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Williams is the 50th Greatest Composer According to the Biggest Names in Classical Today

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12 hours ago, Modest Expectations said:

My observation is that in oder to secure a place in the top... let's say 100 of the classical pantheon, a composer typically needs to extend the existing tradition in some way. It can be through impressive discoveries within the current paradigm, or through contributing to a shift to a new one. Given composer's music needs to be superior in some ways to that of the other composers.

 

The competition for this type of fame is very brutal. Did Goldsmith really manage to do it to a larger extent than the established classical fames?

 

If you look at his far out stuff from the 60s and 70s, he probably deserves *that* medal more than almost any other film music composer, including Williams.

 

What may objectively qualify Williams for this list more than most film composers is his extensive body of concert works. Goldsmith had very few of those.

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"I can think of better composers than any of these lists" is absolutely everybody in the world's response. That's what makes lists arbitrary.

 

The only one I've found slightly interesting/useful is the mathematical convergence one. It's the only list honest about the greatness of Williams and other masters. Makes for good personal study! The BBC list is good but not as accurate--it just surprised me to see it.

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23 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

Elfman isn't great though. He's done some very good stuff, but he's more often mediocre than not.

Extremely mediocre plus he cannot actually orchestrate himself from what I remember. I think a composer who is writing for orchestra should know how to actually compose and orchestrate his or her own work.

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On 11/7/2019 at 7:45 PM, Borodin said:

The only one I've found slightly interesting/useful is the mathematical convergence one. It's the only list honest about the greatness of Williams and other masters. Makes for good personal study!

Which survey is this? (You had me at “mathematical convergence”)

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2 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

The guy who did the boring parts of The Godfather scores.

 

He, he. Yes, I guess. But fortunately, he has some other gems in his discography, like THE BLACK STALLION or APOCALYPSE NOW (in-context, not on album).

 

But back to the 'real' Cage here, i.e. John. I must admit that I've never heard much of his work. I usually encounter his name when people pull out that "4:33" silent piece as a joke in various circumstances. Any recommendations here?

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Just posting this here in case the webpage gets deleted. John Williams is in 24th place on the biggest online poll I've seen. It allows you to choose all or any amount.

 

Quote

Who are your favorite composers? (created by a guest  

 

This is the result after 23,738 multiple votes were cast:
 
