Favorite Classical Composer?
One of the most difficult questions for me to answer is this:
“Who’s your favorite composer?”
For some, it’s easy. I know some folks who consider Bach the greatest composer of all time. And a few others who think it’s Mozart. And they consider that composer to be the greatest because that’s who they enjoy the most.
But it’s more difficult for me, because I try to listen to each work in the aesthetic context it was written in. I’m not prepared to say that a Palestrina mass is better (or worse) than a Brahms piano sonata. Or that a Haydn symphony is superior to a Dowland lute song. Composers are partially bound by the resources and aesthetics of their day — the ones that transcend those limitations and speak to us today are the truly great ones.
I have a selection of favorite composers, but I freely admit that not all of them are considered the “greatest,” and no one composer matches my emotional need for music all of the time. Sometimes I like the over-caffeinated restlessness of Steve Reich’s compositions. Other times the calm serenity of a Dufay mass fills the bill.
Beethoven may have written the greatest symphonies (according to many), but Alan Hovhaness’ Symphony No. 2 “Mysterious Mountain” is a work I find consistently moving.
Maybe that’s why “Gamut” is the type of show it is. I haven’t found that one favorite composer yet, and so I keep looking.
No worries, though. Searching through the collected body of classical music from the past thousand years has been more than half the fun.