Friday, March 17, 2017

Beauty beyond Beethoven

One of the disadvantages of being an active member of a classical music discussion board is the presence of fanboys, who prefer one composer way over everyone else and do not understand that others don't agree. One would expect that the big three (Bach, Beethoven, Mozart) would each have their fair share of fanboys, but my experience is that it is mainly Beethoven (image credit) who attracts this type of adoration. Often this leads to comments like "When Beethoven laid down his quill for the last time I feel music beyond the point was unnecessary". I completely disagree - then again, Beethoven would not be in my personal top3 composers, coming in around #20. Still, just for fun, I made a quick and possibly incomplete selection of works after Beethoven that I love more than anything Beethoven created. Since Beethoven died in 1827, here is a list of  works after that year that I rate higher than my favourite work of Beethoven (his 6th symphony, "Pastoral"). And yes, I realize that this list is just as subjective as the fanboys statements.

1828 Schubert: String quintet in Cmaj
1830 Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique
1844 Mendelssohn: Violin concerto in Emin
1866 Bruch: Violin concerto 1 in Gmin
1868 Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem
1874 Mussorgsky: Pictures at an exhibition
1878 Brahms: Violin concerto in Dmaj
1878 Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in Dmaj
1886 Mahler: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
1886 Saint-Saens: Symphony 3 in Cmin 'Organ'
1890 Faure: Requiem in Dmin
1891 Brahms: Clarinet quintet in Bmin
1893 Dvorak: Symphony 9 in Emin 'New world'
1893 Dvorak: String quartet 12 in Fmaj 'American'
1894 Mahler: Symphony 2
1896 Bruckner: Symphony 9 (unfinished)
1901 Mahler: Symphony 4
1904 Mahler: Rueckert Lieder
1904 Mahler: Kindertotenlieder
1904 Mahler: Symphony 6 in Amin
1909 Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde
1910 Mahler: Symphony 9
1913 Stravinsky: The rite of spring
1945 Moeran: Cello concerto
1947 Barber: Knoxville summer of 1915
1976 Gorecki: Symphony 3

That makes 26 works by 16 different composers. Not bad.

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