Belfast Telegraph

Johann Sebastian Bach named greatest composer of all time

No British composers made the top ten.

Bach has been named the best composer (John Stillwell/PA)
Bach has been named the best composer (John Stillwell/PA)

By Craig Simpson, PA

Johann Sebastian Bach has been named the greatest composer of all time.

The German Baroque figure has been voted top from a list of 50 musical masters for BBC Music Magazine.

Bach was renowned for his organ playing, use of fugue, and works including The Well-Tempered Clavier and the Brandenburg Concertos.

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart came fourth in the list (Royal Society)

No British composers made the top 10 list in the poll, which ranked Igor Stravinsky and Ludwig van Beethoven in second and third place – ahead of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Composer Unsuk Chin said of the result: “Bach’s music displays great emotions and fiery temperament, while being the highest conceivable summit of composition as an intellectual art.

“It is a synthesis of past music and the creations of his own time as well as a bold vision of the future.

“Up to Bach, musical works disappeared after a premiere or, at least, after a composer’s death. Bach was too grand to be ignored.”

Bach triumphed in a poll of 174 leading contemporary composers, who ranked their individual top five favourites based on originality, impact, craftsmanship, and enjoyability.

The result of the proposals from composers led to Bach coming out on top, and a list that spans musical history from the 12th century to the present day.

Oliver Condy, BBC Music Magazine editor, said: “The sheer breadth and depth of our top 50 list proves that today’s composers look to all countries, styles and centuries for inspiration.

“In gathering together 174 living composers for our poll, our Top 50 composer list turned out to be our most ambitious feature to date – and makes for fascinating reading.”

British composer Benjamin Britten narrowly missed out on the top 10, voted in at 11th place in the rankings.

The top 10 composers are:

1. Johann Sebastian Bach

2. Igor Stravinsky

3. Ludwig van Beethoven

4. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

5. Claude Debussy

6. Gyorgy Ligeti

7. Gustav Mahler

8. Richard Wagner

9. Maurice Ravel

10. Claudio Monteverdi

PA

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