The Great Composers

No one likes to arrive too early at a party. There’s no one to talk to and nowhere to hide. You can’t leave without being conspicuously rude.  In due course you find yourself talking about car insurance (or worse still, Brexit) with other new arrivals. Of course, there’s the decor to look at (paintings you don’t much like) and there’s the buffet, tempting but as yet untouchable.

As hosts, though, we’re always grateful to those who arrive early and get things going.

New social networks have a hard time too. What’s the point of joining if no one’s there?

In gigglemusic, our new social network for classical musicians, we try to solve that problem by offering new users content that doesn’t depend on the community being large. We’ve uploaded the schedules of major classical music venues around the world (for the moment mainly opera houses).

We’ve also entered the ‘diaries’ of the world’s greatest composers – well, the greatest composers writing within the Western tradition or having some significant influence on it. By their diaries I mean their dates and places of birth and death (though many are still alive and kicking) and the dates and places of the first performances of their major works. Almost all of this comes from Wikipedia.

It may be a bit like trainspotting, but I, for one, find it mildly interesting to know where this or that masterpiece was first performed, and when.

To review a composer’s diary, start with People, open a profile, tap Diary and then scroll up to go back in time. Tap on an individual work to find out more. There’s usually a Wikipedia article to link to.


But who are the world’s greatest composers?

There’s no ideology behind the selection I’ve made, and no conscious exclusions (I’ve even included Carl Orff). They’re just the first 292 composers who came to mind, and for whom there was also a Wikipedia entry. I’m sure the assiduous researcher will detect unconscious bias, but if you do, please tell me who I’ve missed. There’s room for nearly everyone in gigglemusic.

