Anthony Tommasini, a music critic for the New York Times, is trying to come up with a list of the top ten composers of Western music. It stands to reason, of course, that J.S. Bach should head the list. As a piano student working my way through The Well-Tempered Clavier, I marvelled at how Bach anticipated some of the developments in music which would come long after his death. Some of the harmonies sound positively Wagnerian. Of course, you shouldn’t play Bach as if he were Wagner!
Tommasini begins his look at the greats with two German composers, namely Bach and Handel. And he invites his readers to send in their own lists. For me, it is difficult to say. Some of my favourite music is by a composer who is not normally counted among the greats, though he is counted among the great pianists. His name is Ernst von Dohnányi. His second Violin Concerto is one of my very favourite pieces of music.
Anyhow, you can read Tommasini’s beginning review of the top 10 by clicking here. You are also free to submit your own top ten and challenge his assumptions.