Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Top of the Un-Pops: Composer Rankings


Debussy playing the piano: Of the 'normal' composers he is the most wiki'd over the last 30 days (excluding Zappa, who isn't easy to categorise, I umm'd and ah'd about whether to include him.)

Here it is, a big list that took longer than I thought it would to compile. Composers active from the 20th Century onwards ranked by the popularity of their English language Wikipedia page in the last 30 days.

The links in the list go to Wikirank so you can look further into the Wiki stats, if you like. Also from the Wikirank page you can click through to the relevant Wiki article or do a Google search etc.

It isn't an exhaustive list for what should be fairly obvious reasons (it's subjective, too many composers to list, and where do you draw the line?, for instance I excluded soundtrack composers and Paul McCartney but did include Zappa).

If you think I have missed anyone or wish to debate the list in some fashion leave a comment. (Oh and don't re-post the content on your blog without linking back here, as if you did all the leg work, this took me a few hours, if you do I'll find you out and will remove you from my Christmas card list)

Regards the 'take-out' of this 'research' (to use a marketing term, cough), not sure yet, only just put it together, make up your own minds. I just thought it would be interesting to see which composers people are reading about.

For some comparison, Beethoven's page was viewed 256, 439 times over the last 30 days, Mozart's 165, 698, Bach's 154, 182.

For a 'pop' comparison the Beatles' page was the most viewed on Wiki overall in the same period, 3, 341, 283 views.

I will check this list for gaffes over the next day or two, I don't think my brain can take any more stats right now (I'll probably wake up in the night realising I've left out some important composer or other.)

UPDATE on 01/04/2009 22:08....added, George Perle, Paul Lansky, Ludovico Einaudi, Kyle Gann, Roger Reynolds and Carlos Chavez.

UPDATE: AM 02/04/2009 : Post some discussion on the PCME group on Facebook I've included results for the last 90 days for the top 20 composers and provided a summary and a link to the relevant 90 day graph.

Not sure what is the best sample size to use, both would be ideal but I don't currently have the time to collect data for everyone in the list, so the last 30 days will have to do for most of them (better than nothing eh.) I don't see any major changes in traffic, just a few peaks here and there (a couple of fairly major ones, Gershwin particularly.)

I don't think using a slightly larger time window will make that much difference in terms of accuracy, and I think the last 30 days is a easy period to look at (views per month more graspable than views per three months, arguably), but then statistics are not my strong point so if you disagree let me know in the comments section.

.............................................

1. Frank Zappa viewed 101,954 times in the last 30 days, 307,276 for the last 90 (fairly smooth graph)

2. Claude Debussy viewed 88,219 times in the last 30 days, 228,214 for the last 90 (some moderate peaks in March)

3. Sergei Rachmaninoff viewed 48,258 times in the last 30 days, 137,921 for the last 90 (fairly smooth, one moderate peak)

4. Igor Stravinsky viewed 45,651 times in the last 30 days, 126,151 for the last 90 (a bit up and down, low in early January but with a fairly large blip later in the month.)

5. George Gershwin viewed 45,560 times in the last 30 days, 145,624 for the last 90 (smooth apart from a very large blip around the 5th of February, not sure what that's about)

6. Philip Glass viewed 41,720 times in the last 30 days, 110,407 for the last 90 (fairly smooth with one moderate peak in January)

7. John Cage viewed 39,429 times in the last 30 days, 109,060 for the last 90 (fairly smooth, one moderate peak in February)

8. Giacomo Puccini viewed 35,017 times in the last 30 days, 98,505 for the last 90 (fairly smooth with three moderately large peaks spread out across the period)

9. Richard Strauss viewed 34,092 times in the last 30 days, 92,197 for the last 90 (smooth apart from four moderate peaks)

10. Leonard Bernstein viewed 33,484 times in the last 30 days, 96,685 for the last 90 (a few peaks)

11. Dmitri Shostakovich viewed 33,063 times in the last 30 days, 95,532 for the last 90 (fairly smooth)

12. Sergei Prokofiev viewed 32,771 times in the last 30 days, 89, 807 times for the last 90 (a bit spiky but generally consistent)

13. Gustav Mahler viewed 32,055 times in the last 30 days, 92, 661 for the last 90 (a few spikes but nothing major)

14. Aaron Copland viewed 31,845 times in the last 30 days, 99,814 for the last 90 (smooth apart from a fairly large peak in February)

