Meanwhile, let us begin with several things. A guy who hangs out at the same wellness center I frequent has proposed a topic we will use for openers. (He’s a member of Carolina Clarinet, and that ensemble gave a terrific performance of a work by Raleigh composer Milton Bliss on Sunday, in an all-Bliss concert at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church – but this won’t be a place for reviews, so let us move right along….)

Here’s what Brent Smith suggests we toss around:

“I recently ran across several lists of the top composers of all time. It might make an interesting exercise for CVNC to solicit/poll its readers’ opinions as to the “top ten” composers of all time. Making a list of the top five or the top 20 would be easier. But to set the mark at ten presents significant difficulties. Many folks set the order of the top ten as something like Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Debussy, Stravinsky, Brahms, Verdi, Wagner, and Bartók. This is the NY Times‘ list of the top ten. But when you get near the bottom of the list, additional contenders probably also include Puccini, Monteverdi, Tchaikovsky, Handel, Ligeti, Britten, Haydn, Vivaldi, Rachmaninoff, Mahler, Liszt, Chopin, Dvořák, and Schumann. I think opera fans would include others in addition. As for myself, I would define “top ten” in terms of how much I enjoy playing their music. In that regard, as a clarinetist, I’d have to somehow get Mendelssohn on the list. Also, as a clarinetist, everything before 1711 would have to be eliminated! Oh well….”

So who will take up Brent’s challenge? The stage is yours!