Great Composers (1997– )

TV Series  |  Documentary, Music
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 15 users  
Reviews: 1 user

Add a Plot

0Check in

Celebrate IMDb's 25th Anniversary with Photos We Love

IMDb turns a 25 on October 17! To celebrate, we put together a gallery of some of our favorite movie, TV, and event photos from the last 25 years.

See the Photos We Love

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 144 titles
created 04 May 2014
a list of 20 titles
created 1 month ago

Related Items

Search for "Great Composers" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Great Composers (1997– )

Great Composers (1997– ) on IMDb 8.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Great Composers.

User Polls








Series cast summary:
 Narrated by / ... (7 episodes, 1997)
Georg Solti ...
 Conducted by: BBC Symphony Orchestra / ... (3 episodes, 1997)
Charles Rosen ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1997)


Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Music





Release Date:

November 1997 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Hardly bursting with insight and revelation, but a good introduction.
19 August 1999 | by (Dublin, Ireland) – See all my reviews

This is one of the better programmes on classical music, which strives a little too hard to connect biography to the work. TV has done notoriously badly by classical music. When it can be bothered to make programmes at all, it usually simplifies the subject for the benefit of the uninitiated, leaving the more discerning listener frustrated, denied of real meat.

There was much criticism of this series that some of the composers treated were too lightweight (Puccini, Tchaikovsky), and it is true that the experts and defenders allotted to these are not up to the same standard as the Mozartians (you're in trouble if you need Simon Callow to put in a good word), and the quality of criticism quickly plummets ('Tchaikovsky appeals to your heart' Er, thanks!).

The biographies are solid, if predictable - slightly prurient, which makes a change from hagiography - with facts interspersed with letters, contemporary accounts, scholarly glosses and performers' interpretation, all serving the annoyingly brief excerpts from the music (you can't put Mahler into bitesize snippets! It sounds silly). Maybe if they just played the music, we could discover why it's so inspiring, rather than have it spelt out for us by some 'authority', although many contributors do make impressively accessible technical points that enrich one's understanding of a piece.

The best edition was perhaps the Wagner one (although Puccini's had some hilariously salacious gossip from old neighbours); the issues raised by his life and music are very disturbing, and require caution and thought, whereas with, say, Beethoven, you can just trot out the legend. Why though weren't we told anything about Puccini's fascism (Mussolini made him a senator). Isn't this important to know when thinking about his music? The Tchaikovsky one was editorialism gone mad, with some bizarre visual literalisms of the composer's statements, that were weirdly effective.

Each programme had its unexpected pleasures, like a trivial anecdote that suddenly humanised an untouchable genius, or the haunting faded footage of Puccini out boating with his hunting buddies on a lake, a mournful reminder of the loss of this music to the strange historical vacuum that left with us with John Cage's silence. There's the subject for a documentary: WHY can't we have music like this any more? As for this series, if there's to be a second, how about Handel, Rossini, Mussorgsky, Johann Strauss Jr., Richard Strauss and Stravinsky?

9 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Great Composers (1997) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: