Yesterday I've spent a very long lunch speaking with the music composer extraordinaire Edgar Barrosso. He is a Phd student studying music composition in the the Music Department at Harvard and leads Harvard's Group for New Music.
Speaking with Edgar, who was my resident advisor last year, is alway a thrilling experience. After I speak with him I often think for an hour about what he said and it was certainly the case this time. Our conversation somehow drifted to the topic of who is the best music composer and he gave me a surprising answer. He said that for him Beethoven is the absolute best, second to absolutely no one and by far and wide so. The answer was surprising because the music Edgar makes seems very distant from the likes of Beethoven's music.
Here is a sample of it:
Even more surprising was the reason he gave me for his choice. He argued that Beethoven is the best not because of his music per se. It is not about the melody at all. It is what is inside the music, inside the melody that matters so much. He pointed me to this video of the pianist Alice Herz-Sommer, who is the oldest Holocaust survivor in the world and who makes very forcefully the same point.
To learn more about Edgar and his music visit his website at http://edgarbarroso.net/