Musical Influences – Composers

Beethoven — Because he was, is and will ever remain the Greatest Musical Craftsman. He set the Titan Standards of Excellence in Music. He conceptually, aesthetically and FUNDAMENTALLY changed music for the better. After he did his work, every composer that followed was compared to him as the “defining yardstick” to be measured against. However, it is my contention that to this day his work is still not fully appreciated for the towering achievement that it is.

Tchaikovski — Gorgeous melodies, thundering orchestration, a master of integrating musical concepts on a large scale second only to Beethoven.

Liszt — Wild, exciting, adventurous. Tough, angular melodies and harmonic structures. Also, a brilliant, although, underappreciated orchestrator.

Rachmaninoff — Thick, rich, beautiful melodies. But, even more impressive to me were the unbelievable and exciting ways he harmonically structured his music.

Joplin — The first American musical genius. A very unique voice. I always hear the logical progression from Chopin to Gershwin through Joplin. Fantastic modulations, I love that ragtime stuff!

Gershwin — Great, melodic showtunes; glorious melodies & harmonic structures. If that wasn’t enough, real genius also in his large scale works: Rhapsody in Blue, American in Paris, Concerto in F. That stuff gives me goosebumps. Wow! This guy understood RHYTHM to its core.

There are, of course, other composers that I admire to a lesser extent: Chopin, Stravinsky, Mahler, Haydn, Duke Ellington, Francisco Tarrega and some others. However, while I enjoy listening to some of their music and am in some cases influenced by them, I place them in a tier below my main list.

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