15. Maurice Ravel viewed 30,784 times in the last 30 days, 98,764 for the last 90 (very large peak in January)

16. Arnold Schoenberg viewed 28,869 times in the last 30 days, 79,641 for the last 90 (fairly smooth)

17. Erik Satie viewed 25,590 times in the last 30 days, 73,606 for the last 90 (two smallish peaks)

18. Béla Bartók viewed 24,453 times in the last 30 days, 66,496 for the last 90 (fairly smooth, one smallish peak)

19. Ralph Vaughan Williams viewed 19,084 times in the last 30 days, 60,203 for the last 90 (two big peaks)

20. Benjamin Britten viewed 18,830 times in the last 30 days, 55,676 for the last 90 (a bit spiky but nothing major, fairly consistent)

21. Carl Orff viewed 18,625 times in the last 30 days.

22. Edward Elgar viewed 18,152 times in the last 30 days.

23. Samuel Barber viewed 17,557 times in the last 30 days.

24. Jean Sibelius viewed 16,144 times in the last 30 days.

25. Steve Reich viewed 15,844 times in the last 30 days.

26. Gustav Holst viewed 15,305 times in the last 30 days.

27. Olivier Messiaen viewed 13,667 times in the last 30 days.

28. Aram Khachaturian viewed 12,471 times in the last 30 days.

29. Arvo Pärt viewed 12,277 times in the last 30 days.

30. Kurt Weill viewed 11,624 times in the last 30 days.

31. Charles Ives viewed 11,533 times in the last 30 days.

32. Karlheinz Stockhausen viewed 11,234 times in the last 30 days.

33. György Ligeti viewed 11,138 times in the last 30 days.

34. Alban Berg viewed 9,978 times in the last 30 days.

35. Alexander Scriabin viewed 9,458 times in the last 30 days.

36. Francis Poulenc viewed 9,252 times in the last 30 days.

37. Iannis Xenakis viewed 8,652 times in the last 30 days.

38. Edgard Varèse viewed 7,989 times in the last 30 days.

39. Heitor Villa-Lobos viewed 7,972 times in the last 30 days.

40. Paul Hindemith viewed 7,714 times in the last 30 days.

41. Pierre Boulez viewed 7,670 times in the last 30 days.

42. Anton Webern viewed 7,608 times in the last 30 days.

43. Leoš Janáček viewed 7,602 times in the last 30 days.

44. Ludvico Einaudi viewed 7,497 times in the last 30 days.

45. Terry Riley viewed 7,401 times in the last 30 days.

46. La Monte Young viewed 7,325 times in the last 30 days.

47. Krzysztof Penderecki viewed 7,244 times in the last 30 days.

48. Ástor Piazzolla viewed 7,204 times in the last 30 days.

