The top 10 composers of all-time

Sebastian Bach


This week, Anthony Tommasini, the classical music critic of the New York Times, unveiled the culmination of his project to select the Top 10 composers of all-time. First of all, as someone who loves to rank things, I applaud the entire endeavor. Making arbitrary lists in this space isn’t that big a deal, because very few people read it. But doing it in the pages of the New York Times requires a certain amount of intellectual courage. Not only must you contend with people picking apart your arguments, but you must also contend with people picking apart the very concept of having the argument in the first place (best demonstrated by one of the comments that read, “Sorry, but top 10 lists should be beneath those who care about the arts.” Why do people think many classical music fans are uptight snobs?). A couple common criticisms emerged from Tommasini’s criteria: the limited stylistic range of composers (no pre-Baroque and no contemporary composers) and, much more elementally, the subjectivity of greatness. Continue reading

Something cool you might have missed: Le Chasseur Maudit

Cesar Franck

Either one of the finest musicians in the history of France or the leader of a renegade Polygamist sect in southern Utah circa 1910

Let me preface this post with another something cool you might have missed: this blog.  I actually displayed some competency on the GRE, although I was cruelly reminded that my cursive skills have eroded to the point of virtual non-existence since the 3rd grade.  I hope to be able to get back to contributing something here and there in this space now that things have somewhat settled back into a routine.  We shall see.  BTW, I don’t actually think this blog is cool, but I do think that the overwhelming majority of the world’s population has missed it if you incorporate all the dictionary definitions of that word.

Now then, to the music.

I remember first encountering Cesar Franck’s Le Chasseur Maudit as the filler on a disc with the Symphony in D minor, a piece I had only recently heard for the first time, on it.  I was a horn player, so the introductory section certainly appealed to me on some basic macho-horn level, but it quickly became one of my favorite pieces.  I listened to it a lot.  And then I just stopped listening to it.  I never thought about it.  And then I heard it again last week and was reminded why I loved it so damn much in the first place. Continue reading

Hiatus 2

I’ve been studying for the GRE for the better part of the last two months, which is why posts have mostly fallen off a cliff.  Take heart in the fact that while I’m not writing, I am displaying an embarrassing lack of skills at junior high school-level math.   Once my test is over (which will be this Thursday), I intend to kick back into something resembling a gear.  In the meantime, happy listening and cussing!

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 4,600 times in 2010. That’s about 11 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 29 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 48 posts. There were 9 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 577kb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was December 12th with 190 views. The most popular post that day was What should great music cost?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for gustav mahler, mahler, rejected, elijah, and fucked up shit.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


What should great music cost? December 2010


Something to listen to: Mahler – Symphony no. 2 ‘Resurrection’ — Manfred Honeck conducts the Pittsburgh Symphony March 2010
2 Likes on


10 Best: 5 Best: 20th-Century Operas May 2009


I Was At A Concert: Mendelssohn’s Elijah May 2009


I was at a concert: Opening night! October 2010