The classical station I listen to, KDFC, is doing a readers poll of their 40 favorite classical (symphonic) composers. They are now down to #6 and are just wrong. Of course, the starting list was wrong because it didn't include Virgil Thompson ("The River".) So here are my top ten:
10) John Williams (KDFC ranking, #13) Maybe he shouldn't be on the list. Perhaps he should be on pop rather than classical. But since he's on there list, he's on mine. Love "Star Wars", "Superman", "Schindler's List", the neglected "1941" and so many more. But nothing beats the "Raiders March".
9) Johann Strauss II (not yet listed on ranking) Because the Blue Danube takes me back to skating at the Sparky Schultz rink in Jr. High.
8) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (not yet ranked, must be top three) During the Disco era I bought an album of his music "Eine Kleine Nacht Fever".
7) Peter Tchaikosky (ranked #7 on KDFC list, WE HAVE A MATCH!) Love the cannons in the 1812, but my favorite is "Sleeping Beauty". Thank goodness Disney had the smarts to use it for the animated feature.
6) Johann Sebastian Bach (not yet listed) - Of course we are grateful for his fathering P.D.Q. Bach, along with so many others, but I truly appreciate the Godliness of his music. "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" is possibly the single most beautiful piece of music composed on this planet.
5) George Gershwin (ranked #11) - Okay, I probably have him here for "Someone to Watch Over Me" more than the "classical" pieces like "Rhapsody in Blue" (which I also love.) Sue me.
4) Felix Mendelssohn (ranked #15) - Love many of his works (like the Scottish) but he is here because of Symphony #5, the Reformation (which uses "A Mighty Fortress".) I'm a sucker for hymns and spirituals in compositions. (As can be seen in my next choice.)
3) Aaron Copland (ranked #18) - He brought vivid images to mind with his music, such as "Billy the Kid" and "Rodeo" but never better than "Appalachian Spring". (A cherished memory of torturing Kirk Nystrom with a Copland album I bought in Canada.)
2) George Frederick Handel (ranked a shockingly low #17) - Love the Fireworks and the Water, but when you're talking Handel, you're talking "The Messiah". Please stand.
1) Ludwig von Beethoveen (not yet ranked, but must be in top two) - I'm sure the droogs of "Clockwork Orange" agree with me. Sheer greatness we're talking here, in all the symphonies especially. Love the icon which is the 5th and the beauty of the chorus in th 9th, but the sense of humor of the 7th makes it my favorite.
So, I'll keep listening KDFC, though your readers are just wrong.