The 5 Greatest Neo Classical Music Composers of All Time
We all know and love classical music, but who are the greatest neo classical composers of all time? Here are our top 5 picks!
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Brandenburg Concertos and the Goldberg Variations, and for vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Bach was born in Eisenach, in the duchy of Saxe-Eisenach, into a musical family. He was the last child of Johann Ambrosius Bach, who probably taught him to play the violin and harpsichord, and likely introduced him to the world of professional music.
Life and work
Johann Sebastian Bach was born on March 21, 1685, in Eisenach, Germany. His father, Ambrosius Bach, was a trumpeter and court musician who served the dukes of Saxe-Eisenach. Young Johann Sebastian received his first musical instruction from his father and older brothers. By the time he was 10, both his parents had died, and he went to live with his eldest brother, Johann Christoph Bach, who taught him keyboard and organ. At 15, Johann Sebastian entered the choir school at St. Michael’s Monastery in Lüneburg (now in Germany). He remained there until 1703.
In 1703 Bach was appointed court organist and concertmaster to Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen. There he wrote some of his most beautiful works for solo violin and cello (the so-called Suites), as well as many secular cantatas for voices and instruments. In 1708 he married Maria Barbara Kelchner; they had seven children. After her death in 1720 he married Anna Magdalena Wilcke, a singer at the court of Weimar; they had 13 children together. In 1717 Bach was appointed Kapellmeister (music director) to Prince Augustus of Saxe-Weissenfels; four years later he returned to Cöthen as court Kapellmeister to Prince Leopold (now Leopold I), where he remained until 1723.
In 1723 Bach was appointed Cantor of the principal church (Thomaskirche) at Leipzig and music director of the city’s five principal churches (Collegium Musicum). The following year saw the composition of his sacred oratorio The Resurrection of Christ (BWV 244). From then on until his death in 1750, despite failing eyesight that eventually left him blind, Bach worked ceaselessly composing some of the greatest works in all musical literature—among them The Passion According to St Matthew (BWV 244a), The Passion According to St John (BWV 245), Easter Oratorio (BWV 249), Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248), four large-scale Passions for Eastertide, many motets and cantatas—more than 200 in all—and more than 50 settings of the Lutheran Mass. He also wrote chamber music, concertos for one to four harpsichords, over 200 keyboard pieces including the great 48 Preludes and Fugues (The Well-Tempered Clavier) among them; and orchestral works such as the five Brandenburg Concertos and several suites.
Johann Sebastian Bach was a prolific and highly influential composer of the Baroque era. He is known for his instrumental works, including the Brandenburg Concertos and the Goldberg Variations, as well as for his choral works, such as the Mass in B Minor.
In addition to his work as a composer, Bach was also a skilled organist and harpsichordist. He spent most of his career working in churches in and around Germany, and he frequently gave public concerts. His music was highly respected by his contemporaries, and he influenced many subsequent composers.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Mozart was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many of which are widely acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music. He is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers, and his influence is profound on subsequent Western art music.
Life and work
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27, 1756, in Salzburg, Austria. His father, Leopold Mozart, a noted composer, instructor, and the author of famous textbooks on violin playing, was then in the service of Prince-Archbishop Schrattenbach. Young Mozart received his first musical instruction from his father. These earliest lessons for which we have any record were in harmony and counterpoint; and though there is no evidence that he was particularly precocious as a child prodigy—the famous story of his playing before the Prince-Archbishop at the age of three is almost certainly apocryphal—he evidently developed rapidly under his father’s disciplined but loving care. He composed his first works by the age of five years.
Mozart’s first great original work was his Symphony No. 25 in G minor, which he composed in October 1764 on commission from the Archbishop of Salzburg. At the time, Mozart was only eight years old. The piece, which was probably influenced by Johann Christian Bach’s recently composed Symphony Op. 6 No. 6, was an immediate success and earned Mozart the title “The miracle of note” from his father.
Mozart’s next great work was his Symphony No. 29 in A major, which he composed in May 1768. The piece is notable for its highly innovative opening theme and for being one of the first works in which Mozart made effective use of the piccolo, an instrument that would become increasingly important in his later works.
In 1770, Mozart composed his Symphony No. 31 in D major, also known as the “Paris” Symphony. The work is notable for its distinctive French flavor, something that Mozart would explore further in his later works such as his operas Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni.
Mozart’s next great work was his Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, which he composed in 1775. The work is widely regarded as one of the greatest violin concertos ever written and is still performed frequently today by some of the world’s most celebrated violinists.
Finally, in 1788, Mozart composed his requiem mass in D minor, one of his most famous works and a lasting tribute to the composer’s genius.
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers. His best-known compositions include 9 symphonies, 5 piano concertos, 1 violin concerto, 32 piano sonatas, 16 string quartets, his great Mass the Missa solemnis, and one opera, Fidelio.
Life and work
Ludwig van Beethoven (baptized 17 December 1770 – 26 March 1827) was a German composer and pianist, who is arguably the defining figure in the history of Western music.
Born in Bonn to a family of Flemish origins, Beethoven displayed his musical talents at an early age and was taught by Christian Gottlob Neefe, the Court Organist. At the age of 21 he moved to Vienna, where he began studying composition with Joseph Haydn and gained a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. He lived in Vienna until his death.
By his late twenties his hearing began to deteriorate, and by the last decade of his life he was almost completely deaf. Despite this he composed some of his greatest works during this time, including his symphonies No. 5 and No. 9, and did so using conversation books with friends because he could no longer hear their spoken words.
