I have one for each period so there is not simply one favorite.
- Bach – Music can be deep or intense, but Bach can mix them in a mathematical tide of lava and diamonds.
- Stravinsky – The rhythmic drive and polytonality lock together beautifully and make music that is unmistakably Stravinsky. If I had to choose just one favorite, it would be a toss-up between him and Ravel.
- Tallis – Some of Tallis’ polyphonic vocal music is amongst the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard.
- Couperin – His harpsichord works are without parallel.
- Mozart – I’m not a big classical period fan, but Mozart had quite the ear for melody.
- Mahler – I love big epic symphonies, and Mahler reigns supreme in that kingdom. He took the raw emotional content of his life and created some of the most beautiful music from it. He never let his personal illnesses or emotional stressors keep him from his passion for music. Honorable mentions for Sibelius and Kalinnikov.
- Ravel – I’m giving impressionism its own category because Ravel is absolutely incredible. His music has a very characteristic and gorgeously lush sound.
All wrote enormous symphonies (or symphonic works for Richard), and all have wonderful part-writing for Horns, as well as having a fantastic level of emotional engagement in their works.
Francis Poulenc is under-appreciated I think. His piano works are very fluid and juicy. You could cut one with a knife and colourful tears would be running down your arm.
A composer that I’ve been following over the past two years is Gabriel Riccio, who writes primarily avant-garde metal but has a developing style as he attends college.