What is your favorite classical composer and why?

Bach, Debussy, Ravel, Schönberg, Berg, Webern, Stravinsky, Boulez are the ones i have a stack of albums and probably define my “classic” taste (I’m not going to discuss the term now).

I am far from being a connoisseur of classical music.I listen purely with the limbic system. I have listened a lot across the board in albums and know that it is worth listening to modern compositions at least. If I like it, I buy it. Other epochs are not my thing.

I like baroque, Bach especially (Johann Sebastian), after that it doesn’t work for me with a few exceptions until it starts again with Debussy and Ravel.I find Mozart awful (exception: the requiem, which I find great again), Beethoven boring. There are exceptions, of course. I love Chopin’s Nocturnes.(My favorite piano music is Debussy again, more specifically the recordings by Benedetti Michelangeli, which for me worlds hover over others. Only Tam’s Véséry’s interpretation of “Clair de Lune” – which Benedetti, I think, never recorded? – achieves the same quality for me.) For me, the 19th century is practically ticked off.

Often I only like individual things that I might hear or get recommended by chance.Then I only have an album by a composer or a thematic album with a piece of my taste on it.

I like certain moods and sound combinations,flute and piano for example, Debussy’s sonata for flute, viola and piano is a prime example.Chamber music generally prefers to be orchestral. Cello solo recording has it easy with me. Behaviour alders and romantic music (from the mood!), dark music is very important to me, but Bombast I don’t like at all. Wagner is an abomination to me, but only for that reason. (Well, and because he was an unbearable anti-Semithon, of course.) Harmonic openness excites me. I hate it when I know after two bars how the play goes on. (Did I mention Beethoven?)

I have a few albums from Arvo Pärt, but actually (or now) it is too pleasing for me, so very mood-dependent.Barber, Gorecki, Chaikovsky (yes, the “Swan Lake” …), Ligeti (Atmosphéres, Lux Aeterna), Satie (piano pieces), in Berio I listened a bit, “Laborintus II” with Mike Patton I think great, but I also have a recording with a German Ensemble that completely resists.(Sorry.) The narrator’s performance is crucial here. I like Steve Reich, but not everything, and Reich is definitely better with psychoactive tools.”Tehillim” is probably my favorite at the moment. I might prefer Terry Riley here.

Some time ago I discovered Kaija Saariaho, a recent Finnish composer whose chamber works I like very much (with flute …). In general, I listen to everything that the Swiss label Hat Hut Records releases.”Contemporary Music”. The composers are usually less well known, but so-called “new music” is probably my thing.

Right now I’m listening to the film music of Toru Takemitsu to Kurosawa’s “Ran”.

How Takemitsu plays with silence and with breaks is something I generally like about new music and also about Japanese music (Shakuhachi recording).Takemitsu circumnavigates Hollywood quite well. And where I am at film music: The film music of the Schönberg student Leonard Rosenman for “The Fantastic Journey” has made a significant contribution to opening me up to newer concert music.

Leave a Reply