Second post!…on this blog.

Anyways, said I’d post a list of my favourite composers. Nine in total. All great. All remembered. I’m absolutely withered from school, so to do this is quite a monumental feat. Here goes…in roughly chronological order..

#9
Antonio Vivaldi (1678 – 1741)

Vivaldi is best known for his work on the Four Seasons, a series of violin concertos dedicated to, well, the 4 seasons. For instance, winter is represented by lots of staccato throughout the piece, which exemplifies the crisp frostiness which is winter. He is also credited with numerous other violin concerti of the Baroque period, though here the Four Seasons really take the cake.

Frontispiece for Il Teatro Alla Moda

#8
Domenico Scarlatti (1685 – 1757)

Coming from the Baroque family of Scarlattis, Domenico is a master of the keyboard (and especially the harpsichord); there was even a story of a keyboard contest between Handel and himself, where the former excelled at the organ and the latter, the harpsichord. His music has since garnered the admiration of many, including later composers and ordinary people like myself. Throughout his life he composed 555 keyboard sonatas, the majority of which is published only after his death.

#7
George Frideric Handel (1685 – 1759)

Handel, originally from Germany, was naturalised as a British subject in the Court of George I of Great Britain (who was also from Germany). He would go on to compose for the King and his son, George II, especially so for the latter’s coronation (most famous of which is Zadok the Priest). He also wrote a Te Deum following the King’s victory at the Battle of Dettingen, as well as the much celebrated Music for the Royal Fireworks for the end to the War of the Austrian Succession. He was accorded a state funeral at his death.

The fireworks display in 1749 for the Music for the Royal Fireworks

#6
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)

 

Bach had written one of my all-time favourite organ pieces, the Toccata and Fugue in D minor, which despite the fact that it is nowadays associated with Dracula and vampires (but perhaps not with the Twilight ones), it is in originality far removed from that setting. Aside from that piece he had created numerous other great works. Coincidentally (or not?), Bach was born in the same year as both Handel AND Domenico Scarlatti! His demise however signalled the beginning of the end of the Baroque era, making way for the Classical era of music.

(Yes, people, Classical is a style, not an entire genre, although you can relate it in that manner.)

#5
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)

Anyone who is unfamiliar with him has obviously been a hermit living in a cave. Mozart was a child prodigy, sent to perform in various Courts across Europe. He had started writing works from a very young age, although it is the ones he composed in his adulthood which are far more famous, including the Magic Flute and the work he never finished, the Requiem. Supposedly this work was finished by Süssmayr under his instructions, although this is still disputed. His tragically premature death at the age of 35 is mourned, but his funeral by contrast was an unspectacular one, buried simply and quietly in the Viennese fashion, unmarked. It’s ironic to think that the Requiem, a mournful piece in itself, would be commissioned just prior to the composer’s own death.

#4
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)

Beethoven marked the transition from the Classical era to Romanticism. Although early on he had descended into deafness, he continued composing nonetheless. Amongst his vast library of works include the lamentful ‘Moonlight Sonata’, the Turkish March, and the Symphony Numbers 5 & 9, the latter which has the oft-celebrated ‘Ode to Joy’, one of my most cherished. His funeral was quite unlike Mozart’s: a large crowd of Viennese gathered for it; Schubert was once of the pallbearers. Off the charts he is one of the most commonly remembered composers of all time.

#3
Frédéric François Chopin (1810 – 1849)

Chopin was one of the main composers during the Romantic era. A piano virtuoso, Chopin wrote many great works for the relatively new form of keyboard many of which, like the nocturne, remain popular to this day. My personal favourite though is the Ballade No. 1, which displays insurmountable depth and feeling. He was in poor health mostly, however, and slowly but surely his physical condition deteriorated, until he finally died aged 39. Tragic to think that he could have written so much more…

#2
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 – 1893)

A Russian composer, Tchaikovsky represented the new age of more easterly musical minds, and has a vast output of work. Ballet, opera, symphonies, chamber music – he wrote them all. The Nutcracker Suite is perhaps one of his most popular works, along with Swan Lake, and the First Piano Concerto. However, the piece that reminds me most of Tchaikovsky is his grandiose 1812 Overture, written to celebrate Russian victory over Napoleon’s forces. Booming bass, bells and cannons add to the spectacle. He could have lived longer, though – in 1893 he contracted cholera, from which he died as a result. The circumstances of his death fail to topple him from the pedestal of greats, on which he proudly stands.

I’m almost done…finally. Three hours typing already.

#1
Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin (1872 – 1915)


 

Another landmark Russian composer of the turn of the century, Scriabin is best known for his challenging piano works, very much like how Scarlatti is for challenging harpsichord works. One of his most challenging works has been one played by many great pianists, including Horowitz: the Etude Op.8 No.12. The piece brings the player to the edge of sanity; few can achieve that feat. His works were also recorded on rolls contemporarily.

There. The 9 composers I greatly admire. Well, I guessed I have written enough for today.

Now, I shall return to study for my test due Wednesday as well as my presentations this week. Sigh. Only 18 and I’m mentally worked like a dog. HAHA.

Till then!~

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