Ah yes, that list is what I call average classical. It's like the stuff you hear on commercials and the likes. I used to hate classical because of these fellows. It's not that I particularly hated them, but I just couldn't get into classical through them because there wasn't this "link", this feeling I had to have that attached me to stuff. I mean, even their sad songs don't even sound that sad, to me at least. To me, it all sounds "sterile", not in the literal sense, because that's just not true, but just for me. I couldn't get an emotional tie to the stuff.
I got turned away from classical for the longest time because of these composers (With the exception of Beethoven and Bach, whom I've always liked). I was about to give up classical as something I'd never understand until I found out about Erik Satie:
This started it all. This piece, all of his pieces were so different from all other classical pieces I've ever listened to; This was no surprise as Satie never quite liked romanticism and the previous classical composers and their ways. He had an entirely different style, one that was a kind of predessecor to other musical genres (Muzak, "furniture music" and ambient of the likes of Brian Eno and friends). I suppose this is my Number 1. Here's a good documentary on Erik Satie:
After Erik Satie, I wanted to look for similar artists, and many people have told me that he hung out with Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, and they composed in a musical style inspired by the paintings of the impressionist painters, which is what they called themselves:
These are my numbers 2 and 3.
After a while, I wanted to go back to the ones I disliked and see if I liked them now, at this point, I found a composer named Gustav Mahler:
Now, this was some really heavy stuff. I went to listen to all of hy symphonies and all of them were great, and even moreso, all of them had that "link" I couldn't find in Mozart or the other usual folks. I guess at this point, I was well on my way to becoming addicted to classical. This is my number 4.
After Mahler, I better appreciated Mozart and friends but I still didn't like them, I just put away my issues with them. I wanted to go more modern, as it seemed that has never let me down. Enter Stravinsky and Shostakovich and my numbers 5 and 6:
From here, I wanted to go even more modern, to see what's going on so far, an I discovered Alfred Schnittke, my number 7, and oh man, was this a real mindscrew:
If you want to take a gander at the abyss, this guy will help you there. All of his works are so deliciously dark and demonic. Very excellent. From here I went to the Minimalists:
Steve Reich: http://youtu.be/fx27voOtpNs
Terry Riley: http://youtu.be/BHBvoBti_eg
I find it harder and harder to write. I don't know who said it, but someone said writing about music is like dancing about architecture. I'll just leave it to you to hear them and let them speak for themselves. Those are my numbers 8 and 9.
Long ago, I found out about John Cage and his radical 4'33'' and the more avante-garde classical at the time. I liked a lot of it, but there was one composer in particular that stood far out from the rest, and that guy was Morton Feldman:
This guy... He was a lot like Satie. He spend most of his time in music school arguing with his teachers about what music should be like. I found a kindred spirit in him. I never got classical music before when it was all Mozart and Schubert and Haydn so on. His music is so quiet, so meaningful, so sad. It's quite avante-garde, so it takes some buffering time for someone used to only Mozart or Beethoven, or even Mahler, Satie, Reich and everyone else on my list, to get into him but his work, imo, is really something special from all the other composers I've ever listened to. He's my number 10 favorite composer.
And now, some honorable mentions:
Perotin, a very OLD composer: http://youtu.be/bpgaEFmdFcM
This is a funny quirk. I actually like Medieval composers/Gregorian chant because they were actually similar to modern composers in a certain sense (Hard to explain, since I'm not musically educated). Somehwere along the line, composers like Mozart and Beethoven, the classical and romantic periods, changed their musical style.
Arvo Part: http://youtu.be/PzSlmWQuHFw
Modern composer, and very excellent.
John Luther Adams: http://youtu.be/g6wX1c-Zk9Q
Inspired by Morton Feldman and the natural areas of Alaska, so naturally, I'd like his work. Very beautiful stuff.
Simeon Ten Holt: http://youtu.be/f7yeIWne0iw
This piece is magnificent. This is my number 11, if I could add in a number 11. IT's a strange piece that just makes you want to reflect the longer you listen to it. It's a really amazing song.
And for now, that is it, because this is already a long list, but at least I gave you some recommendations that are more on the modern side, which I think more people should look into, as there's a lot of neat stuff there waiting to be found and enjoyed. As always, this is all my opinion, I have no musical background and the likes