Adam (Adolphe)
Adams (John)
Adès (Thomas)
Albeniz (Isaac)
Albinoni (Tomaso)
Alwyn (William)
Arne (Thomas)
Arnold (Malcolm)
Auric (Georges)
Bach (Carl Philipp Emanuel)
Bach (Johann Sebastian)
Balakirev (Mily)
Barber (Samuel)
Bartok (Bela)
Bax (Arnold)
Beach (Amy)
Beamish (Sally)
Beethoven (Ludwig van)
Bellini (Vincenzo)
Bennett (Richard Rodney)
Berg (Alban)
Berio (Luciano)
Berkeley (Lennox)
Berkeley (Michael)
Berlioz (Hector)
Berners (Gerald (Lord))
Bernstein (Leonard)
Berwald (Franz)
Birtwistle (Harrison)
Bizet (Georges)
Bliss (Arthur)
Blitzstein (Marc)
Bloch (Ernst)
Blow (John)
Bologne (Joseph)
Borodin (Alexander)
Boulanger (Lili)
Boulanger (Nadia)
Boulez (Pierre)
Bowen (York)
Bozza (Eugene)
Brahms (Johannes)
Brian (Havergal)
Bridgetower (George)
Britten (Benjamin)
Bruch (Max)
Bruckner (Anton)
Bush (Alan)
Busoni (Ferrucio)
Butterworth (George)
Buxtehude (Dietrich)
Cage (John)
Canteloube (Joseph)
Carter (Elliot)
Chabrier (Emmanuel)
Chagrin (Francis)
Chaminade (Cécile)
Charpentier (Gustave)
Chausson (Ernest)
Cherubini (Luigi)
Chopin (Frédéric)
Cilea (Francesco)
Cimarosa (Domenico)
Clarke (Rebecca)
Clementi (Muzio)
Coleridge-Taylor (Samuel)
Copland (Aaron)
Corelli (Arcangelo)
Cornelius (Peter)
Couperin (Francois)
Cui (César)
Czerny (Carl)
Dallapiccola (Luigi)
Debussy (Claude)
Delibes (Léo)
Delius (Frederick)
Dittersdorf (Carl Ditters von)
Dohnányi (Ernst von)
Donizetti (Gaetano)
Dorati (Antal)
Dukas (Paul)
Duruflé (Maurice)
Dutilleux (Henri)
Dvorak (Antonin)
Einem (Gottfried von)
Eisler (Hans)
Elgar (Edward)
Ellington (Duke)
Enescu (George)
Erkel (Ferenc)
Falla (Manuel de)
Fauré (Gabriel)
Feldman (Morton)
Ferguson (Howard)
Ferneyhough (Brian)
Field (John)
Finzi (Gerald)
Francaix (Jean)
Franck (César)
Gabrieli (Giovanni)
Gershwin (George)
Ginastera (Alberto)
Giordano (Umberto)
Glass (Philip)
Glazunov (Alexander)
Glière (Reinhold)
Glinka (Mikhail)
Gluck (Christoph Willibald)
Górecki (Henryk)
Gounod (Charles)
Grainger (Percy)
Granados (Enrique)
Grieg (Edvard)
Grovlez (Gabriel)
Gubaidulina (Sofia)
Gurney (Ivor)
Haas (Pavel)
Handel (George Frideric)
Harty (Hamilton)
Haydn (Joseph)
Head (Michael)
Hindemith (Paul)
Hoddinott (Alun)
Holliger (Heinz)
Holst (Gustav)
Honegger (Arthur)
Howells (Herbert)
Hummel (Johann Nepomuk)
Humperdinck (Engelbert)
Ibert (Jacques)
Indy (Vincent d’)
Ireland (John)
Ives (Charles)
Jacob (Gordon)
Janacek (Leos)
Jolivet (André )
Joplin (Scott)
Kalivoda (Jan)
Kálmán (Emmerich)
Khachaturian (Aram)
Knussen (Oliver)
Kodaly (Zoltan)
Koechlin (Charles)
Korngold (Erich)
Krenek (Ernst)
Krommer (Franz)
Kurtág (György)
Lalo (Édouard)
Lang (David)
Lauridsen (Morten)
Leclair (Jean-Marie)
Lehár (Franz)
Leifs (Jón)
Leigh (Walter)
Leoncavallo (Ruggero)
Ligeti (Gyorgy)
Liszt (Franz)
Loeillet (Jean Baptiste)
Lyadov (Anatoly)
Mahler (Alma)
Mahler (Gustav)
Marcello (Alessandro)
Martin (Frank)
Martinu (Bohuslav)
Mascagni (Pietro)
Massenet (Jules)
Maxwell Davies (Peter)
Medtner (Nikolai)
Mendelssohn (Felix)
Menotti (Gian Carlo)
Messiaen (Olivier)
Meyerbeer (Giacomo)
Milhaud (Darius)
Moeran (Ernest)
Monteverdi (Claudio)
Morricone (Ennio)
Moyzes (Alexander)
Mozart (Wolfgang Amadeus)
Mussorgsky (Modest)
Nancarrow (Conlon)
Nielsen (Carl)
Nono (Luigi)
Nyman (Michael)
Offenbach (Jacques)
Orff (Carl)
Pachelbel (Johann)
Paderewski (Ignacy Jan)
Paganini (Niccolò)
Paisiello (Giovanni)
Palestrina (Giovanni Pierluigi da)
Panufnik (Andrzej)
Parry (Hubert)
Pärt (Arvo)
Pasculli (Antonio)
Penderecki (Krzysztof)
Pepusch (Johann Christoph)
Pergolesi (Giovanni)
Piazzola (Astor)
Poulenc (Francis)
Previn (André)
Price (Florence)
Prokofiev (Sergei)
Puccini (Giacomo)
Purcell (Henry)
Quantz (Johann Joachim)
Quilter (Roger)
Rachmaninoff (Sergei)
Raff (Joachim)
Rameau (Jean-Philippe)
Ravel (Maurice)
Reger (Max)
Reich (Steve)
Reinecke (Carl)
Reizenstein (Franz)
Respighi (Ottorino)
Richardson (Alan)
Riley (Terry)
Rimsky-Korsakov (Nikolai)
Rodrigo (Joaquín)
Rossini (Giacomo)
Rota (Nino)
Rubbra (Edmund)
Saint-Saëns (Camille)
Salieri (Antonio)
Sammartini (Giovanni Battista)
Satie (Erik)
Scarlatti (Domenico)
Schnittke (Alfred)
Schoeck (Othmar)
Schoenberg (Arnold)
Schubert (Franz)
Schumann (Clara)
Schumann (Robert)
Scriabin (Alexander)
Sessions (Roger)
Shostakovich (Dmitri)
Sibelius (Jean)
Sinding (Christian)
Skalkottas (Nikos)
Smetana (Bedrich)
Smyth (Ethel)
Sondheim (Stephen)
Sorabji (Kaikhosru Shapurji)
Spohr (Louis)
Stanford (Charles Villiers)
Stenhammar (Wilhelm)
Still (William Grant)
Stockhausen (Karlheinz)
Strauss (Johann) I
Strauss (Johann) II
Strauss (Richard)
Stravinsky (Igor)
Suk (Josef)
Sullivan (Arthur)
Sweelinck (Jan Pieterszoon)
Szymanowski (Karol)
Tailleferre (Germaine)
Takemitsu (Toru)
Tallis (Thomas)
Tavener (John)
Tchaikovsky (Pyotr)
Tcherepnin (Alexander)
Tcherepnin (Nikolai)
Telemann (Georg Philipp)
Thompson (Virgil)
Tippett (Michael)
Tubin (Edward)
Turnage (Mark-Anthony)
Varese (Edgard)
Vaughan Williams (Ralph)
Verdi (Giuseppe)
Vierne (Louis)
Villa-Lobos (Heitor)
Vivaldi (Antonio)
Wagner (Richard)
Walker (George)
Walton (William)
Warlock (Peter)
Weber (Carl Maria von)
Webern (Anton)
Weelkes (Thomas)
Weill (Kurt)
Weir (Judith)
Widor (Charles-Marie)
Williams (John)
Williamson (Malcolm)
Wolf (Hugo)
Xenakis (Iannis)
Ysaÿe (Eugène)
Yun (Isang)
Zelenka (Jan Dismas)
Zemlinsky (Alexander von)