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770)3.67% (870 votes)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685)3.18% (754 votes)
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840)2.86% (678 votes)
Frédéric Chopin (1810)2.65% (629 votes)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756)2.45% (582 votes)
Claude Debussy (1862)2.43% (576 votes)
Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873)2.37% (563 votes)
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906)2.19% (519 votes)
Gustav Mahler (1860)2.13% (506 votes)
Antonín Dvořák (1841)2.02% (480 votes)
Igor Stravinsky (1882)1.93% (458 votes)
Johannes Brahms (1833)1.90% (451 votes)
Maurice Ravel (1875)1.76% (418 votes)
Sergei Prokofiev (1891)1.68% (398 votes)
Franz Schubert (1797)1.66% (393 votes)
Franz Liszt (1811)1.51% (359 votes)
Richard Wagner (1813)1.47% (350 votes)
Camille Saint-Saëns (1835)1.47% (348 votes)
Gustav Holst (1874)1.42% (338 votes)
Jean Sibelius (1865)1.38% (327 votes)
Felix Mendelssohn (1809)1.31% (311 votes)
George Gershwin (1898)1.30% (308 votes)
Béla Bartók (1881)1.28% (303 votes)
John Williams (1932)1.19% (282 votes)
Antonio Vivaldi (1678)1.17% (278 votes)
Philip Glass (1937)1.14% (271 votes)
Robert Schumann (1810)1.12% (266 votes)
Richard Strauss (1864)1.10% (261 votes)
Edvard Grieg (1843)1.05% (250 votes)
Aaron Copland (1900)1.00% (238 votes)
Leonard Bernstein (1918)1.00% (238 votes)
Joseph Haydn (1732)0.99% (234 votes)
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844)0.96% (229 votes)
Erik Satie (1866)0.92% (218 votes)
Modest Mussorgsky (1839)0.91% (217 votes)
George Frideric Handel (1685)0.90% (214 votes)
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872)0.90% (214 votes)
Arvo Pärt (1935)0.89% (212 votes)
Steve Reich (1936)0.89% (211 votes)
Giuseppe Verdi (1813)0.82% (194 votes)
György Ligeti (1923)0.78% (186 votes)
John Adams (1947)0.78% (186 votes)
Hector Berlioz (1803)0.78% (185 votes)
Edward Elgar (1857)0.74% (176 votes)
Olivier Messiaen (1908)0.72% (171 votes)
Alexander Scriabin (1872)0.70% (166 votes)
Charles Ives (1874)0.70% (166 votes)
Gabriel Fauré (1845)0.69% (163 votes)
Arnold Schoenberg (1874)0.66% (157 votes)
Samuel Barber (1910)0.66% (157 votes)
Gioachino Rossini (1792)0.64% (153 votes)
Niccolò Paganini (1782)0.63% (150 votes)
Benjamin Britten (1913)0.62% (148 votes)
John Cage (1912)0.61% (145 votes)
Anton Bruckner (1824)0.58% (138 votes)
Francis Poulenc (1899)0.57% (135 votes)
Giacomo Puccini (1885)0.56% (133 votes)
Ennio Morricone (1928)0.55% (131 votes)
Paul Hindemith (1895)0.52% (123 votes)
Johann Strauss II (1825)0.51% (120 votes)
Georges Bizet (1838)0.51% (120 votes)
Bedřich Smetana (1824)0.46% (109 votes)
Percy Grainger (1882)0.45% (106 votes)
Henry Purcell (1659)0.44% (105 votes)
Alexander Borodin (1833)0.43% (102 votes)
Domenico Scarlatti (1685)0.41% (98 votes)
Alban Berg (1885)0.40% (95 votes)
Claudio Monteverdi (1567)0.40% (94 votes)
Alfred Schnittke (1934)0.39% (93 votes)
Aram Khachaturian (1903)0.39% (92 votes)
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525)0.36% (86 votes)
Georg Philipp Telemann (1681)0.36% (85 votes)
Ottorino Respighi (1879)0.36% (85 votes)
Thomas Tallis (1505)0.35% (83 votes)
Anton Webern (1883)0.34% (80 votes)
Astor Piazzolla (1921)0.34% (80 votes)
Leoš Janáček (1854)0.33% (79 votes)
Iannis Xenakis (1922)0.33% (78 votes)
Tōru Takemitsu (1930)0.32% (75 votes)
Krzysztof Penderecki (1933)0.31% (74 votes)
Carl Orff (1895)0.30% (71 votes)
Carl Maria von Weber (1786)0.29% (70 votes)
Pierre Boulez (1925)0.29% (69 votes)
Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928)0.29% (68 votes)
William Byrd (1543)0.28% (67 votes)
Josquin des Prez (1450)0.27% (65 votes)
Clara Schumann (1819)0.27% (65 votes)
Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887)0.27% (65 votes)
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714)0.26% (62 votes)
César Franck (1822)0.26% (62 votes)
Edgard Varèse (1883)0.26% (62 votes)
Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928)0.26% (62 votes)
Henryk Górecki (1933)0.26% (61 votes)
Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683)0.25% (60 votes)
Max Bruch (1838)0.25% (60 votes)
Johann Pachelbel (1653)0.25% (59 votes)
Luciano Berio (1925)0.25% (59 votes)
Carl Nielsen (1865)0.24% (58 votes)
Arcangelo Corelli (1653)0.24% (57 votes)
