Finding Classical Music CDs by Composer
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There are a few one-hit wonders in the history of classical music, but great music is usually written by great composers -- people whose outputs contain dozens of masterpieces. We have chosen seven of the greatest and recommended ten CDs for each. If you enjoy a piece by any composer on our list, check out that composer's page to find more pieces you're bound to love.
We will be adding composer pages periodically, so if there's a composer not listed that you'd like to see here, please contact us with your recommendation.
- Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): A dutiful, godly man who is the undisputed king of Baroque counterpoint. Top works: Brandenburg Concertos, B minor Mass, Well-Tempered Clavier.
- Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809): Known as "father of the symphony" and "father of the string quartet," Haydn practically invented those two genres. Top works: "London" Symphonies, String Quartets Op. 76, Lord Nelson Mass.
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791): A child prodigy and mature genius who died tragically young, Mozart is the most popular composer ever. Top works: Symphonies 35-41, Piano Concertos 20-21, Requiem.
- Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): The genius with the fiery temperament and wild hair, Beethoven's symphonies, string quartets, and piano sonatas revolutionized classical music. Top works: Symphonies No. 3 ("Eroica"), No. 5, No. 9; Middle and Late String Quartets; "Moonlight" and "Pathétique" Piano Sonatas.
- Franz Schubert (1797-1828): A quiet man who in his last four years enjoyed one of the most concentrated bursts of creative genius the world has ever seen. Top works: "Unfinished" Symphony, "Death and the Maiden" String Quartet, String Quintet, Impromptus.
- Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901): A master of lyrical melody who single-handedly created a Golden Age of Italian opera. Top works: La Traviata, Aida, Rigoletto, Requiem
- Johannes Brahms (1833-1897): An intense perfectionist who looked to Mozart and Beethoven as his models, Brahms is widely regarded as the succesor to Beethoven. Top works: Piano Trio No. 1, Violin Concerto, Symphony No. 2, Clarinet Quintet.
- Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893): A highly emotional man whose intense feelings find expression in his music. Top works: Symphony No. 6, Piano Concerto No. 1, The Nutcracker.