Ding Dong

I loathe this carol. The lyrics, fay and falsely medieval, were quilled in the 1920s, though the tune comes from the 16th century (see Wikipedia).

Ding Dong! Noun or verb? I prefer to think of it as an imprecise exhortation, rather than a description. Do what you will, as long as it’s fun.

Inane as it may be, it’s a difficult carol – that drawn out (and mercilessly repeated) ‘Glor-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-ORIA’ is a well-known graveyard for the amateur choir. Breathing, timing and tuning – all pose their challenges. Leave it to King’s, if I were you.

In younger (even) crueller days I’d ask the village carol singers to Ding Dong on the doorstep, and they’d hoot joyously like a flock of demented owls.

If you’re eager to Ding Dong, do it on gigglemusic, the new social network for classical musicians. No mince pies.

And look for my gigglemusic discussion group – Ding Dong – Carols that Make you Cringe – if you feel like adding to the list.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Three years have passed, but here I am again – three years in which I’ve written an, as yet, undiscovered novel (a satire on corporate diversity policy), continued to manage and design software for systems@work, semi-retired from LLP Group, and with my husband, Petru and my brother Jonathan, designed and developed a new social network app for classical musicians – gigglemusic.

gigglemusic came to me in the forests of Costa Rica. At the beginning of 2018 I began to practise the oboe again after nearly thirty years of a somewhat occasional and undisciplined approach to music making. I now play for an hour a day at least, inspired by my Prague-based teacher Jan Thuri. I play mostly on my own, with the doors shut, or with my friend and pianist Seva, and when practising assiduously at a sweltering resort hotel on the west coast of Costa Rica in March 2018, it occurred to me how pleasant it might be to find musicians near me – a pianist, a flautist, a violinist, perhaps even another oboist, with whom I might do musical things.

gigglemusic is the result. It lets you find nearby musicians, nearby musical events and groups you might join. It lets you contact and befriend other musicians.

It needs users, of course. We released the product just three days ago, so it’s early days. But if you want to play with me, find me on gigglemusic.

Otherwise, in case you want to know where this carol comes from, gigglemusic tells me I’m approximately 4,930 km from the birthplace or Toru Takemitsu, 7,070 km from the birthplace of Percy Grainger, and 8,140 km from the birthplace of Gyorgy Ligeti.