Yagan Kiely wrote:How many people here who like Chopin the 'best', are not pianists?
Interesting question, heh.
As far as I'm concerned, answering to a "Who is the greatest composer ever" question is as hard as "Who is my favourite composer" one. It just depends on what I'm feeling on a given day. There are some trends though.
I took my iTunes library, put it into a spreadsheet, and calculated how much of each composer I had listened to over the last couple of years. Not a very subtle way of determining my favourites, but at least it gives an idea - one I don't wholly disagree with.
Of course, the problem with determining a greatest composer ever is the question: what makes a man (or a woman) a great composer? Is it their entire works, or is one piece enough?
If the answer is "one piece is enough", then there is going to be one hell of a fight between such brilliant pieces as:
- Beethoven's 9th, his Fantasia for piano, chorus and orchestra, his appassionata,...
- Mozart's Don Giovanni (heck, half his operas), 23rd piano concerto, Nachtmusik,...
- Schubert's Unfinished (as well as some of his Lieds like Auf dem Wasser)
- Brahm's 4th symphony (1st movement), 3rd symphony (3rd movement), 2nd symphony (4th movement)
- Tchaïkovsky's violin concerto in D, op.35
- Rachmaninoff's 2nd piano concerto
If it comes to a choice, in the end, for me it would have to be Mozart. I absolutely love the others - especially Beethoven - but Mozart just has that little "something". Beethoven has it, but it doesn't show as often. Schubert and Brahms have it, but it doesn't show as often. It's that little tingle of pure, sheer, unique beauty you feel when you hear the finale of Die Entführung Aus Dem Serail, it's that feeling of gut-deep awe that seizes you when the Commander and Don Giovanni sing to the death, that feeling of heaven shining in your ear when you hear the opening to the 23rd piano concerto, the eternal peace that soothes you when you hear his sonata in B KV.333.
And yes, I have been exposed to Mozart quite young
P.S.: how the **** did a die-hard music fan like myself miss such an awesome site? This place is officially my new home.