Witold Lutosławski (1913)0.24% (56 votes)
Zoltán Kodály (1882)0.23% (55 votes)
Johann Christian Bach (1735)0.23% (54 votes)
Jacques Offenbach (1819)0.22% (53 votes)
Carlo Gesualdo (1566)0.22% (52 votes)
Morton Feldman (1926)0.22% (52 votes)
Isaac Albéniz (1860)0.21% (50 votes)
Manuel de Falla (1876)0.21% (50 votes)
Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897)0.21% (50 votes)
Darius Milhaud (1892)0.21% (49 votes)
Guillaume de Machaut (1300)0.20% (48 votes)
John Dowland (1563)0.20% (47 votes)
Alessandro Scarlatti (1660)0.20% (47 votes)
François Couperin (1668)0.19% (46 votes)
John Corigliano (1938)0.19% (44 votes)
Gaetano Donizetti (1797)0.18% (43 votes)
Dieterich Buxtehude (1637)0.17% (41 votes)
Mikhail Glinka (1804)0.17% (41 votes)
Conlon Nancarrow (1912)0.17% (40 votes)
Elliott Carter (1908)0.16% (39 votes)
Francisco Tárrega (1852)0.16% (38 votes)
Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632)0.15% (35 votes)
Tomaso Albinoni (1671)0.14% (34 votes)
Kurt Weill (1900)0.14% (34 votes)
Charles-Valentin Alkan (1830)0.13% (32 votes)
Nikolai Medtner (1880)0.13% (32 votes)
Sofia Gubaidulina (1931)0.13% (32 votes)
John Tavener (1944)0.13% (32 votes)
Pérotin (1200)0.13% (31 votes)
Giuseppe Tartini (1692)0.13% (31 votes)
Vincenzo Bellini (1801)0.13% (31 votes)
Alberto Ginastera (1916)0.13% (31 votes)
Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548)0.13% (30 votes)
Giovanni Gabrieli (1557)0.13% (30 votes)
Gregorio Allegri (1582)0.13% (30 votes)
Antonio Salieri (1750)0.13% (30 votes)
Muzio Clementi (1752)0.13% (30 votes)
Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778)0.13% (30 votes)
Harry Partch (1901)0.13% (30 votes)
Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber (1644)0.12% (29 votes)
Alexander Glazunov (1865)0.12% (29 votes)
Bohuslav Martinů (1890)0.12% (29 votes)
Bernard Herrmann (1911)0.12% (29 votes)
Orlande de Lassus (1532)0.12% (28 votes)
Eugène Ysaÿe (1858)0.12% (28 votes)
George Enescu (1881)0.12% (28 votes)
Michael Nyman (1944)0.12% (28 votes)
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710)0.11% (27 votes)
Luigi Boccherini (1743)0.11% (27 votes)
Gerald Finzi (1901)0.11% (27 votes)
Brian Ferneyhough (1943)0.11% (26 votes)
Johannes Ockeghem (1410)0.11% (25 votes)
William Walton (1902)0.11% (25 votes)
Carl Czerny (1791)0.10% (24 votes)
Enrique Granados (1867)0.10% (24 votes)
Guillaume Du Fay (1397)0.10% (23 votes)
Fernando Sor (1778)0.10% (23 votes)
Jules Massenet (1842)0.10% (23 votes)
Karol Szymanowski (1882)0.10% (23 votes)
Hugo Wolf (1860)0.09% (22 votes)
Louis Spohr (1784)0.09% (21 votes)
Anton Rubinstein (1829)0.09% (21 votes)
Arthur Sullivan (1842)0.09% (21 votes)
Mily Balakirev (1873)0.09% (21 votes)
Arthur Honegger (1892)0.09% (21 votes)
Joaquín Rodrigo (1901)0.09% (21 votes)
Giovanni Pacini (1796)0.08% (20 votes)
Leopold Godowsky (1870)0.08% (20 votes)
Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714)0.08% (19 votes)
Charles Gounod (1818)0.08% (19 votes)
Ferruccio Busoni (1866)0.08% (19 votes)
Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583)0.07% (17 votes)
Heinrich Schütz (1585)0.07% (17 votes)
Carl Stamitz (1745)0.07% (17 votes)
Wilhelm Hieronymus Pachelbel (1685)0.07% (16 votes)
Frederick Delius (1862)0.07% (16 votes)
Max Reger (1873)0.07% (16 votes)
John Taverner (1490)0.06% (15 votes)
Orlando Gibbons (1583)0.06% (15 votes)
Giacinto Scelsi (1905)0.06% (15 votes)
Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679)0.06% (14 votes)
Luigi Nono (1924)0.06% (14 votes)
Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643)0.05% (13 votes)
Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791)0.05% (13 votes)
Nikolai Myaskovsky (1881)0.05% (12 votes)
Pierre Schaeffer (1910)0.05% (12 votes)
Anton Reicha (1770)0.05% (11 votes)
Pietro Mascagni (1863)0.05% (11 votes)
Silvestre Revueltas (1899)0.05% (11 votes)
John Dunstaple (1390)0.04% (10 votes)
Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562)0.04% (10 votes)
Luigi Cherubini (1760)0.04% (10 votes)
Franz Lehár (1870)0.04% (10 votes)
Louis Vierne (1870)0.04% (10 votes)
Barbara Strozzi (1619)0.04% (9 votes)
Sylvius Leopold Weiss (1687)0.04% (9 votes)
Johann Joachim Quantz (1697)0.04% (9 votes)
Hans Werner Henze (1926)0.04% (9 votes)
Allan Pettersson (1911)0.03% (7 votes)
Jacob Obrecht (1457)0.02% (5 votes)
Antoine Brumel (1460)0.01% (2 votes)
 

