20th Century Composers

OK, since this seems like a top ten kind of week. Name the three most influential composers of the 20th century?

1. Anton Webern, just because he is.
2. J. Brahms, because virtually all movie composers in the 20th century all have Brahms on their brain when composing.
(ok some of them have R. Strauss upstairs,too) Yes I know he died in 1897 but his influence is still felt today
3. Van Morrison, for creating the most lustful rock anthem of all time, Gloria (Hendrix loved doing this song in concert, and so did Jim Morrison)
Before trying to respond to your post, please define what you mean "most influential composers of the 20th Century". Do you mean composers who were born after 1900, or are you including composers who were born in the 19th century but lived into the 20th century?

honorable mention

Horace Silver
Wayne Shorter
George Gershwin, Rogers/Hammerstein, Lennon/McCartney Honorable mention to Cole Porter, Ira Cohen(for his Frank Sinatra work), Bob Dylan, Elmore James
The Russians: Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Prokofiev.

The Brits: Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Britten

The Americans: Copland, Gershwin, and ..........

The finest living composer of symphonic music. Someone who gets no respect from the critics because of the chosen medium that he composes for......John Williams.

Think about all of the dozens and dozens of symphonic melodies, marches, anthems, fanfares, etc, composed by John that are instantly recognizable by everyone the world over. Remember, during the golden era of opera, that was the "theater" (show tunes). Beethoven, Haydn, Handel, Rossini, etc were all just as rich and famous. Haydn wrote mostly for parties and the entertainment pleasure of Royalty, etc. Rossini's operas were performed at Casinos, for one simple reason ($$$$$$$). What John is doing is no different. But like many great artists, he will have to be dead for 50 years before anyone takes notice.

I saw a recording at Borders of a cello concerto and other cello works by John Williams, performed by Yo-Yo Ma. The concerto was composed for Mr. Ma I believe. I think I will give it a listen

John Cage, Elliott Carter, and Leo Brouwer -- As for John Williams, Five Sacred Trees really shows what he can do and is great on a high end system.
Re John Williams.. compare him to Beethoven???? All they have in common is that maybe they wrote for violins. 50 years after Williams is dead no one will remember him for anything serious concerning music. See you at the movies
Film scores are not music ??? Thanks Tarando for proving my point with your comment. What I meant about John Williams being like the others; is the others composed what they did, when they did because that is where the money was then. They were just making a living. It was their profession.

A lot of the classic music played in the concert halls today is actually ballet or opera music (show tunes). Many have not be performed with dancers or singers in a long long time. Most classical concerts begin with a "Overture" from some pre-20th century show of some kind. Mozarts 21st Piano concerto is called "Elvira Madigan" (the name of a movie is was in).

In their day Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Brahms, and most of the others were not held up on the lofty pedistal we put them on today. Bach was all but forgotten until Felix Mendelssohn revived his music in the 19th century. Mozart got no respect probably until the very early 20th century. Brahms in his prime was considered too old fashion to ever amount to anything long term.

Rossini works as I mentioned were performed as entertainment at gambling casinos (not the MET like today). Rossini got a fixed fee plus a percent of the house take the night of his shows. Can you image him alive today performing his operas in Las Vegas? Would you predict he would become an opera legend based on that.

Go to the store and you'll find recording by Orchestras around the world of movie and other music by people like Elmer Bernstein, Eric Korngold, Miklos Rozsa, Bernard-Herrmann, Richard Rogers. Even Prokofiev and Shostakovich composed film scores.

There are recordings already of John William's movie music arranged into concert suites, even by foreign orchestras. Leonard Slatkin is on record as saying some of John's marches in a few movies, are as good as anything composed by John Phillip Sousa.

right. But in the long run it's WHAT THEY COMPOSED that matters, the value of the compositions,, not just the fact that they "did their own thing". Everyone from pure hack to genius can do their own thing, make a living, whatever, but that's not what we care about (not what I care about anyway). What I care about is the product. And if I look at Beethoven's product--what he wrote--it's in a league altogether different than John Williams--maybe not simply because the latter wrote movie music, but for many other reasons. And maybe John Williams is the equal of Sousa...so what?--in terms of comparisons to Beethoven, they are both marching in the wind.
Listen to Live at Fillmore by the Allman Brothers Band - Dickey Betts - "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed"
Allan Holdsworth, Robert Fripp, Jimi Hendrix, Sonny Sharrock, John McLaughlin, Frank Zappa and Carlos Santana may not have inflenced composition as much as Stravinsky, Monk or Mancini*, but those 7 guys sure found some cool ways to extend the vocabulary of electric guitar playing.

*(corny or not, you couldn't get away from his stuff, and it got stuck in the brain). If you snag the 1st Oranj Symphonette cd you might be surprised at how much Mancini contributed to the ol' memory bank.
Sugarbrie - I'm with you on all your choices. I would like to add a few that are conspiciously missing:

Jean Sibelius
Claude Debussy (could be considered 19th Century but a truly influential and original composer of the modern era)
Maurice Ravel (among the best orchestrators of any period)

The most influential composer of the 20th Century and the greatest in my book is Igor Stravinsky
I agree with the Debussy. He actually wrote what could be called the first music in "20th century style" the "Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune" or Prelude of an afternoon of a fawn. It broke the lock of the romantic style and paved the way for others to take changes.
Ok so to answer the posed question (at last), for me: Coltrane, Stravinsky, Glass
I am currious. How was Philip Glass influential? To whom? Anyone? What is his legacy?
Webern, Webern, Webern..... egads gentlemen. Every major
artistic, serious composer in the 20th century is absolutely indebted to him.In particular Stravinsky when he finally found out about serial music. If you wanted to remove yourself from romantic/classical musical forms, you just looked at a Webern score. Schoenberg may have started serial music (subset of atonal music, Ives' music would be another form), but it was Webern who took it to its logical conclusion. Serious art music of the 20th century was Webern's century. The only serious contender would have to be Bartok but he was unique and his style was not copied to any great extent, but his string quartets are still one of the finest sets of chamber music produced in the the 20th C.
Hey Schubertmaniac: have you heard Schubert's Notturno (D897) ?...an amazing piece of music, especially a DG recording that does it like no one else does (Eschenbach et al). As far as I'm concerned, Schubert is second only to Bethoven !!!
like van morrison and john williams, he isnt dead yet, so it is hard to talk about his "legacy", but I would say, minimalism and Einstein On the Beach