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Who are your gods?

Jaap

Yes, that's an alto flute
Beethoven
Mahler
Shostakovich
Messiaen
Stockhausen
Claude Vivier
Takemitshu
John Adams
John Powell
Hans Zimmer
Tykwer, Heil, Klimek
David Bowie
 

Bluemount Score

Active Member
Thomas Bergersen
Hans Zimmer
John Williams
Alan Silvestri
John Powell
Johan Johansson
Debussy

actually I have huge respect for all of the great classical componists.
 

wst3

my office these days
Moderator
I have four crib sheets in the studio - songwriters, composers, and arrangers that inspire me. These lists grow all the time. But as someone mentioned above, I think the attraction is equal parts the composer and the compositions. Generally speaking, I've uttered "gee I wish I'd written that" more often than not!

My favorite composers list, in no real order other than the first two:
  • Aaron Copland
  • Samuel Barber
  • Erik Satie
  • Antonín Dvořák
  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Maurice Ravel
  • Claude Debussy
  • Gustaf Mahler
  • Ludwig Beethoven
  • George Gershwin
  • Oscar Peterson
  • Herbie Hancock
  • John Coltrane
  • Miles Davis
  • Duke Ellington
That, of course, is the "serious music" list<G>. I also have a list of composers for stage and screen. I think this is an entirely different discipline, maybe two entirely different disciplines? Other than focusing on live theatre the list is in no order whatsoever.
  • Leonard Bernstein
  • Jonathon Larson
  • Andrew Lloyd Weber
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda
  • Stephen Sondheim
  • Stephen Schwartz
  • Rupert Gregson-Williams
  • Bernard Herrmann
  • Danny Elfman
  • Elmer Bernstein
  • Ennio Morricone
  • Jerry Goldsmith
  • John Williams
  • Hans Zimmer
  • Thomas Newman
  • Alan Menken
  • Alan Silvestri
  • Howard Shore
  • James Horner
Jay and I have chatted about this - I think songwriters are a different breed entirely. Especially pop songwriters. Every one of these artists has said something in song that just rang so true I wished I had said it. Lines like "The Speed of the Sound of Loneliness" or pretty much the entirety of "Suzanne" or "Hallelujah" just slay me.
  • Pete Townsend
  • John Prine
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Leonard Cohen
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Lyle Lovett
  • Lucinda Williams
  • Jacques Brel
  • Neil Finn
  • Andy Partridge
  • Alex Chilton
  • Chris Bell
  • Bob Dylan
The songwriter list could go on forever... but the last time I created it this was the few that made it. I have no idea why!

And then there are arrangers - not sure why, but I find these guys to be among my favorites, the magic they can do with someone else's melody is just fascinating!
  • James Pankow
  • Greg Adams
  • Nelson Riddle
  • Sammy Nestico
  • Quincy Jones
As you can see, I am seldom bored!
 
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Iskra

Active Member
I'd put my list, but I don't want this thread to become as long as the BBCSO one with just one post.
There's just too much stuff and too many gods out there so incredibly brilliant that makes me even a little angry:
Ars longa, vita brevis
 

Living Fossil

Senior Member
The ones you look to as pillars of musical perfection. The ones you simply cannot live without.
While i think it is quite useless just to drop some names, i think it would be really interesting to mention some aspects you specifically admire in a composer's work.

To name some subjective views:

Classical composers:

J.S. Bach:
The perfection in his use of counterpoint isn't even nearly touched by any other composer.
His use of semantical codes (such as Passus duriusculus etc.) is spot on.
The use of the tonal material (scales, chromatic notes etc.) is incredibly stringent and adds to the organic feel of his music.

W. Mozart:
80% of his music sounds very similar to other composers of his time. However, then there are those magic moments; some bars with incredible harmonic details; or those small variations. And of course, there are themes and there are unforgettable themes. He did the latter ones...

L. Beethoven:
The architectural perfection that provides perfect acoustic organisms. His work with dualistic themes (specially in the sonata form) is unmatched.

F. Schubert:
His music transforms the weight of the human existence into sound.
His use of the tonal material (specially by extending tonality) is just incredible.

F. Mendelssohn:
For me, he's the composer who perfectly catched the feeling of spring - youth - nature...

J. Brahms:
His work with supporting motives (which include the use of different metrical units in different layers) is amazing.