49. John Adams viewed 7,155 times in the last 30 days.

50. Manuel de Falla viewed 7,144 times in the last 30 days.

51. Tan Dun viewed 6,034 times in the last 30 days.

52. Darius Milhaud viewed 5,671 times in the last 30 days.

53. Zoltán Kodály viewed 5,587 times in the last 30 days.

54. Frederick Delius viewed 5,488 times in the last 30 days.

55. Ottorino Respighi viewed 5,407 times in the last 30 days.

56. Henryk Górecki viewed 5,346 times in the last 30 days.

57. George Enescu viewed 5,319 times in the last 30 days.

58. Henry Cowell viewed 5,135 times in the last 30 days.

59. Elliott Carter viewed 5,063 times in the last 30 days.

60. Luciano Berio viewed 4,630 times in the last 30 days.

61. Carl Nielsen viewed 4,271 times in the last 30 days.

62. Morton Feldman viewed 4,227 times in the last 30 days.

63. William Walton viewed 4,171 times in the last 30 days.

64. Alfred Schnittke viewed 3,975 times in the last 30 days.

65. Paul Dukas viewed 3,914 times in the last 30 days.

66. Ferruccio Busoni viewed 3,808 times in the last 30 days.

67. George Crumb viewed 3,738 times in the last 30 days.

68. Jacques Ibert viewed 2,588 times in the last 30 days.

69. Bohuslav Martinů viewed 3,543 times in the last 30 days.

70. Alberto Ginastera viewed 3,537 times in the last 30 days.

71. Milton Babbitt viewed 3,506 times in the last 30 days.

72. Peter Maxwell Davies viewed 3,472 times in the last 30 days.

73. Karol Szymanowski viewed 3,308 times in the last 30 days.

74. Witold Lutosławski was viewed 3,261 times in the last 30 days.

75. Frank Martin viewed 3,260 times in the last 30 days.

76. Henri Pousseur viewed 3,281 times in the last 30 days.

77. Ernest Bloch viewed 3,246 times in the last 30 days.

78. Arthur Honegger viewed 3,237 times in the last 30 days.

79. Malcolm Arnold viewed 3,232 times in the last 30 days.

80. John Corigliano viewed 3,194 times in the last 30 days.

81. Max Reger viewed 3,137 times in the last 30 days.

82. Erich Wolfgang Korngold viewed 3,067 times in the last 30 days.

83. Tōru Takemitsu viewed 2,895 times in the last 30 days.

84. Maurice Duruflé viewed 2,799 times in the last 30 days.

85. Alan Hovhaness viewed 2,766 times in the last 30 days.

86. Michael Tippett viewed 2,742 times in the last 30 days.

87. Conlon Nancarrow viewed 2,593 times in the last 30 days.

88. Einojuhani Rautavaara viewed 2,427 times in the last 30 days.

89. Luigi Nono viewed 2,403 times in the last 30 days.

90. Cornelius Cardew viewed 2,327 times in the last 30 days.

91. Arnold Bax viewed 2,276 times in the last 30 days.

92. Sofia Gubaidulina viewed 2,230 times in the last 30 days.

93. Thomas Adès viewed 2,223 times in the last 30 days.

94. Henri Dutilleux viewed 2,186 times in the last 30 days.

95. Hans Werner Henze viewed 2,174 times in the last 30 days.

96. Louis Andriessen viewed 2,148 times in the last 30 days.

97. Virgil Thomson viewed 2,102 times in the last 30 days.

98. Lou Harrison viewed 2,057 times in the last 30 days.

99. Ernő Dohnányi viewed 2,048 times in the last 30 days.

100. George Antheil viewed 2,032 times in the last 30 days.

101. William Bolcom viewed 1,985 times in the last 30 days

102. Harrison Birtwistle viewed 1,979 times in the last 30 days

103. Mauricio Kagel viewed 1,955 times in the last 30 days.

104. Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji viewed 1,901 times in the last 30 days.

