BEST PERFORMERS AND MUSIC OF 20TH CENTURY—one man’s opinion 

Romantic Piano Concerto—RACHMANINOFF #2:overpopularized but genius nonetheless. His 3rd is a greater work but not more beautiful

Classical Virtuoso / Dynamic Piano Concerto: Prokofiev#3—listen to Van Cliburn’s rendition, 1958.

Greatest pianist: Vladimir Horowitz & Sviatislav Richter

Violin Concertos: Romantic=Korngold: Viruoso=Bartok

Violinist: Jascha Heifetz (whose brother was a Neurosurgeon—not bad achievements for one family).

Choral Work: Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana (overpopularized but when you hear it for the first time…blown away). Competition includes Poulenc’s Gloria/Stabat Mater, Rutter’s Magnificat, Britten’s Cantata Academica, Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast.

King of Rock: Elvis—entertainer / innovator with great voice--one can overlook that his early music was a primitive throwback

Best Male Rock Singer: Freddy Mercury (Queen)>Roy Orbison—Freddy & Roy also wrote.

Best Female Rock Singer: no clue but bet she’s not alive and probably died of an overdose in the 60s...(Janis Joplin, maybe?)

King of Pop: Michael Jackson—mostly as entertainer—wrote some good music but very little.

Best Male Pop Vocalist: Sinatra—distinctive & classy though Sammy Davis had better voice & more talent (dance, comedy, imitations--Davis WAS a genius).

Best Female Pop Vocalist: Streisand but consider Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Kate Smith

Best Broadway Male Vocalist: Michael Crawford > Robert Goulet

Best Female Classical/Broadway/Pop Vocalist: Sarah Brightman (few could bridge pop & classical as well). 

Best Broadway Musical: Phantom>West Side Story>Sound of Music>My Fair Lady

Best Broadway Composer Combo: Rodgers & Hammerstein (prolific quality)>Andrew Lloyd Webber & co.

Best Rock Composer/Singer: Elton John>Paul McCartney, Freddy Mercury

Best Male Rock Singer: Freddy Mercury, Roy Orbison

Best Rock Group: Beatles > Moody Blues > Stones (no, not the Spice Girls, OK?)

Best Pop/Rock Composer: David Foster > Jim Webb > Dianne Warren simply b/c of the volume of work

Best Opera Tenor: Pavarotti > Caruso (too young to appreciate)

Best Opera Soprano: Maria Callas

Most Perfect Song: White Christmas >Over The Rainbow

Personal Favorite Pop Song(s): You've Got It (Simply Red), I Won't Give You Up (Stylistics), Betcha' By Golly Wow (Stylistics), Someone To Come Home To (Tavares), Hard Core Poetry (Tavares), Candle In the Wind (Elton John), My Song (Elton John), A Love So Beautiful (Roy Orbison), The Show Must Go On (Queen-i.e. Freddy Mercury).

 

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