who's the most underrated classical music composer that's not in the top notch level of composers?

Who are some composers that wrote just absolutely great great beautiful music but didn't get as much recognition as they deserve?

For example, Mozart would definitely not one of these, cuz he got lots of recognition

some nominees:

Sibelius, Smetana, Palestrina, Saint-Saen, Offenbach?

also please state the name of your favorite beautiful music that they wrote


well yea...

i realize that Saint-Saen is pretty well known

i just think with the music he writes, he shuld be a lil more well known

15 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    This is easy question for me as this is a specialist area of mine. There are a number of really top-notch composers who, for a variety of reasons, do not get the recognation they deserve. I really wouldn't count Sibelius as being unduly neglected at all and Saint-Saëns (with a 's'), being brutal, was a second-rate composer who wrote a few excellent works. There some composers from each period of music I can identify:


    Antonio Caldara (1670-1736). A contemporary and compatriot of Vivaldi, most of Caldara's surviving output is opera and vocal music (cantatas, oratorios, single-voice motets). Most of his music was stored, forgotten in a library in Dresden for over 200 years and has only just recently been rediscovered. His music is beautiful, lyrical and with just enough unexpected twists and turns to make it rivetting listening. Even Caldara's recitatives are interesting! The work to listen to: the oratorio 'Maddalena ai piedi di Cristo'.

    Johann Bernhard Bach (1676-1749). A cousin of the great Johann Sebastian, nearly all of Johann Bernhard's works are now lost. This is a tragedy because those few that do survive (some orchestral suites and some cantatas) are of the very highest quality. Try any one of the four orchestral suites.


    Johann Martin Kraus (1756-1792). An exact contemporary of Mozart, Kraus worked for the Royal Court in Sweden and, therefore, geography has worked against Kraus's music being better known. At his best, his music is quite forward-looking, anticipating the course Beethoven was later to take. There are several very fine symphonies and operas that are now available on CD, among them the startling Symphony in C-sharp minor and the opera 'Soliman II'.

    Jan Václav Voříšek (1791-1825). A Bohemian contemporary of Schubert, Voříšek wasn't very prolific and so his early death at 34 hasn't helped his cause. Most of his music features the piano and is exquistely written. His only symphony (in D major) is like a cross between Beethoven and Schubert, with its own distinct lyricism as well.


    Niels Wilhelm Gade (1817-1890) is sometimes referred to as the 'Danish Mendelssohn'. He was a wonderfully fluent composer. Perhaps not 'great' but he certainly wrote some captivatingly beautiful music. Try the Novelettes for String Orchestra.

    Late Romantic/Early 20th C:

    Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) is, sadly, mostly known for his music for Hollywood films in the 1940s and 1950s. As fine as this music is, his early work, before being driven out of Nazi Germany, is astounding. By the age of 12 he was writing fully-fledged, mature orchestral music of which a composer 20 years older would have been envious. His opera 'Die tote Stadt' is simply a masterpiece.

    Nikolai Tcherepnin (1873-1945) the oldest of a great line of composers. His son was composer Alexander Tcherpnin (1899-1977) and his grandson is Ivan Tcherepnin (born 1943). If you can imagine an exotic cross between Ravel, Skryabin, Rakhmaninov and late Rimsky-Korsakov - that's Nikolai Tcherepnin. Music to hear, smell, taste and allow to wash over your soul. I love the ballet 'Narcisse et Echo' - it's rather like a Russian 'Daphnis et Chloë'.

    In modern times the Finnish Kalevi Aho (born 1949) deserves much wider recognition. The Flute Concerto is the most amazing work for that instrument I know.

  • algaba
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Top Romantic Composers

  • 1 decade ago

    Saint-Saens is pretty well known u know. About the same amount as Rachmaninoff. Unless that's too famous, Rachmaninoff would be my choice. his concerto no 2, symphony no 2 and his moment musiceaux nos 4 and 6. are my favorites.

    And most of my favorite composers are really well known, i. e. CHopin, Beethoven.

  • 1 decade ago

    This may sound strange but Peter Tchaikovsky. He was not chosen as a member of the Russian Nationalist composers because his music was so universal, but his Symphony's, Piano Concertos, Romeo and Juliette are all over shadowed by the Nut Cracker. His piano music is confused with Rachmaninoff. He wrote one opera that is performed quite often . He was thought to be gay so that made his life miserable.

    Rachmanoff wrote some beautiful piano music, but how many people know he wrote some fantastic vocal music.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Rimsky-Korsakov is on the cusp along with your nominees. Not only is his music powerful and meaningful he was hugely influential to a generation of Russian and French composers.

    Other candidates might be:

    Webern - his little gems don't fit well into the concert format and I fear he does not get enough attention.

    CPE Bach was a founder of the Classical style and gets lost somehow between his father, Hayden and Mozart.

    I can't wait to see other choices!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    George Gershwin -- his Concerto in F is one of the few piano concertos where all movements are great. All of his classical music is outstanding. My recital programs include The Three Piano Preludes.

    Neil Miller, author of The Piano Lessons Book

    Enter in Amazon.com search: Neil Miller Piano Lessons Book

    OR http://www.createspace.com/3332371

  • Mia
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    I'm working on a piano trio by Bedrich Smetana, and I must say that I can't believe it isn't more famous. I also love a lot of his other music, but somehow a lot of musicians don't even know his name!

    I agree that Sibelius and Saint-Saens are great, but I think that most people do regard them pretty highly.

  • 1 decade ago

    One of my choices is Nicola Matteis. Totally overshadowed by JS Bach and others of his time, but Matteis really has written many beautiful pieces! Some of them being among those "Sett of Ayres" or "Ayres For The Violin" suites.

    Source(s): www.linnrecords.com
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago


    1) Marc Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704). Well known only in France. Just listen to his thrilling "Lecons de Tenebres", Virgin Rec. (Music for Holy Week)

    2) Johann Rosenmueller (1619-1684). One of the greatest "gay-composers". Try his "Vespro della Beata Vergine" (Harmonia Mundi).

    3) Antonio Caldara, of course...


    1) HAYDN! Everybody honoures him, nobody wants his music. Just find the opinion of Schumann on Haydn's music.

    Romantic and post-romantic:

    1) Mieczyslaw Karlowicz (1876-1909). The inequitably forgotten Polish post-romantic composer. Try his incredible Violin concerto played by Nigel Kennedy ("Polish Spirit", EMI) and symphonic poems!

    XX century:

    1) Frank Martin (1890-1974). The one who composed for angels! Try his oratorio "Golgotha" or "Der Cornet" - with the music to Rilke's poems (Brilliant Classics and MDG, respectively). Also recently released "Triptychon" (ECM) is recommended.

  • 1 decade ago

    Alexander Scriabin, especially his late works. You may not understand them at first because he was influenced by mysticism and it's full of atonality, which many people call "noise." If you listen to him long enough, like other composers, you WILL get addicted.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Shostakovich, just because his music is a bit frightening [I prefer animated] dosn't make him a bad composer or unworthy of the attention recieved by Bach and Beethoven and my personal favorite Gershwin.

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