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Decomposing Composers
Monty Python Lyrics

Beethoven's gone, but his music lives on,
And Mozart don't go shopping no more.
You'll never meet Liszt or Brahms again,
And Elgar doesn't answer the door.
Schubert and Chopin used to chuckle and laugh,
Whilst composing a long symphony,
But one hundred and fifty years later,
There's very little of them left to see.

They're decomposing composers.
There's nothing much anyone can do.
You can still hear Beethoven,
But Beethoven cannot hear you.

Handel and Haydn and Rachmaninov
Enjoyed a nice drink with their meal,
But nowadays, no one will serve them,
And their gravy is left to congeal.

Verdi and Wagner delighted the crowds
With their highly original sound.
The pianos they played are still working,
But they're both six feet underground.

They're decomposing composers.
There's less of them every year.
You can say what you like to Debussy,
But there's not much of him left to hear.

Claude Achille Debussy, Died, 1918.

Christophe Willebald Gluck, Died, 1787.

Carl Maria von Weber, Not at all well, 1825. Died, 1826.

Giacomo Meyerbeer, Still alive, 1863. Not still alive, 1864.

Modeste Mussorgsky, 1880, going to parties. No fun anymore, 1881.

Johan Nepomuk Hummel, Chatting away nineteen to the dozen with his mates down the pub every evening, 1836. 1837, nothing.

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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I love Monty Python (and this song) but this just really hits hard for me as a classical fan. I've listened to most of the people they've mentioned and have really grown to admire the greats, and sure, they've been dead for years, but when you really think about it, when you're listening to a Paganini recording, you're not hearing Paganini; you're hearing someone else play his music. We still have their compositions, but these original masters are gone and we'll never hear them truly played as originally intended in a concert hall today.
"There's less of them every year" was the line that really got me. Music nowadays has gotten more commercialized than ever, and I'm not saying all modern music is bad, but it's nowhere near as intimate. Many of the famous composers that are still alive are people like John Williams and Michael Giacchino- they're great, sure, but they're mostly known for film scores and background music. I hope we'll see a resurgence in complex instrumental music soon.


Same here, will there be anyone writing works like the classics. Not so far, but fingers crossed. I wonder if Bach and a Beethoven had any idea people,would still love and play their works hundreds of years after they were dead. Imagine a world without them,,,,no I can’t,


@MLC Yeah; I feel the same way! Still gives me conflicting emotions though.


It’s just fun, I’m a musician and like it. Monthy P you know.

igorwysocki82 wysocki

I love this tune. Yet, there is a substantive mistake. Chopin composed no single symphony. Just two concerti.

Derell Licht

Well, I doubt that Monty Python were exactly devout followers of classical music!!
I would guess that they were just collecting names of classical composers that they could fit into the song...

Beat Met

I was going to mention that. Perhaps, he was referring to Schubert?

tony lawlor

very clever, one of monty python's great songs

Franz Liszt

S-stop it right now, I'm crying!

Also, I'm not dead.

Gallafreyan DW

Great. Thank you very much!

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