You’re going to hate my list.
I can safely say that, because I know that whenever someone makes a list like this, tons of people will disagree with it. Some of you might agree, but the majority will have some problem with it. They will disagree about the order of the people listed or about some of the people on the list or they will feel that others should be on the list that aren’t or they will hate every single entry and think it’s wrong. No matter.
I decided to write this list anyway. It is not any kind of scientific ranking; instead, it’s just my favorite composers. But I’ve chosen from among my favorite composers only those who are also considered some of the worlds greatest. They might not be the top ones on every list, but they are always near the top. And they are ones I enjoy.
1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
I put Mozart in the first position, because he not only created a ton of orchestral instrumental music, but also composed some incredible operas in the second part of his career. It is this range that puts him ahead of the other composers. He basically did everything but sing.
Unlike some, or maybe most, other composers you might have in the top list, it was relatively easy for Mozart. He was a prodigy, so he did not have to work nearly as hard as the other composers to create the same kind of thing. He did work hard, though, and this is why he ended up creating some of the world’s greatest masterpieces.
Read more about Mozart here.
2. Ludwig Van Beethoven
Making music was much harder for Beethoven than for Mozart. Beethoven was not nearly as much of a natural, so he struggled much more to create great pieces. Nevertheless, he did just that, using all the tools he had at his disposal.
He created some incredible and bombastic pieces that more than make up for some of the ones he made that weren’t quite as good. His body of work has stood the test of time and everyone knows his name today. That is why I put him in the second spot.
Here is the best of Beethoven’s music, though I suggest you get it on vinyl to really enjoy it to its fullest:
3. Johann Sebastian Bach
Many people would’ve put back Bach at number one. I thought about it myself. He was a master of musical engineering, but he also had a romantic soul and was incredibly expressible. He never made operas, but he could have done it easily.
Bach was actually considered old-fashioned during his time, but he didn’t care. He did not want to follow the modern trends. Instead he doubled down on doing things his own way even more. And he took that style further than anyone and outdid them all.
To learn anything you could possibly ever want to know about Bach, your best bet is to visit the museum dedicated to him in Leipzig, Germany.
4. Richard Wagner
Most people would have left Wagner off any of these lists, because he was known as a fervent anti-Semite. He might have been a horrible person, but he was an incredible composer.
He made some gorgeous romantic pieces and some incredibly bombastic pieces that mixed opera with orchestra and did so better than most. His music is absolutely beautiful, but has a sadness that runs through it as well. This really makes his pieces stick out among the crowd.
5. Franz Peter Schubert
Shubert died very young and very poor. But he left behind a huge body of work comprised of hundreds of songs. His music is everywhere. His pieces are not as recognizable as some of the other people on this list, but anyone involved in concerts at all has heard or played his music. We all know them even if we don’t know that we know them.
There you have it, my list of the top five classical composers of all time. If you disagree with any part of this list, feel free to let me know in the comments below.
But also know that I will not be changing the list. It is what it is and I know it’s very subjective. That can’t be changed. Nevertheless, I look forward to hearing from you guys and who you think should be in the top five and why. Please do let me know.