Here's a list for your Friday. Like a lot of lists, it's interesting, puzzling, objection-provoking .... So with that caveat:
A media company called Instant Encore has surveyed classical performances during the past year and calculated composers who were played most often. You can find a few details, and the list itself here.
No surprise that Beethoven and Mozart rank high. I'm a little surprised to see a composer like Bohuslav Martinu come in fairly high. He never composed a "bestseller," though he does have a long list of pieces to his credit. Leonard Bernstein, who does not have a huge list of sonatas, symphonies, chamber works, etc., also shows up fairly high--maybe all those Broadway performances of "West Side Story"? Anyhow. I'm quibbling, so maybe the list is doing its job.
(Disclosure: We sometimes partner with Instant Encore in offering downloads to you, such as this recent recital by Susan Graham.)
It is encouraging, if there is any encouragement one should take from a list like this, that of the top 50 composers 26 lived in the 20th Century. It is horrible to realize that only one (John Williams) is still alive.
What about a list of the top 100 most read authors of 2009? How many would be alive or dead? What about movie directors? What about playwrights? What about choreographers? What about poets?
Is music so much more into necrophilia than other art forms ? Or is it just me? Of course, I should point out that I'm a living composer.