Composer wish list

November 12, 2013 at 04:22 AM · If you were at a party and all composers, living or no longer living, were present, who would you want to talk to first? I would make a beeline for Franz Josef Haydn.


November 12, 2013 at 07:32 PM · J.S. Bach - and I pray I won't sound like an idiot in his presence.

November 13, 2013 at 01:09 AM · 1. Bach 2. Mozart 3. Beethoven 4. Bruckner. I think I'd be afraid of all other composers.

November 13, 2013 at 08:55 AM · What a great question -and a wonderful opportunity. If only...

1. Mozart. I would love to get his opinion on performances of his music on modern instruments, and on what we class as 'period' performance. Particulary the symponies (he frequently requested bigger orchestras)as presented by Davis, Bernstein etc. and the piano concertos. We seem to be particularly rich in good Mozart players (Schiff, Perahiah, Uchida, Lupu,etc.) and it would be fascinating to get his views on what they do. And on the music which has been written since his time. And on the modern piano..... get him to play something..... dream on...

2 Beethoven - to thank him for his string quartets particularly - for me perhaps the greatest body of music in existence. And to see if he was really serious about some of his metronome marks! And what tempi did he really want....

3 Sir Max (Peter Maxwell Davies). Terrific musical intellect - but I would have to think of the questions I would like to ask in advance - be prepared!

4. Anton Bruckner. Thanks for the music etc. And with hindsight what are his thoughts on the various editions of his symphonies - were they the result of his own convictions, or coercion from his possibly misguided admirers? And what does he think of the various 'completions' of his 9th symphony? Could he finish it for us?

I'm sure there are lots more, but this is what springs to mind at the moment.

November 13, 2013 at 09:46 AM · montiverdi, bach

November 13, 2013 at 06:40 PM · G. F. Handel.: Baroque era but how did you hear so many beautiful unexpectedly modern melodies.

November 14, 2013 at 05:45 AM · Bach, more Bach, more Bach, Handel, Sibelius, Dvorak, and many others. But probably that order. It would be such an amazing thing, to be able to meet those people!!!

November 14, 2013 at 01:45 PM · Only one answer possible: Jean-Baptiste Lully. A chancer & a bighead, but the life & soul of the party.

November 14, 2013 at 02:34 PM · Brahms, Paganini, and how can one rule out Berlioz.

November 14, 2013 at 08:10 PM · Jean-Philippe Rameau

Fran├žois Couperin

November 14, 2013 at 09:38 PM · Music-wise, I am with you, Pavel. But they do say that Rameau had no personality - 'when he had shut the piano lid, there was nobody at home!'

November 15, 2013 at 02:07 AM · Marty, what do you think would scare you about Mendelssohn and Max Bruch? And I would quite like to have met Borodin, founder of a medical course for women 10 years before anything similar existed in the UK and first observer of the Borodin-Hunsdiecker reaction of bromine with a silver carboxylate.

Two composers I WOULD be scared to meet are Henry VIII (except on his deathbed) and Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus.

The composers I have met are/were all quite personable (except possiby Sir Malcolm Arnold - but then I didn't really meet him, I only played under his baton, at a time when his behaviour was approaching the unacceptable period - They replaced him with Trevor Harvey for subsequent courses).

November 15, 2013 at 03:25 AM · Hard to imagine what Beethoven's personality must have been like, but from his published letters, he was so absorbed in his compositional skills that I doubt meeting him in person would be an enlightening experience!

Most definitely Paganini, larger-than-life, practically an action-hero. Tchaikovsky, because his symphonic works are pure magic. I would like to meet Schubert...just to inform him that all his efforts were not in vain and after his passing he will indeed be acknowledged as one of the greatest ever.

November 15, 2013 at 08:08 PM · Is this my first post here? It'll be a short one: Brahms. I read somewhere that his name was originally something plainer: Johann Brun or something similar, more or less equivalent to "John Brown."

November 15, 2013 at 08:51 PM · John Cage.

That would obviate the need for any kind of conversation.

November 16, 2013 at 12:03 AM · John Minnich, That's the first I've heard of it, but if it were true it would leave Penny as the only genuine Brahms (That is, if even she was/is a genuine Brahms).

I'd quite like to meet him also - He's one of my favourite composers to play. Tchaikovsky is on record as saying something like he hadn't expected to like Brahms on the basis of his music, but on meeting him did so.

P.S. Penny Brahms would not be the only one - I forgot about Caryl Brahms.

November 18, 2013 at 11:53 AM · First on my list would be Bach. Then Mozart (as much as I love his music, I'm not sure our personalities would be too compatible -- I'm pretty bad at billiards).

I think Vivaldi would be somewhere on the list, but my Italian is dreadful.

Thinking about this topic led me to wonder: why on earth would great composers want to talk with me? Unless... they wanted to lay bets on what would would happen in the future. :-)

November 19, 2013 at 09:41 AM · Ellie, what was it about Anna Magdalena Bach that prompted you to omit her?

November 20, 2013 at 01:03 AM · May this be the greatest embarrassment either of us suffers!

November 22, 2013 at 04:41 PM · Very different one each other but...

Bach and Conlon Nancarrow

November 29, 2013 at 09:37 PM · Which Bach, Andres?

November 30, 2013 at 02:23 AM · I think Mozart would be the best party animal! He liked to go out and have fun. Beethoven probably had the least social skills.

Not at the party, but in private, I would like to show Mozart the many cadenzas I've written for respective pieces of his and ask him his opinion. Even if he thought they stink, I think I'd be honored. The same with some cadenzas I've written for Beethoven, Brahms, Viotti, Tartini, etc. I'd also like to meet Gesualdo. He wrote the wildest harmonies. But I'd better not get caught looking at his wife!

November 30, 2013 at 02:37 AM · Charles Ives, hands down.

November 30, 2013 at 05:15 AM · Ho! Sorry John. You are right. Johan Sebastian of course. I like music of JS son Johan Christian as well, but the father (JS) is in my very shor list of composers that I admire for their immense genius.

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