This World Cup of Composers is a much larger undertaking than I first imagined. With that in mind I think it is wise to review where we are in the process.
This is a single elimination tournament--except for Glinka who mysteriously got two bids. The format is much closer to that of the NCAA Basketball Tournament than the World Cup.
I suppose this could be called Classical Music Madness in an attempt to copy the “March Madness” of the NCAA Tournament but Classical Music Madness sounds too much like an introductory line of orchestral recordings.
Right now the tournament is taking place in England but so far we have completed the first round in Italy, France, and Russia with Germany, Austria, and the U.S. yet to come.
What does make sense about the World Cup format is that the U.S. will be a non-factor. If an American composer takes out someone such as Mussorgsky or Donizetti or Delius it will be a huge victory but does Copland or Bernstein or Barber stand a chance against Verdi or Tchaikovsky or Berlioz?
Here are the current standings in the cup midway through the first round.
France: Berlioz, Saint- Saëns, Gounod, Massenet, Offenbach, Bizet, Debussy, and Ravel.
Italy: Vivaldi, Rossini, Puccini, Verdi, Leoncavallo, Donizetti, Respighi and Bellini.
Mother Russia: Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Mussorgsky, Borodin and Chesnokov.
England: Thomas Tallis, and Delius with remaining matches between Smyth and Holst, Purcell and Bax, Sullivan and Britten, Butterworth and Handel, Tippet and Vaughan Williams, Elgar and Finzi.
By the time this all concludes we will have looked at over 100 different composers, many of whom wrote great music but aren’t household names.