Not earlier than Bach nor later than Chopin, Schubert.
My list of favorite "second tier" composers:
Geminiani (Love him. He was an art collector with a strong taste for Irish fiddle music.)
Wassanear [sic?] (Nobleman who only wrote 6 concerti but was a musical genius.)
William Herchel (The great astronomer & a phenomenally good composer -- yes, they were all geniuses back then.)
Micheal Haydn (Joseph Haydn's older brother whose choral works approach genius. J Haydn flatly considered his brother's choral works to be superior to his own and Mozart's Requiem sounds uncannily like M Haydn's own Requiem for his little daughter. Mozart idolized M Haydn's music and grew up with M Haydn in Salzburg. Mozart's 37th Symphony is actually by M Haydn with an intro by Mozart.)
Johann Friedrich Fasch (Mentioned as a favorite composer by Bach. Sort of a cross between Telemann and Handel.)
Johann Dismas Zelenka (Also mentioned as a favorite by Bach. The vast majority of his compositions were destroyed by the Dresden bombing. The few choral works that survive can be quite powerful.)
Johann Ditters von Dittersdorf (Contemporary of Mozart who had a real gift for melody.
JC Bach (JS Bach's youngest son, the London Bach -- like watered down Mozart. Even so, he's always a step above mediocrity and can sometimes make you think you're listening to very early Mozart.) His Symphony in G minor comes out of nowhere and approaches greatness.
CPE Bach A complete eccentric.
WF Bach Bach's "lost" eldest son. His solo keyboard works approach and display genius. His keyboard concertos won't be to everyone's cup of tea, but they bring a level of virtuosity to the keyboard unmatched by anyone in his generation. Died of a broken heart, spirit, and destitute. His orchestral suite is sometimes called JS Bach's "fifth suite".
Leopold Kozeluch Mozart's contemporary, played with Haydn and Mozart in their String Quartet meetings, and was the composer everyone was jealous of (not Mozart). He was the most prolific composer of the era: arrogant, conceited and vain. He had the effrontery to suggest to Mozart how he might have improved one of Haydn's Quartets. Mozart shot him down. All considered, Kozeluch's music is quite good. His few string quartets are incredibly beautiful in parts.
Jospeh Kraus Known as the "Swedish Mozart". Born the same year as Mozart, and died the same year. Haydn called him one of the period's great composers.
Juan Cristostomo de Arriaga A contemporary of Schubert. Called the "Spanish Mozart". He died at the age of 21 (I think). He was a genius who probably would have rivaled Schubert had he lived. His last works were three string quartets, far exceeding anything Schubert wrote at the same age.
William Boyce An English composer, one generation younger than Handel. Incredibly ebullient music.
Anyway, maybe I'll add more later. (I could do this all day and must stop.)
Last edited by VTPoet; January 1st, 2013 at 04:55 PM.
Linux: You reap what you tweak.
I like André Rieu, and the only Samuel Barber piece I know is Adagio For Strings.
I just find classical music very calming.
Toru Takemistu, a master of composing shifting timbres and sounds. Especially "From me flows what you call time" and the Reqiuem. So good!
I think even in The Netherlands he's mostly forgotten.
Talking of modern classical: Joe Hisaishi.
Wrote a lot of music for Japanese animator Miyazaki.
Like this piece from Totoro, a film I can watch over and over, not in the least part because of the music.
Linux: You reap what you tweak.