F. Liszt:
Incredible textures for piano. His piano sonata alone is a compedium of pianistic techniques.

A. Bruckner:
Specially when considering that he started his "official" career as a composer at age 40, the vitality and energy in his orchestral works in overwhelming. Also the use of counterpoint creates fantastic moments (love the "Te Deum")

R. Strauss:
Probably the composer with the best inner hearing since Bach...
His orchestration - and specially the creativity in writing instrumental textures - is a pinnacle.

C. Debussy:
A big master of orchestration (same goes for M. Ravel) and also a composer with fantastic pianistic writing.

I. Stravinsky:
There is so much to mention: rhythm, orchestral colours, use of polytonality, etc.
My respect for the "Sacre du Printemps" grew with each ripoff of that piece that i heard. ;)

A. Berg:
Wrote the most organic transitions between different formal parts.
His piece "Altenberg-Lieder" still is the freshest atonal composition (in my opinion)

S. Rachmaninow:
Incredible pianistic writing. His 2nd piano concerto is the maybe the sweetest possible music.

S. Prokofjew:
Musical humor at its best.

D. Shostakowitch:
A true master of (slightly subversive) undertones.

G. Grisey:
The master of spectral music. Created wonderful new worlds of sound.

Pop music:

Claus Ogerman:
His arrangements for tracks like "Girl from Ipanema" etc. are unique.

Beatles:
Their later records are kind of a bible of pop music.
The use of spectacular sound colors opened up an area inside of pop music, which unfortunately got extinguished later...commercialism finally won over art

Pink Floyd:
Masters of psychedelic music...

Abba:
I really don't like Abba. But the arrangements for duophonic singing are stunning. ;)

Prince:
The rhythmical perfection in his music is striking. Groove and Timing become a sound color.

Film music:

B. Herrmann:
Maybe the film music that speaks most directly to me. Love his harmonic language.

J. Barry:
The James Bond sound became a trademark.
I still can't believe he got no credits for the Bond theme, which, in its original version is just creepy.

J. Goldsmith:
I really like the stylistic diversity in his scores.

H. Zimmer:
the master of catching and condensing the spirit of a film in a bespoke sound.
Also, in my opinion his sense for mixing electr(on)ic and acoustic sounds is unmatched by quite a distance (dark phoenix would be a perfect topic for a masterclass about hybrid scoring)

J. Beal:
That's something personal, in a certain way. But it raises my optimism in future film music that it's possible to use bitonality in the main theme of a commercial tv series. I think his scores are a major part of the magic of "house of cards"

That's a long list, and i'm sure i left out many...
 
Last edited:
Just a few (unsorted):


Consolidated
Neil Young
John Fahey
Fela Kuti
Waltari
Bela Bartok
Edvard Grieg
Pere Ubu
Franz Liszt
Frank Zappa
Miles Davis
Mike Oldfield
Caetano Veloso
Antônio Pinto
Ennio Morricone
 

Sears Poncho

Active Member
That, of course, is the "serious music" list<G>. I also have a list of composers for stage and screen. I think this is an entirely different discipline, maybe two entirely different disciplines? Other than focusing on live theatre the list is in no order whatsoever.
  • Leonard Bernstein
Interesting that you started with Lenny, because he could easily be in the "serious music" list as well. Wrote 3 Symphonies, 3 operas etc. Some of his concert pieces like the Serenade for Violin are decidedly "non-jazzy" and straight out of the 20th Century "classical" playbook. But he was Lenny. :)
 

TomislavEP

Active Member
Yes, the way he works is singular.
Even his keyboards are custom and sounds are activated using a strange system of switches with icons.
I once met one of his former orchestrator, he told me how strange and mesmerizing the guy is...
It is fascinating how much has Vangelis remained true to himself in every way, even today. Unlike other composers from his era, like Mike Oldfield and Jean-Michel Jarre, he had never really embraced computers and virtual instruments in his work, even though this custom performing / composing rig Vangelis uses nowadays represent a kind of "step in a modern direction" from his DaVinci-esque work environment that was Nemo Studios. But again, he sticks to his roots - even with the labelling system.
 

