There was a furor in the classical music community over The New York Times music critic Anthony Tommasini’s recent list of the ten greatest classical composers. The author himself characterized the project as "absurd." It's not that his choices were outrageous, though of course there were plenty of commentators chiming in that some of their favorites had been left off. It's that ten is an absurdly small number. One doesn’t really learn anything from such a list, and as has already been suggested, some people might get the erroneous impression that in the whole long history of classical music, there haven't been all that many great composers.
Well, I love making lists, and I'm as opinionated as the next guy, so I couldn't resist replying. But not on his terms! What's the point in repeating an absurd exercise? The first thing that was obvious was that the list would be better if it were longer, since one of the best things about lists is how they can stimulate awareness of more than "the usual suspects." Tommasini's list is, I suppose, fine as a starting point for neophytes, but it's more useful, and more fun, to explore some roads less traveled.