Vincent Kars

WBF Technical Expert: Computer Audio
Jul 1, 2010
I pity those who listen to pop music only.
Whatever we take as the starting point, the Harlem R&B or the Rock&Roll, it is only 60 years of composing.

We, lover of classical music can choose from 400 years of composing!
(no, I don’t think the music from the middle ages belong to classical, it is as simple hence as boring as pop music :p )
The funny thing is, although we have a tremendous repertoire to choose from, we often listen to the same composers; Monteverdi, Bach (JS of course), Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Mahler and a few more.
Why settle for less if you have these giants?

Over the years I started listening to the second echelon.
By and large due to a friend who knows every nook and cranny of classical.

A couple I would like to mention.

Alkan, Charles-Valentin (1813-1888)
A virtuoso pianist himself, his compositions often labor on the virtuoso.
Hence technical challenging so often the performance has a “look at me, how brilliant I am” character.

12 Etudes d'orgue pour les pieds seulement by Kevin Boyer
Indeed an church organ played with the feet only.
Some crackpot compositions.

Esquisses by Steve Osborne
Exquisite indeed.

Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel (1714-1788)

Bach is Johan Sebastian is baroque
As I’m not a big fan of the baroque (very formal) I never paid attention to CPE
His music is totally different from his father. An exponent of the “classical” period instead of the baroque.
Lively, spiritual, free from the formal constrains of the baroque

My favorite CPE: Triosonaten by Richard Egarr, London Baroque.

Hummel, Johann Nepomuk (1778-1837)
There you are, writing excellent compositions in the shadow of that mount Everest called Beethoven
I like the piano sonatas as played by Stephen Hough

Onslow, George (1784-1853)
Called the French Beethoven and totally forgotten.
A composition I like very much are the sonatas Op.16 as played by Ilia Korol and Norbert Zeilberger

Vitali, Tomaso Antonio (1663-1745)
Anyone know this guy?

His Chaconne in G-m as played by Clematis is high on “what to play on my funeral list”

Soler, Padre Antonio (1729-1783)
As fierce as you can expect from a Spanish composer.
Listen to recording by Elena Riu or Vestard Shimkus
Can’t get enough? There is the complete recording by Bob van Asperen.

Stamitz, Johann (1717-1757)
Richter, Franz Xaver (1709-1789)

I mention them both as they are on an excellent performance by the New Dutch Academy

Enough esoteric composers :)

Kal Rubinson

Well-Known Member
May 5, 2010
Vitali, Tomaso Antonio (1663-1745)
Anyone know this guy?

His Chaconne in G-m as played by Clematis is high on “what to play on my funeral list”
Have you heard the Heifetz/Elsasser version? Fantastic.

And where is Biber?



Member Sponsor
Feb 21, 2011
wtOMitMutb NH
How about
Complete Villa-Lobos Choros and Bachianas Brasileiras
Course they may not be fierce or old enough ;)

Kal Rubinson

Well-Known Member
May 5, 2010


[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
Manila, Philippines
While most of Russia's The Five and their humble beginnings eventually got elevated, how about France's Les Six? :)

Poulanc is one of my favorites. Their work is 20th century so might be too new for VK.
May 25, 2010
SF Bay Area
Two smaller LP labels that are audiophile icons have introduced many great composers from their respective countries.

The first is Richard Itter's Lyrita which has brought to the public many obscure British composers, and in stereo with the great Decca engineers. Alwyn, Arnold, Bax, Bliss, Hoddinott (Welsh) Ireland, Morean, Rawsthorne and many others along with a scattering of works from the modern British big three: Elgar, Holst and Vaughan Williams. Some have been released on CD's.

The second is Mercury, which mixed in a large number of lesser known American composers with the the standard European and US (Gershwin, Copland) heavy hitters. Again in great sound and in very fine CD reissues.



Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
Very interesting thread ..

a few comes to mind ... most of them French ...

Darius Milhaud

At the price and the quality of music you can't be wrong


Francis Poulenc If as not as better known as I perceive him to be, an incredible historical oversight. His music is not good, it is great. this set from Amazon at the bargain price of $50 is a requirement for any lover of Classical Music:

71rLrVfDIHL._SL1500_.jpg ... The interesting part is that he was present in some of those sessions even playing in one of these.

Cesar Franck (Technically from Belgium but worked most of his life in Paris so ... mostly a Frenchman :) ). I recomend this CD/SACD .. And you get additionally Stravinsky's Petrouchka ...

Charles Ives ( American)



Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
[Roughly] in order of time/era:

- Purcell - pre-dates Bach by 50-100 years; not as mathematical, cerebral and perfectly balanced as Bach perhaps but you can sense some really old roots in classical music

- Boccherini - lite baroque-style music...and lots of it, a truly prolific writer of small ensemble music

- CPE Bach - Son of JS Bach...more the style of Haydn/Mozart...successful in his own right if not the historical recognition of his father

- Scarlatti - brilliant piano works...I enjoy Michael Pletnev version of his piano works (for which Scarlatti is best known and which i studied years ago when studying piano) as much as I enjoy Glenn Gould's Bach Variations or Ivan Moravec's Chopin Nocturnes

- Mendelssohn - people think of him for his wedding music...but his symphonies are truly excellent imho

- Massenet - French Romantic Era - beautiful, rich, lush but not as dark as Russian romanticism

- Mussorgsky - Rich Russian romanticism - Pictures at an Exhibition - say no more...Tugan Sokhiev my favourite version

- All for now...

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