Larrys...

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Aug 25, 2020 - 10:41pm
Ace Rothstein, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Mahler is the GOAT. I'll never forget the first time I heard 2 and 9 performed live. Let's not sleep on Das Lied von der Erde, either.

I won't bother repeating most of the composers listed here, which I agree with by and large. Instead, I'll give a few composers I don't see talked about enough:

Charles Ives: highly underrated turn-of-the-century composer. His Concard Sonata and Three Places in New England are both masterworks.

Vasily Kalinnikov: criminally underrated late Romantic composer. Both of his symphonies are beautiful.

David Maslanka: likely the best wind band composer to have ever lived. Listen to Symphony No. 2Symphony No. 4, and Give Us This Day. Maslanka 4 is my favorite long-form piece in the entire wind repertoire.

On the topic of wind music, Percy Grainger's Lincolnshire Posy is the most important piece ever written for wind orchestra. Movement 2 has the one of the coolest, most jaw-dropping brass features you'll hear in orchestral music. Follow along with a score for movements 3 and 5; lots of complex meter and free time.

Aug 26, 2020 - 9:44am
Gustav Mahler, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I was blown away by Kalinnikov 1. I need to explore his works more. 

Going along the lines of underrated composers, I think people should give Eduard Tubin a shot.

“The important thing is never to let oneself be guided by the opinion of one's contemporaries; to continue steadfastly on one's way without letting oneself be either defeated by failure or diverted by applause.”
Aug 26, 2020 - 8:16am
iridescent007, what's your opinion? Comment below:

For me Tchaikovsky, Haydn, and Chopin rank top 3. I play cello and classical guitar. Always wanted to learn piano. 

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Aug 26, 2020 - 10:25am

Chopin's Ballades and Rachmaninoff's Piano Concertos are my favorite pieces of music

Aug 26, 2020 - 11:42am
earlysummer, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Looks like the Germans and the Russians are well represented here. The German romantics appear to be the favorite by far, but curious that Wagner isn't on here.

There are a number of great French composers worth mentioning - Debussy (an obvious choice), Ravel wasn't as prolific as the other great composers but all of his pieces are fantastic, and Messiaen also has some cool stuff. Also would recommend a few works by Francis Poulenc, in particular his concerto for the organ, which is as metal as you can get with classical music. 

Aug 27, 2020 - 3:40am
circularreference, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Poulenc is fantastic, what I love is his music is also highly accessible while still being rich and harmonically interesting. It's something I can put on even with non-classical folk around.

Aug 26, 2020 - 11:53am
Takgolv, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Wagner. He towers far above anyone else. Der Ring des Nibelungen (the ring cycle) is possibly the greatest artistic endeavor the human mind has ever conceived. But his legacy shouldn't be confined to music only. 

Aug 26, 2020 - 3:18pm
Wawiag, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Love to see this thread. Switched from a performance major at a big name conservatory to finance.

The real question OP is Scherzo-Andante or Andante-Scherzo? And what about the final hammer blow, do you include it or not?

Personally I'm a huge fan of Shostakovich, Mahler, R Strauss, Stravinsky, Copland, Scriabin, some Bartok, and then Bach and the first Viennese school. Also like Monteverdi and Machaut's double leading tone cadences. Fav romantic/20th century pieces include basically any Mahler esp 5, the Rite, Copland 3, Strauss' Alpine Symphony, which is just gorgeous. Could talk about this forever, hard to choose a few favorites!!

Aug 26, 2020 - 3:37pm
Gustav Mahler, what's your opinion? Comment below:

As controversial as this may be, I think I prefer Scherzo-Andante. Bernstein with the Vienna Phil is one of my favorite recordings. Curious to see what you prefer.

Alongside Scriabin's piano works, his 1st symphony is fantastic. 

“The important thing is never to let oneself be guided by the opinion of one's contemporaries; to continue steadfastly on one's way without letting oneself be either defeated by failure or diverted by applause.”
Aug 26, 2020 - 4:29pm
Wawiag, what's your opinion? Comment below:

That is my favorite recording too! I think harmonically S-A is more riveting. I love the counterpoint of Mahler, really opens up his works to just a behemoth scale in complexity and sound while being emotionally stirring. The only time I've ever let tears go at a concert was the finale of a live Mahler 2...indescribable but you know the feeling!!

Do you have fav recordings for Mahler 8 and 9? I haven't listened to those two as much as 1-7 and haven't searched through recordings.

Aug 26, 2020 - 4:59pm
Tamara_S, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am floored every time I think of the fact that Mozart was only 24 years old, when he wrote Idomeneo. 

Aug 26, 2020 - 10:02pm
Gustav Mahler, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Wild to think that these guys were writing such complicated music at a young age. I must say, I am envious of their skills. 

“The important thing is never to let oneself be guided by the opinion of one's contemporaries; to continue steadfastly on one's way without letting oneself be either defeated by failure or diverted by applause.”
Sep 2, 2020 - 11:16pm
UFOinsider, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Do more modern composers like Roland Dyens count?  Fuocco rivals anything Tarrega did....

Lots of good stuff on this thread!  In addition to the above I love guitar so I'm a fan of greats like Albinez, Piazzola, Tarrega, Sor, and Segovia.  Strauss, Bach, Debussy, Handel, and Paganini are also my go tos.  Bach on guitar is divine.

