Check out Art Attack's other pieces from the overrated series.
5. John Williams (1932 - )
After the American wrote the stirring soundtrack for Jaws, Williams, who's widely considered to be the best film composer ever, fell into the formula of writing a catchy ditty that repeats for a few bars before a tidal wave of brass and strings sweeps through the dramatic soundscape.
This can be heard on Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Home Alone, E.T., Jurassic Park and Harry Potter. Important films. Not important music (and especially not groundbreaking).
He's also composed theme music for NBC Sunday Night Football. For the paycheck, anyone?
4. Philip Glass (1937 - )
Philip Glass Glass Glass Glass Glass, we get it.
The American minimalist music composer has had a super-productive career, but his symphonic works and film scores start to (wait for it) sound the same after a while.
Houston audiences can attest to that. By all accounts, Glass played a bunch of whatevs during The Menil Collection's 25th-anniversary celebration in December 2012. The industrial-strength fan in the back of the tent had more compositional variances in tone and movement than Glass's commissioned piece.
For the real deal, veer toward the work of La Monte Young, especially his five- to six-hour epic The Well-Tuned Piano.
3. Leonard Bernstein (1918 - 1990)
West Side Story is good -- aaannnddd that's about it.
Bernstein blew up in the American consciousness (and was force-fed down the throats of Americans in the form of media infatuation and microgroove LP releases) via his work with the New York Philharmonic. But with his kitschy output -- from the just-okay musical On the Town to the dreck that is the choral music-piece Chichester Psalms -- his reputation as a composer never warranted the hype.
2. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
The German's piano sonatas are truly great, but he also wrote one of the most overrated pieces of classical music ever: the first movement of Symphony No. 5, Op. 67.
We'll hand it off to Family Guy to express how we feel about Beethoven:
1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
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In his book Music Quickens Time, Daniel Barenboim writes, "Beethoven strives towards heaven, Mozart is from heaven."
Yes, the Austrian-born creator of (by today's standard) a pop-friendly classical sound was great. Many of his compositions are considered sublime and planet-shifting. But just because somebody is anointed as "world's greatest" and the masses run with it (a.k.a. Barenboim's silliness) doesn't make it true.
Stir Joseph Haydn and Franz Schubert into the conversation and Mozart may not even be the best Austrian composer of all time.