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On 11/7/2019 at 11:54 PM, Marian Schedenig said:

If you look at his far out stuff from the 60s and 70s, he probably deserves *that* medal more than almost any other film music composer, including Williams.

Which well known classical composers would you place him higher than / compare favourably to, for example? Just so that I sense what sort of achievement do you have in mind.

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2 hours ago, First TROS March Accolyte said:

Which well known classical composers would you place him higher than / compare favourably to, for example? Just so that I sense what sort of achievement do you have in mind.

 

I've mostly stopped trying to strictly rank composers (or most other things). For one thing, much of it is incredibly subjective - for example, I don't actively listen to Bach a lot, and (as with much old music) I don't easily get into it, except when we do it in choir, and then it's amazing. But I can't very well put him near the top and at the same time rather low on a ranked list. Also, things change, including musical preferences, and who I'd rank higher one day might differ just a few days later. And it depends on what you focus on anyway - as I said, Williams has a much broader concert repertoire than Goldsmith, and as such might be easier for non-film score folk to compare to other concert composers, but as listeners of film music, we must also include the film scores, and take into account those that have not been re-arranged for the concert hall.

 

Suffice it to say that both Williams and Goldsmith are at the top of my favourite film music composers, and share the top tier of my favourite overall composers with Bruckner, Wagner, Strauss, and the like.

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And I tabulated and ranked our forum participants' Top 10s from a 16 year old JWFan thread. A pretty good representative sample actually. Here is

JWFan's Top 30 Composers

 

1. Williams
2. Beethoven
3. Mahler
4. Prokofiev
5. Mozart
6. Wagner
7. Stravinsky
8. Debussy
9. Holst
10. Shostakovich
11. Dvorak
12. Bach
13. Strauss, R
14. Bernstein
15. Grieg
16. Bruckner
17. Tchaikovsky
18. Vaughan Williams
19. Elgar
20. Rachmaninoff
21. Ravel
22. Haydn
23. Mendelssohn
24. Adams
25. Rimsky-Korsakov
26. Mussorgsky
27. Sibelius
28. Copland
29. Chopin
30. Barber

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16 hours ago, Thor said:

I see. Yes, there's probably only a handful of those I have a close personal relationship to, although I like the music by all of them in one form or another.

On this list, I'm especially partial to 1, 2, 4, 8, 10, 17 and 21.

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