Absolutely You Need to Know These Famous Classical Music Composers
The most famous classical music composers worked during the last 600 years in the Western tradition. They differ in style, skill, innovation, and popularity, and nothing has sparked a more heated debate among classical music scholars and fans than determining which composer was most important.
Three classical music composers who always appear in the top positions are Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart. Scholars and enthusiasts vary, but those listed below are often considered the most significant.
The following are famous classical music composers:
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827)
German composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven is widely regarded as the greatest composer who ever lived. He expanded on the Classical tradition of Joseph Haydn, one of his teachers, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and experimented with personal expression, characteristics which influenced the Romantic composers who succeeded him.
His life and career were marked by progressive deafness, but the disease did not prevent him from composing some of his most important works during the last 10 years of his life when he could barely hear. Expanding the scope of sonatas, symphonies, concertos and quartets, Beethoven’s notable works include Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125, Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67, Moonlight Sonata, and Für Elise.
Beethoven – Symphony No. 5
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and organist of the Baroque period. His contemporaries admired him for his talent as a musician but considered his compositions old-fashioned. The rediscovery of his work in the early 19th century led to the so-called renaissance of Bach, in which he is later seen as one of the greatest composers of all time. His best-known compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, The Well-Tempered Clavier, BWV 846–893, Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, BWV 1007–1012, Orchestral Suites, BWV 1066–1069, and Mass in B Minor, BWV 232.
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J.S.Bach – The Well Tempered Clavier
Komposer Musik Klasik Bach – Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 (Allegro-Adagio)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–91)
An Austrian composer of the Classical period, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is widely recognized as one of the greatest composers of Western music. He is the only composer to write and excel in all musical genres of his time. Reportedly capable of playing music by the age of three and writing music by the age of five, Mozart began his career as a child prodigy. Notable compositions include The Marriage of Figaro, Elvira Madigan, and the Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K 581.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Symphony No.40 in G Minor K.550 – (1) Molto Allegro
Rondo Alla Turca
Mozart The Magic Flute
Johannes Brahms (1833–97)
Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist of the Romantic period, but he was more of a student of the Classical tradition. He wrote in many genres, including symphonies, concertos, chamber music, piano pieces, and choral compositions, many of which reveal folk music influences. Some of his most famous works include Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Wiegenlied, Op. 49, No. 4, and Hungarian Dance.
Johannes Brahms – Hungarian Dance N°5
Richard Wagner (1813–83)
German composer and theorist Richard Wagner expanded on operatic traditions and revolutionized Western music. His dramatic compositions are especially noted for his use of leit motifs, brief musical motifs for characters, places, or events, which he skillfully transforms throughout. Among his major works are the operas The Flying Dutchman, Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, Tristan and Isolde, Parsifal, and the tetralogy The Ring of the Nibelung, which includes The Valkyrie. One of the most controversial figures in classical music, his work transcends his character, defined by his megalomaniac tendencies and anti-Semitic views.
Wagner – The Ride of the Valkyrie
Claude Debussy (1862–1918)
French composer Claude Debussy is often considered the father of modern classical music. Debussy developed new and complex musical structures and harmonies that evoke comparisons with the art of his contemporary Impressionist and Symbolist painters and writers. His major works include Clair de lune, La Mer, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, and the opera Pelléas et Mélisande.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–93)
Writing music with broad emotional appeal during the Romantic period, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky became one of the most popular Russian composers of all time. He was educated in Western European traditions and assimilated elements from French, Italian and German music to personal and Russian styles. Some of his most famous works were composed for ballet, including Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker, Op. 71, but they also included Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, Op. 23 and Marche Slave, Op. 31.
Tchaikovsky – Swan Lake
Frédéric Chopin (1810–49)
Frédéric Chopin was a Polish French composer and pianist of the Romantic period. He was one of the few composers to devote himself to a single instrument, and his sensitive approach to the keyboard allowed him to take full advantage of the piano’s resources, including innovations in fingering and pedaling. As such, he is primarily known for writing music for piano, most notably Nocturne, Op. 9 No. 2 in E-flat Major, Nocturne in C-sharp Minor, B. 49, and Heroic Polonaise.
Chopin – Polonaise in A, Op.40 No.1, “Military”
Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741)
Antonio Vivaldi was an Italian composer and violinist from the Baroque period. He wrote music for operas, solo instruments, and small ensembles, but he is often celebrated for his concerts, in which virtuoso solo parts alternate with parts for entire orchestras. He wrote some 500 concertos, of which his best-known work is a group of four violin concertos entitled The Four Seasons. His Mandolin Concerto in C Major, RV 425, Concerto for Four Violins and Cello in B Minor, Op. 3, No. 10 and Concerto for Two Trumpets in C Major are both fun and complex.
Four Seasons – Komposer Musik Klasik Vivaldi
Antonio Vivaldi – Storm
Richard Strauss (1864–1949)
His full name was Richard Georg Strauss, (born June 11, 1864, Munich, Germany — died September 8, 1949, Garmisch-Partenkirchen), an outstanding German Romantic composer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His symphonic poetry of the 1890s and his operas of the following decades have remained indispensable features of the standard repertoire.
Johann Strauss II – The Blue Danube Waltz Op. 314
Joseph Haydn (1732–1809)
Austrian composer Joseph Haydn was one of the most important figures in the development of the Classical musical style during the 18th century.
He helped shape the form and style for the string quartet and symphony. Haydn was a prolific composer, and some of his best-known works include Symphony No. 6, Symphony No. 92 in G Major, Emperor Quartet, and Cello Concerto No. 2 in D Major. His compositions are often characterized as light, witty and elegant.
String Quartet in C
Jacques Offenbach (1819–1880)
Offenbach was a German-born French composer, cellist, and impresario of the Romantic period. He is best remembered for his nearly 100 operettas from the 1850s to the 1870s and his unfinished opera The Tales of Hoffmann.
He was a strong influence on later composers of the operetta genre, notably Johann Strauss, Jr. and Arthur Sullivan. His best works were continually revived during the 20th century and many of his operettas continue to be performed in the 21st. The Tales of Hoffman remain part of the standard opera repertoire.
Ofenbach French Can Can
Johann Pachelbel (1653–1706)
He was a German composer and organist (organist) of the Baroque period, born 1 September 1653 in Nuremberg and died in the same city on 3 March 1706.
All of Pachelbel’s work is in a very simple style. His organ compositions show a knowledge of Italian forms passed down from Girolamo Frescobaldi to Johann Jakob Froberger. Particularly noteworthy was his chorale prelude, which played a major role in establishing the melodies of a north German Protestant choir in the more lyrical musical setting of the Catholic south.
His popular Canon Pachelbel was written for three violins and is continuous and is followed by a performance of the score in the same key. His son, Wilhelm Hieronymous Pachelbel, was also an organist and composer.
How did the Canon in D become a wedding song?
This work became a favorite song composition at weddings, but in fact, not much is known about Pachelbel’s most famous work. We don’t even know exactly when it was made, although it is thought to be around 1680. There are some unsubstantiated claims; that the music was written for the wedding of Bach’s brother, Johann Christoph, on 23 October 1694, but this is highly unlikely.
The Canon’s popularity snowballed in the 1970s, after French conductor Jean-François Paillard made a recording. Since then, the music has been recorded hundreds of times, and the iconic harmony has made its way into pop songs, films, and adverts.
But even before the public got hold of the piece, classical composers knew Pachelbel was on to a good thing – Handel, Haydn, and Mozart all used the iconic bass line in some of their compositions in the following years.
Pachelbel – Canon In D Major