I generally don’t factor in musical/historical importance in ranking the best work because other people opinion of a work shouldn’t influence my personal opinion of a work but I do think influence plays a large factor in how I rank a piece of music as bad. If a piece of music I dislike has historical importance then it’s a far worst work because it makes my listening habits more difficult because it inspired other composition that I think sucks
1. Schoenberg Piano concerto - Writing program music while ignoring the role tonality plays in the language music due to the belief that tonality is a social construct makes this a disaster and the most inadequate piece of music in history. At least when other composer used 12 tone technique they embraced the negative emotion inherent within that musical language or produce abstract piece of music that is designed to avoid emotional expression as a rebellion towards romanticism
2. Schoenberg Pierrot lunaire - the first major atonal piece of music and hence the musi to blame. I can sympathised with the audience member pointed at Schoenberg during this performance and shouted out “shoot him”. Avoids the number one spot because the music can be somewhat justified from a romantic point of view of depicting drunkened/intoxicated state which is described in the poem and hence make it slightly adequate
3. Stravinsky the rite of spring - his usage of overlapping ostinsto is like someone dropped a jigsaw puzzle on the ground mixes it around randomly and then stitched it together. He also invented polytonality and hence makes this this piece the Frankenstein monster of tonality
4. Wagner ring cycle - wagner’s Ill conceived treasonous music drama reaches it’s apotheosis with the tedious bloated 16 hours ring cycle.
5. Brett dean - hamlet - this is probably the worst piece of music on this list. It’s a lengthy atonal opera that believes that all the emotions in a Shakespeare play can be depicted purely by atonal music pretending that tonality has no influence in emotional expression in a piece of music
6. Boulez - Structures - I played this to a friend and he said “that sounds like a cat having a stroke on a piano”
7. Bernstein - serenade after Plato’s symposium- Bernstein you fool, instead of saying f**k you to all the critics who demean his composition and just keep on making populist works he made an attempt to appease these modernist freaks by incorporating 12 tone technique to his composition. Again looking at the program description of the music it was attemp to depict discussion about love. Yet Bernstein thinks that this could be portrayed via atonal music ignoring the pre-ze is Ying language of music. Shame on you Bernstein for selling your soul
8. Terry Riley - in C - yawn harmonic stasis
9. Verdi Falstaff - not you too Verdi. Verdi took Wagner’s music drama to a new level where the singing reflects the normal speed and cadence of speech instead of unique nature of music and singing itself. Essentially the opera is one long recitative which is the worst part of opera in general. The music dramatist will claim arias to be an artificial music construct that impinge on drama and celebrate this change. I say Verdi joined Wagner as a traitor of music in his final opera. You could even argue that Verdi messed things up even further as at least Wagner music is psychological and has the spirit of aria and in line with the spirit of music. What a depressing end to a great career
10. Beethoven Wellington’s victory - Probably the biggest discrepancy between the quality of a composer and quality of a piece of music in history of music.