DarkestShadow

Senior Member
Easy... there is only one God for me... Thomas Bergersen! (although I haven't heard music of a single composer that sounds 100% 'perfect' in each track to me... not even God)
 

rottoy

Plebeian
Tom Waits
Patrick Doyle
Erich Wolfgang Korngold

and then a whole lot of Js:

James Newton Howard
James Horner
Joe Hisaishi
John Williams
John Barry
 

NYC Composer

Senior Member
While i think it is quite useless just to drop some names, i think it would be really interesting to mention some aspects you specifically admire in a composer's work.

To name some subjective views:

Classical composers:

J.S. Bach:
The perfection in his use of counterpoint isn't even nearly touched by any other composer.
His use of semantical codes (such as Passus duriusculus etc.) is spot on.
The use of the tonal material (scales, chromatic notes etc.) is incredibly stringent and adds to the organic feel of his music.

W. Mozart:
80% of his music sounds very similar to other composers of his time. However, then there are those magic moments; some bars with incredible harmonic details; or those small variations. And of course, there are themes and there are unforgettable themes. He did the latter ones...

L. Beethoven:
The architectural perfection that provides perfect acoustic organisms. His work with dualistic themes (specially in the sonata form) is unmatched.

F. Schubert:
His music transforms the weight of the human existence into sound.
His use of the tonal material (specially by extending tonality) is just incredible.

F. Mendelssohn:
For me, he's the composer who perfectly catched the feeling of spring - youth - nature...

J. Brahms:
His work with supporting motives (which include the use of different metrical units in different layers) is amazing.

F. Liszt:
Incredible textures for piano. His piano sonata alone is a compedium of pianistic techniques.

A. Bruckner:
Specially when considering that he started his "official" career as a composer at age 40, the vitality and energy in his orchestral works in overwhelming. Also the use of counterpoint creates fantastic moments (love the "Te Deum")

R. Strauss:
Probably the composer with the best inner hearing since Bach...
His orchestration - and specially the creativity in writing instrumental textures - is a pinnacle.

C. Debussy:
A big master of orchestration (same goes for M. Ravel) and also a composer with fantastic pianistic writing.

I. Stravinsky:
There is so much to mention: rhythm, orchestral colours, use of polytonality, etc.
My respect for the "Sacre du Printemps" grew with each ripoff of that piece that i heard. ;)

A. Berg:
Wrote the most organic transitions between different formal parts.
His piece "Altenberg-Lieder" still is the freshest atonal composition (in my opinion)

S. Rachmaninow:
Incredible pianistic writing. His 2nd piano concerto is the maybe the sweetest possible music.

S. Prokofjew:
Musical humor at its best.

D. Shostakowitch:
A true master of (slightly subversive) undertones.

G. Grisey:
The master of spectral music. Created wonderful new worlds of sound.

Pop music:

Claus Ogerman:
His arrangements for tracks like "Girl from Ipanema" etc. are unique.

Beatles:
Their later records are kind of a bible of pop music.
The use of spectacular sound colors opened up an area inside of pop music, which unfortunately got extinguished later...commercialism finally won over art

Pink Floyd:
Masters of psychedelic music...

Abba:
I really don't like Abba. But the arrangements for duophonic singing are stunning. ;)

Prince:
The rhythmical perfection in his music is striking. Groove and Timing become a sound color.

Film music:

B. Herrmann:
Maybe the film music that speaks most directly to me. Love his harmonic language.

J. Barry:
The James Bond sound became a trademark.
I still can't believe he got no credits for the Bond theme, which, in its original version is just creepy.

J. Goldsmith:
I really like the stylistic diversity in his scores.

H. Zimmer:
the master of catching and condensing the spirit of a film in a bespoke sound.
Also, in my opinion his sense for mixing electr(on)ic and acoustic sounds is unmatched by quite a distance (dark phoenix would be a perfect topic for a masterclass about hybrid scoring)

J. Beal:
That's something personal, in a certain way. But it raises my optimism in future film music that it's possible to use bitonality in the main theme of a commercial tv series. I think his scores are a major part of the magic of "house of cards"

That's a long list, and i'm sure i left out many...
You know, I really respect what Hans Zimmer does, but I’d be very curious to hear what he thinks about his inclusion in your list.
 

JPQ

Senior Member
My list maybe odd for this forum and i dont remember all:
Hans Zimmer some reasons but not all reasons. sounds and emotion level but composer i dont like same level.
John Williams
Antonio Vivaldi
Jean-Michel Jarre
Christopher Francke
Vangelis
Edward Grieg
Kraftwerk guys all of these who compose.
 
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