105. György Kurtág viewed 1,758 times in the last 30 days.

106. Lukas Foss viewed 1,743 times in the last 30 days.

107. Frederic Rzewski viewed 1,739 times in the last 30 days.

108. Marcel Dupré viewed 1,696 times in the last 30 days.

109. Vincent Persichetti viewed 1,695 times in the last 30 days.

110. Giacinto Scelsi viewed 1,683 times in the last 30 days.

111. Brian Ferneyhough viewed 1,625 times in the last 30 days.

112. Paul Lansky viewed 1,562 times in the last 30 days.

113. Gavin Bryars viewed 1,529 times in the last 30 days.

114. Christian Wolff viewed 1,479 times in the last 30 days.

115. Frank Bridge viewed 1,468 times in the last 30 days.

116. Ernst Krenek viewed 1,381 times in the last 30 days.

117. Kaija Saariaho viewed 1,263 times in the last 30 days.

118. Jonathan Harvey viewed 1,243 times in the last 30 days.

119. Wolfgang Rihm viewed 1,235 times in the last 30 days.

120. Luigi Dallapiccola viewed 1,208 times in the last 30 days.

121. Helmut Lachenmann viewed 1,170 times in the last 30 days.

122. Gérard Grisey viewed 1,153 times in the last 30 days. TIED

123. Roger Sessions viewed 1,153 times in the last 30 days. TIED

124. Carlos Chávez viewed 1,107 times in the last 30 days.

125. Tristan Murail viewed 1,074 times in the last 30 days.

126. Oliver Knussen viewed 1,076 times in the last 30 days.

127. Salvatore Sciarrino viewed 989 times in the last 30 days.

128. Edison Denisov viewed 982 times in the last 30 days.

129. Paul Creston viewed 969 times in the last 30 days

130. John Luther Adams viewed 965 times in the last 30 days.

131. Magnus Lindberg viewed 959 times in the last 30 days.

132. Galina Ustvolskaya viewed 886 times in the last 30 days.

133. Bernd Alois Zimmermann viewed 827 times in the last 30 days.

134. Carl Ruggles viewed 808 times in the last 30 days.

135. Earle Brown viewed 794 times in the last 30 days.

136. Charles Wuorinen viewed 768 times in the last 30 days.

137. Bruno Maderna viewed 749 times in the last 30 days.

138. Michael Finnissy viewed 732 times in the last 30 days.

139. Mark-Anthony Turnage viewed 716 times in the last 30 days.

140. George Perle viewed 693 times in the last 30 days.

141. Andrzej Panufnik viewed 683 times in the last 30 days.

142. Franco Donatoni viewed 620 times in the last 30 days.

143. Kyle Gann viewed 615 times in the last 30 days.

144. Alexander Goehr viewed 610 times in the last 30 days.

145. Claude Vivier viewed 605 times in the last 30 days.

146. Julián Carrillo viewed 589 times in the last 30 days.

147. Peter Eötvös viewed 555 times in the last 30 days.

148. Alvin Curran viewed 545 times in the last 30 days.

149. Alois Hába viewed 516 times in the last 30 days.

150. Pascal Dusapin viewed 499 times in the last 30 days.

151. Alun Hoddinott viewed 491 times in the last 30 days.

152. Roger Reynolds viewed 469 times in the last 30 days.

153. Kevin Volans viewed 456 times in the last 30 days.

154. James MacMillan viewed 415 times in the last 30 days.

155. Richard Barrett viewed 412 times in the last 30 days.

156. James Dillon viewed 396 times in the last 30 days.

157. Gloria Coates viewed 345 times in the last 30 days.

158. Karel Goeyvaerts viewed 333 times in the last 30 days

159. Horaţiu Rădulescu viewed 321 times in the last 30 days.

160. Beat Furrer viewed 302 times in the last 30 days.

161. George Benjamin viewed 274 times in the last 30 days.

12 comments:

tom said...

So of the living composers we have 1. Glass. 2. Reich. 3. Part. 4. Boulez. 5. Riley. 6. La Monte Young. 7. Penderecki. 8. John Adams. 9. Tan Dun. 10. Gorecki.

Looks like the minimalists are doing predictably good. They are also surprisingly old (most born around the 1935-1937 mark). Tan Dun is easily the youngest (and he's best known as a film composer now).


I think it's legitimate to include Zappa in the list, though I doubt many people go to his page based on his symphonic compositions.

tom said...

Two more unfortunately legitimate composers for you:

Ludovico Einaudi was viewed 7,514 times in the last 30 days.

Karl Jenkins was viewed 6,774 times in the last 30 days.

Edward Lawes said...

Agreed about Zappa, not much of his traffic will be directly related to his contemporary/classical music but shouldn't exclude him. Also other composers are better known as writers and/or conductors etc.

Re the top living composers (from the top 60) worth noting that Stockhausen, Ligeti and Xenakis didn't die that long ago and come surprisingly high in the list (if you believe the populist hype about the non 'accessible' nature of 'avant-garde' music.)

It would read... 1. Glass 2. Reich 3. Part 4. Stockhausen 5. Ligeti 6. Xenakis 7. Boulez 8. Riley 9. La Monte Young 10. Penderecki 11. John Adams 12. Tan Dun 13. Gorecki 14. Elliott Carter

Also worth considering that minimalists are not really classical composers as such (Reich and Glass particularly), they are crossover artists more or less, they widened the definition of classical music and remain somewhat controversial because of it(Glass and Reich having their own ensembles etc and not generally writing for traditional groupings like string quartets, wind quintets, orchestras etc).

I actually think the results show that the supposedly 'difficult' (to listen to) or 'avant-garde' music of the post-war period is in good health, it should be performed more (though much of it is difficult to play, no argument there.)

Other surprises, how high Rachmaninoff comes in the list, and how low Takemitsu is (Rachmaninoff above Stravinsky?, I suppose he was a famous pianist too and his music has been in popular films etc.)

It should of course be noted that these results are only based on English language wiki pages, presumably in other languages the results would be different (that would be an interesting comparison actually.)

Edward Lawes said...

I'll add Einaudi but not Jenkins, I just can't (*shudder)

Stuart said...

