I think this is a great question; it’s certainly one which has been asked often in the past 120 years. A number of previous answers have, correctly in my view, pointed out that no-one can really tell. Some composers we know well took time to reach their position, others arrived very quickly. I do think … Continue reading Are there currently any living modern composers who will go down in music history alongside the famous classical composers?
Written in answer to a question from Robert Holmén on Quora. It seemed to me worth spending a little time on. I don’t know what you are basing your question on - I’m not sure that the data actually bear out your premise, though it certainly isn’t easy to find clear information about listening figures. … Continue reading Is Classical music dying?
How do you know that there hasn’t been? It depends on exactly what you mean. Clearly, there can’t actually be another Mozart but there could be another composer who demonstrates similar qualities. For me, Mozart’s greatest quality is an absolute mastery of the musical language such that at its best, his music sounds so inevitable, … Continue reading Why has there not been another Mozart?
Bach fulfills a huge number of criteria that people use to judge the quality of a composer. He had extraordinary harmonic control, he wrote beautiful melodies, he had great structural control, he wrote wonderfully for voice and idiomatically across all instruments, he was equally adept at both small- and large-scale works, he had a palpable … Continue reading Why was Bach so great?
The simple answer to this question is a huge amount. I might even go so far as to say that use of the piano developed more in the 20th century than in any other period of musical history. The great period of technological development was the late 1700s into the mid 1800s when the invention … Continue reading What did the 20th century contribute to piano music?
Before answering this question, we have to unpack what ‘natural talent’ means. While there is no question that some people have more aptitude for particular tasks than others, I don’t think there is any evidence for true natural gift. Certainly if you read the work of the Swedish psychologist Anders-Ericsson, you would be hard pressed … Continue reading Is it fair to say Mozart had more natural talent than Bach?
I think this is a great question. It is really a question about what the value of art is as a whole - the things that make contemporary composers important are also what make every living artist important. As with many of these questions, I think we have to define exactly what you mean by … Continue reading What makes contemporary composers so important? What do they contribute?
This is an interesting question. ‘Complete’ is often used as a synonym for ‘best’ - for me, though, I think it more properly should include a sense of how all-encompassing a composer is. Haydn, for example, could be considered one of the most complete composers because he wrote in pretty much every genre available to … Continue reading Who is considered the most complete opera composer?