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I would rank Beethoven second to Bach. Whereas Mozart is very
pleasing, I don't think his music is as deep and profound as Beethoven.
Bach, Beethoven and Mozart.
In the fourth place I am inclined to place Wagner. However, his music
is bizarre at times. He can write a period of great beauty and
following it up with something unintelligible...
I believe in the Holy Trinity of three "B"'s:
Bach, the Father
Beethoven, the Son
Brahms, the Holy Spirit
One only needs to listen to Symphonies 1 and 2 by Brahms, to discern the
IMMENSE musical spirit of this man. It is not a coincidence his first symphony
is considered "the 10-th" of LVB, in terms of depth. But there are others.
Here's my list of favourites: Vivaldi (whose works were studied in detail by
JSB), Scarlatti (who has a tremedous output in sonatas), Rachmaninoff (whose
piano concertos are almost unplayable but beautiful), Mozart (whose Requiem
almost reaches the quality of the Master's music), Prokoviev, Tchaikovsky,
Mendelssohn, Mussorgsky, Wagner, Verdi (whose Overtures, Operas and Requiem
are fantasic), and Schumann (whose music has a different, deep and insane
quality to it) in no particular order.
I would ESPECIALLY note Mendelssohn, whose efforts revived the music of the
Master. And I would also put Carl-Philip-Emmanuel Bach in the list as well.
Being the son of Bach was no easy thing, and making the list after your father
has been the greatest, is one big achievement.
There are also many others, who achieve a great spirit only some times, but
nevertheless they are fascinating. Of course nobody comes close to the Master.
Every other composer's music is distinctly human. JSB's music is divine.
The best way to predict reality, is to know exactly what you DON'T want.