I'm just pleased to see that you've left out John Rutter.

Edward Lawes said...

Ok Einaudi has been added, as I said I just can't add Jenkins, even if I wanted to, I just can't.

Re Rutter, I didn't even think about him, perhaps john Tavener should be included but I don't know, a line has to be drawn somewhere and primarily this survey is looking at 'important' composers and whether the discourse about music matches the 'facts' (regards what is or is not popular or accessible etc.)

I tried changing wikirank to french but it didn't seem to work, would be interested to compare the English language results with the other main ones (where classical music is discussed) French, German, Spanish and perhaps Japanese and Mandarin for starters (not sure what sort of Chinese wiki exists though.)

Dan said...

Well, I think Tavener should be included, although I've no idea where he'd place.

If you say yourself that Glass and Reich aren't "really classical composers" (and I kind of agree), doesn't Tavener qualify by being intensely tied to (and obsessed with) tradition?

This can quickly get nit-picky, though, plainly enough.

I'm also surprised Takemitsu isn't more heavily researched.

Edward Lawes said...

Hmm, I might include Tavener I suppose and leave it at that.

Re Glass and Reich, i'm not being critical by saying they are not really classical composers, or suggesting they have expanded the definition, it just seems to be the case (personally I am not really a Glass fan although I like a couple of short pieces I have heard, but I do like quite a bit of Reich's stuff, not easy to categorise though, like Zappa, I think Reich quite liked that about his music IIRC)

Anonymous said...

Many tough calls... for example, I think Rutter would make much more sense to include on the list than Zappa (which is not to say I wouldn't rather eat nails than listen to a Rutter piece!). He's primarily known and searched-for because of his notated concert music; Zappa's definitely not.

Many surprises here; pleasantly surprised to see Terry Riley & La Monte Young higher than I expected; puzzled to see Kurtag & Saariaho so low. I wonder if a later date-cutoff might make it more useful? (I don't know how much we get out of comparing Puccini, Mahler, Ravel to this group.) But I think this is a really interesting ranking and I hope you keep doing more. Thanks!

Edward Lawes said...

Anon: No right or wrong way of making such a list as per my experience of thinking it through, you might be right about Rutter vs Zappa (sounds like a legal precedent), however as I said in the post I can't get around my own subjective position (I quite like Zappa's music in general, not so with Rutter's, offence to the man intended, I think Zappa deserves a mention, my opinion.)

Re the older composers, I thought I would start with the 20th century onwards, including composers born in the previous century rather than start post WWII or whatever, if you want to narrow down the results I suppose you'll just have to make your own sub-list as Tom did re some of top living composers (a database with filters would be nice, one day perhaps, although that could be taking things too far who knows)

Re Kurtag and Saariaho, the former surprises me most, he is one of my favourite composers, I think he is quite an important figure (but then I just revealed my bias so perhaps I would think that.)

I tried to buy the score to Omaggio a Luigi Nono but it's not available apparently (I had it on order for about a month), I swapped the order earlier for Officium Breve, hopefully that is in print but who knows, i'll have to wait and see.

Annoying that his stuff isn't more available, my local music library doesn't have much, and one score listed in their records appears to have gone missing or been stolen.

On the plus side his scores are well designed, I like the muted brown colour with that interesting russian modernist looking typeface (that's obviously the most important thing about a score :-/

ZapGun said...

Just to mention that we pick your ranking idea to do something similar with architects in our zapgun.pt website on the freshly new blog section.
Our relation with music don't go further than that one of the listener point of view. We do like many composers on it but we didn't know the majority of the names. So, for us, it's an excellent data base to engross our discography and knowledge.
Concerning your list, we do miss the absence of John Chowning and Emmanuel Nunes on it, but this is just for matters of 'stepfriendship'. Otherwise, we did not include Frank Zappa on this rank because Zappa will open the field to many others linked with some kind of sub-pop culture scene.
Many thanks

Edward Lawes said...

Zapgun: Thanks for the comment, forgot to reply when you posted it sorry.

Agreed about Nunes, forgot about him, Chowning however is more of an electronic composer so I didn't consider him (not a value judgement btw, he is a very important figure arguably, just not in an acoustic context.)

Your site looks good btw, I have a passing interest in architecture so I'll look at it more closely soon. Good luck with it.