Which ONE composer, best represent the CULTURE of their NATIVE COUNTRY?

I don't mean to raise the ire of anyone; but know it's probably inevitable by posing such a question.

But by doing so, I hope to get an exemplary cross section of this particular forum's views. How could anyone really choose between say Bach/Mozart/Schubert/Brahms/Beethoven, Wagner, etc., etc.?

[[ You may consider Austria separate from Germany should you wish: I am. ]]

You may consider my choices ridiculous; but then, I may yours, likewise - so, let's have some fun.

Greece: ??????? Is there really a notable composer heralding from the fountainhead of Western Civilization? I'm not aware of any; should you believe there to be one, please enlighten me.

Italy: Verdi - "La Forza del Destino"

Spain: Manuel de Falla - "The Three Corned Hat"

France: (a tough one for me) - Gounod "Faust"

England: Elgar - "The Enigma Variations"

Germany: Wagner - "Die Meistersinger"

{{{ I know, I know: how could one not choose say Bach or Beethoven? Well, I choose to look on only the benign (not religious, or monumental) aspect of German culture; and for me, the so named does it }}}

Austria: (a real, very easy one for me) - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - "Eine kleine Nacht Musique"

Poland: (questionable, with regard to his nationality) Chopin - "The Revolutionary Etude"

Russia: Moussorgsky - "Boris Godunov"

[[[ I choose to not continue with any of the other Eastern Europeans - but please feel free to ]]]

U.S.A.: (another REAL TOUGH one) Gershwin - "Porgy and Bess"

Sorry, don't have the energy to continue.

But, You?


7 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    There was no doubt in Chopin's mind about his 'Polishness', I can assure you.

    Greece? I'd say Nikos Skalkottas.

    Romania: it would have to be Enescu (one of the most underrated composers of the 20th century).

    Hungary: while some would say Bartók, I'd plump for Kodály and his 'Dances of Galánta'.

    Bohemia: it would have to be Dvořák's 'Slavonic Dances'.

    France for me has to be the perfumed music of Ravel's 'Daphnis et Chloë', while I can't think of anyone more 'Austrian' (especially Viennese) than Johann Strauss the younger.

    For the USA, I'd probably go for those 'wide open spaces' in Copland's music - something like 'Billy the Kid', 'Rodeo' or 'Appalachian Spring'.

  • 8 years ago

    As you note it is quite difficult to distill an entire culture over hundreds of years down to a single piece much less a single composer, but here are a few nominations:

    Finnland - Sibelius - Finnlandia, it's almost their national anthem

    USA - Aaron Copland - Appalachian Spring OR John Cage - String Quartet . I like Copland as a choice for his expansive nature, but the mercurial contrarian relationship Cage has with tradition is also very appropriate for an American composer.

    Norway - Grieg - Peer Gynt

    Greece - Iannis Xenakis - Persepolis (If you want ancient Greece then Aristoxenus looks great on papyrus even though almost nothing of his work survives today)

    Hungary - Bartok - String Quartet nr. 5

  • 4 years ago

    Let's rephrase the question to correct the grammar: ONE cannot take the plural THEIR. If you're looking for a single answer, English uses the male pronoun, so it would be "Which ONE composer best represents [noun and verb agreement here] HIS country." Your readers, happily, expanded their responses to multiple countries and composers. And I'm delighted to say that I agree with them.

    My vote goes to Chopin whose melodic and often sentimental music paints a beautiful image of his native Poland. Not of Polish ancestry myself, Chopin's music often makes wish I were.


  • Nick
    Lv 5
    8 years ago

    Well, the first to come to mind is Chopin. Polska pride right there.

    Germany, I would give to Beethoven for "Ode to Joy"

    Spain, Manuel de Falla "Night in the Spanish Gardens"

    Italy, Busoni's Piano Concerto in C (very Italian at parts, though the German chorus at the end is a little awkward...)

    Russia, Rachaminov's Piano Concerto No. 2

    Well, there's my two cents.

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  • 8 years ago

    I would go with Shostakovitch, because a lot of his music was influenced by what was going on in his country (Russia, part of the Soviet Union at the time) and impacted the music he wrote. The war had an effect on what and even how he wrote, and a lot of deep emotion can be heard in his music.

  • 8 years ago

    I don't believe anyone quite caught the essence of their native country's music better than Bartok. Through travels in the remote areas of Hungary and recording - on primitive equipment - the folk songs of his homeland, he steeped himself in its rhythms and tunes. He then used them as a basis for much superb writing. His "Dance Suite" (written to commemorate the unification of Buda and Pest to form Budapest) is nothing short of amazing.

  • Fiery
    Lv 5
    8 years ago

    I will go with Shostakovich. Symphony No 7 Leningrad mainly comes to mind. Not to mention Symphony No 5 is about as Russian as it gets! He didn't really imitate anyone of the past either, he was himself.

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