Mussgorsky is a god amongst men

Favorite pieces:

Verano Porteno, Piazzola

Piano Concerto 24, Mozart

The Revolutionary, Chopin

Caprice 24, Paganini (fabulous on guitar)

Dies Irae, Verdi

Anything Debussy

stopping here because there are just too many 

Get busy living
  • 3
Sep 3, 2020 - 10:28am
Gustav Mahler, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm not all too familiar with classical guitar. However, I have heard some Tarrega. Any recordings you suggest?

“The important thing is never to let oneself be guided by the opinion of one's contemporaries; to continue steadfastly on one's way without letting oneself be either defeated by failure or diverted by applause.”
Sep 3, 2020 - 3:15pm
UFOinsider, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Gustav Mahler

I'm not all too familiar with classical guitar. However, I have heard some Tarrega. Any recordings you suggest?

Hi there, sure:

More famous pieces:

Capricho Arabe

Gran Vals - this will make you laugh btw :)

Adelita

Memories of Alhambra - you've heard this :)

His studies are also nice:

Study in C major

Study in E minor

Study 5 in B minor

If you really want a treat, check out Balthazar Benitez performing Astor Piazzola.  I think amazon sells the album for eight bucks, every song is an exploration. 

Get busy living
  • 4
Sep 3, 2020 - 3:14pm
UFOinsider, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Whoops, comment in wrong place

Get busy living
Oct 1, 2021 - 12:30pm
philbegas, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Personally, I don't really get into classical music much until the late romantic era, but I enjoy 20th century and modern composers the most because I feel like harmonic dissonance is used more readily. I have a particular hatred for baroque music made in major keys. Happy music commissioned by rich people has no character.

I don't have that much music theory or history education, although I played violin from ages 3-13 and was in choir on and off for another decade. I'm a fan of Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Erik Satie, Chopin, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, and Scriabin. 

Oct 1, 2021 - 5:10pm
StonksAlwaysGoUp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Beethoven is top tier. Absolutely unmatched!

Apr 3, 2022 - 6:48pm
yjackets, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I know this is an old thread, and everyone in here has pretty much mentioned every major composer, but a less-known guy that I think you may like is Nicholas Britell. He's the mind behind the soundtrack of the show Succession on HBO, and it was his music that actually inspired my interest in learning more about (and regularly listening to) classical music. The one caveat is his tracks are too short (since it was more designed for short bouts scene-to-scene), and is really easy to bang through in a couple of hours.

Another sort of cool intro tool that I used when I first was interested in classical was this genre of Youtube videos that throw together 45 min. - 1 hr. playlists of classical music from an array of composers. It seems your knowledge on this topic runs relatively deep, but for you and others interested, I'd suggest adding this video type to your algorithm because this is another way that I was introduced to a wealth of "new" old composers. Not to mention that the art used is typically pretty cool. I'll attach a video here for reference.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCuubIKo7Ag

Jul 17, 2022 - 9:02pm
Single Malt, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not a prominent composer but a pupil of Liszt: Frederic Lamond. There are recordings of his playing on YouTube. I recommend looking him up. 

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” – Mark Twain
Jul 17, 2022 - 9:53pm
Harvard_GS_HBS_KKR, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Beethoven's Waldstein Sonata is one of my favorite pieces ever to play. It must be something about the clean, austere purity of its C major, but it's probably the only piece that I've been practicing nonstop for years--ever since early high school--and still can't get enough of its sound, from the colorful trills to the earth shattering glissandos in the third movement.

I'm also a big fan of Liszt's Transcendental Etudes and Mendelssohn's and Tchaikovsky's piano concertos

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Jul 17, 2022 - 11:25pm
Anonymous Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Chopin completely dominates other composers in terms of hit rate.

Oct 26, 2022 - 8:25pm
Franz Liszt, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Top 3 (Overall): Liszt, Mahler, Scriabin

Top 3 (Piano): Liszt, Scriabin, Ravel

Top 4: (Classical): Beethoven, Hummel, Mozart, Schubert

Top 3 (Baroque): Bach, Rameau, Scarlatti

Top 3 (Romantic): Liszt, Schumann, Scriabin

Top 3 (Impressionist): Debussy, Mompou, Ravel

Top 3 (20th Century): Rachmaninoff, Falla, Zemlinsky

Top 3 (21st Century): Kapustin, Salonen

Top 2 (Minimalist): Reich, Adams, Cage

Top 3 (Maximalist): Mahler, Wagner, Vaughan-Williams

Top 5 (Super Underrated Gems): York Bowen, Casella, Atterberg, Joseph Marx, Roslavets, Moeran

Top 6 (Pianists): Boris Giltburg, Horowitz, Beatrice Rana, Yunchan Lim, Vikingur Olafsson, Florian Noack

Top 5 (Conductors): Currentzis, Abbado, Oramo, Salonen, Pappano

Oct 26, 2022 - 8:41pm
theAudiophile, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Gustav Holst. Wagner. The entire Fallout 4 playlist. Absolute best piece ever made though is Debussy's Clair de Lume.

Any of the pieces done by Rousseau on the tubes like the piece mentioned below are off the chain.

Oct 26, 2022 - 10:03pm
RabbiRodriguez, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Nov 19, 2022 - 12:18pm
Robusta, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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