In 1814 Beethoven premiered his opera Fidelio, which was poorly received but has since come to be regarded as one of his greatest works. His final years were marked by declining health; he continued to compose many masterpieces despite being increasingly debilitated by gout, colic and various other afflictions. He died in Vienna on 26 March 1827 at the age of 56.
Beethoven is widely regarded as one of history’s greatest composers, and personal circumstances have done little to dim that reputation; indeed they may have even added to it over time as a story of human triumph over adversity.
Ludwig van Beethoven composed many great works that are staples of the classical music repertoire. Here are some of his most famous compositions:
-Symphony No. 5 in C Minor
-Symphony No. 9 in D Minor (“Choral”)
-Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-Flat Major (“Emperor”)
-Violin Concerto in D Major
-Missa Solemnis in D Minor
Franz Schubert was an Austrian composer who was born in 1797. He is best known for his works including “Symphony No. 9 in C Major” and “Ave Maria”. He was a prolific composer and wrote over 600 songs. Many of his works were not published until after his death.
Life and work
Franz Schubert (31 January 1797 – 19 November 1828) was an Austrian composer of the late Classical and early Romantic eras. Despite his short lifetime, Schubert left a considerable oeuvre, including more than 600 secular vocal works (mainly Lieder), seven complete symphonies, sacred music, operas, incidental music and a large body of piano and chamber music. His major works include the Piano Quintet in A major, D.667 (Trout Quintet), the Symphony No. 9 in C major, D.944 (the Great), and the three last piano sonatas (D.958–960), which are frequently cited as among the greatest works of the early Romantic era.
Born in Himmelpfortgrund to Maria-Theresia Jordaenscook) and Franz Theodor Floris Schubert, a schoolteacher, in later life Schubert’s family became very poor and thus could not afford to send him to school regularly; consequently he was mostly self-educated. His father taught him basic violin technique, and his brother Ignaz gave him piano lessons. The boy seemed to catch on quickly to instruments; however he always showed more interest in composition than performing. In 1808 his father died unexpectedly at Kremsmunster due to severe liver damage after being stabbed in a street fight. Consequently, Schubert’s schooling ended abruptly after his father’s death; he was sent back home to live with his father’s widow and stepfather. His stepfather Johann Baptist Raidl taught him grammar, catechism, geography, and introduced him to literature. He also played organ occasionally in functions at church.
Franz Schubert wrote a large body of work during his short lifetime. His output consists of six completed operas, seven symphonies (including the famous “Unfinished Symphony”), liturgical music, incidental music, over 600 secular vocal works (mainly Lieder), and a large body of piano and other chamber music. Among his most famous works are stand-alone lieder settings of poems by Goethe, Schiller, and Byron; the song-cycles Winterreise and Die schöne Müllerin; the “Great” C major Symphony Symphony No. 9 in C major (D 944); the three last piano sonatas (D 958–960); the well-known “Ave Maria” (Ellens dritter Gesang D 839); his setting of Psalm 23; the overture in E flat major to Rosamunde, Fürstin von Zypern; and the “Grand Duo Concertant” for violin and piano in D major (D 574).
Schubert’s first opera was Die Zauberharfe, a Singspiel in two acts with a libretto by Jakob Großmann. It was composed in 1815 when he was only eighteen years old but was not performed until five years later. The next two operas were Die Freunde von Salamanka and Claudine von Villabella, both one-act operas with libretti by Großmann. They were composed in 1816 but not performed until 1817, when they were presented together withDie Zauberharfe under the overall title Schuberts Opern dergrossen Welt.
Although these early operas are interesting curiosities, it is with Schubert’s first full-length opera,Fierrabras, that his real achievement in the genre begins. Composed in 1823 to a libretto by Josef Kupelwieser that is based on a medieval sequence of chivalric romances known as The Matter of France,Fierrabras was not performed during Schubert’s lifetime.
Felix Mendelssohn was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period. Mendelssohn’s compositions include symphonies, concertos, oratorios, piano music and chamber music. He was born into a prominent Jewish family in Hamburg, Germany, the grandson of the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn.
Life and work
Felix Mendelssohn was born on February 3, 1809 in Hamburg, Germany. His father, Abraham Mendelssohn, was a successful banker. His grandfather, Moses Mendelssohn, was a famous philosopher. His family was Jewish, but they were avowed atheists. Mendelssohn’s parents were determined to give their children the best education possible. They had private tutors for their children and sent them to the best schools.
Mendelssohn showed an early interest in music and he began taking piano lessons when he was six years old. He also took lessons in composition and harmony from the age of nine. He composed his first symphony when he was just thirteen years old. In 1825, he completed his greatest work to date – an oratorio called “St. Paul”. It received rave reviews and established Mendelssohn as a leading composer of his generation.
Mendelssohn continued to compose prolifically throughout his life. He wrote symphonies, concertos, operas, chamber music, and vocal music. He also worked as a conductor and a pianist. He helped revive interest in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel. In 1829, he conducted a now-famous performance of Bach’s “St Matthew Passion” – a work that had been forgotten for nearly a century.
Mendelssohn married Cecilia Juvenina in 1837. They had five children together. Mendelssohn died suddenly of a stroke on November 4, 1847 at the age of 38.
Some of Felix Mendelssohn’s most important works include “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Elijah,” “Scottish Symphony,” “Italian Symphony,” and “Songs Without Words.” He also wrote a number of solo piano pieces, chamber music, and religious works.