Music The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked  

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List Rules Vote up who you think are the greatest French composers of all time

Who are the greatest French composers of all time? This list is ranked from best to worst by Classical music fans all over the world. The best French composers hail from all walks of life and lived during various time periods. When it comes to some of the more famous composers on this list, they gained popularity during the Renaissance. Others gained notoriety during the Romantic period. A few of them even wrote music that is still popular today. 

What are some of the names you'll find on this French composers list? Claude Debussy's impressionist style made him a favorite of classical music fans in the 1890s and beyond. The flowing riffs of “Clair de Lune” still make for enchanting orchestrations all over the world. Hector Berlioz is another one of the most talented composers from France.

When it comes to avant-garde French composers it doesn't get much better than the “Gymnopédies” writer Eric Satie. Other good musicians that appear on this top French composers list include Jules Massenet, Jean-Phillipe Rameau and Marc-Antoine Charpentier.

Which of these composers do you think wrote the best pieces? Give your favorite composers a thumbs up and please add any great Classical musicians you think belong on this list.

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Claude Debussy is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Claude Debussy Classical Anthology, Clair de lune (Orchestre Radio-Symphonique Paris feat. conductor: Loic Bertrand, piano: Peter Schmalfuss

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Maurice Ravel is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Maurice Ravel Classical Anthology, Classic Gala, Bolero / Rapsodie espagnole / Ma mère l'oye / Pavane (London Symphony Orchestra feat. conductor: Claudio Abbado)

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Camille Saint-Saëns is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Camille Saint-Saëns Classical Anthology, Great Violin Concertos, Great Romantic Symphonies

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43 18
Georges Bizet is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Georges Bizet Classical Anthology, Carmen - Duets & Arias, Georges Bizet

5
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Gabriel Fauré is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Gabriel Fauré Mélodies (soprano: Elly Ameling, baritone: Gérard Souzay, piano: Dalton Baldwin)

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Hector Berlioz is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Hector Berlioz Classical Anthology, Eternal Classics, Great Romantic Symphonies

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Erik Satie is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Erik Satie Early Piano Works, Volume 2, The Best of Erik Satie

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François Couperin is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
François Couperin Parkening and the Guitar: Music of Two Centuries, Pièces de Violes - 1728, Music for Harpsichord

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30 18
Jean-Philippe Rameau is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Jean-Philippe Rameau Harpsichord Works (disc 1), Keyboard Suites, Rameau: Platée / Pigmalion / Dardanus Ballet Suites (European Union Baroque Orchestra feat. conductor: Roy Goodman)

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Jacques Offenbach is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Jacques Offenbach Orpheus in the Underworld and Seven Other Favourites, Gaité Parisienne / Offenbachiana (Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo^! feat. conductor Manuel Rosenthal), Gaite Parisienne (The Boston Pops Orchestra feat. conductor: Arthur Fiedler)

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Francis Poulenc is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Francis Poulenc Parkening and the Guitar: Music of Two Centuries, Songs, Chopin / Fauré / Poulenc: Pieter Wispelwey (cello) And Paolo Giacometti (piano)

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Léo Delibes is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Léo Delibes Lakmé (Orchestre National de l’Opéra de Monte-Carlo feat. conductor: Richard Bonynge), Lakmé, Delibes: Sylvia Ballet Suite

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Charles Gounod is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Charles Gounod Opera Favourite Highlights: Bizet / Gounod / Rossini, Faust - Highlights (feat. conductor: Michel Plasson), Faust (Highlights) (Orchestre et Chœurs du Théâtre National de l'Opéra de Paris feat. chorus master: Jean LaForge

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Jean-Baptiste Lully is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Jean-Baptiste Lully '50: Harmonia mundi. Le coffret du 50e anniversaire, Petits Motets (Les Arts Florissants feat. conductor: William Christie), Choral Music

The Greatest Romantic Era Composers

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Olivier Messiaen is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Olivier Messiaen Eesti orelid 2, Madeline Forte Plays Piano Music Of Messiaen, Turangalîla-Symphonie / Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps

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Jules Massenet is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Jules Massenet Opera Duets (Agnes Baltsa, Jose Carreras, Tallis Chamber Choir

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Marc-Antoine Charpentier is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Marc-Antoine Charpentier Médée (Les Arts Florissants feat. conductor: William Christie), Requiem / Laudate dominum / Exsultate, jubilate

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Paul Dukas is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
RohanSrinivasan added Paul Dukas Dukas: The Sorcerer's Apprentice / Mussorgsky: A Night on the Bare Mountain / Ravel: Boléro, Orgel-Symphonie / L'Apprenti Sorcier (Berliner Philharmoniker, feat. conductor: James Levine

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Édouard Lalo is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
RohanSrinivasan added Édouard Lalo Great Violin Concertos, The Romantic Album, Cello Concertos (New Philarmonia Orchestra feat. conductor: Sir Charles Mackerras

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Pierre Boulez is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Pierre Boulez Concerto for Orchestra / Four Orchestral Pieces, Bluebeard's Castle, The Piano Concertos (feat. conductor: Pierre Boulez)

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Ernest Chausson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
RohanSrinivasan added Ernest Chausson Concerto in D for Violin, Piano and String Quartet / Sonata in G for Violin and Piano, Nicola Benedetti: Szymanowski / Chausson / Saint-Saëns (London Symphony Orchestra feat. conductor: Daniel Harding

The Best Concert Movies Streaming on Hulu

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Darius Milhaud is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Darius Milhaud Scaramouche, etc. (Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo feat. conductor: Georges Prêtre), Darius Milhaud/Composers in Person

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Guillaume de Machaut is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Guillaume de Machaut The Complete Recorder Works of Rubbra and Britten (The Flautadors^! Dante Quartet), Messe de Notre-Dame (Ensemble Organum feat. conductor: Marcel Pérès), Motets (The Hilliard Ensemble)

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Jean Françaix is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
RohanSrinivasan added Jean Françaix

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Cécile Chaminade is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
RohanSrinivasan added Cécile Chaminade Fauré / Debussy / Ravel: Piano Trios (Trio Fontenay), Mots d'amour (mezzo-soprano: Anne Sofie von Otter, piano: Bengt Forsberg)

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Jean-Féry Rebel is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
benddan added Jean-Féry Rebel Rebel: 4 Elements / Vivaldi: 4 Seasons, Rebel: Les Elémens / Destouches: Les Eléments (The Academy Of Ancient Music feat. conductor: Christopher Hogwood)

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Vincent d'Indy is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
RohanSrinivasan added Vincent D'indy The 20th-century Concerto Grosso, French Music for Piano and Orchestra (National Symphony Orchestra feat. conductor: Antonio de Almeida, piano: François-Joël Thiollier)

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Eugène Bozza is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
RohanSrinivasan added Eugène Bozza

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Florent Schmitt is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
RohanSrinivasan added Florent Schmitt Antoine & Cléopâtre

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Arthur Honegger is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Arthur Honegger Igor Stravinsky - Le Sacre Du Printemps, Le Roi David, King David (Chorus & Orchestra of St. John's Cathedral

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Emmanuel Chabrier is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Emmanuel Chabrier The Founding Years: Mozart: Symphony no. 35 "Haffner" / Chabrier: España / Sibelius: Tempest / Mozart: Mass in C minor / Handel: Israel in Egypt, Falla, CHABRIER: España / Joyeuse marche / Suite pastorale (Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra

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Philippe Gaubert is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
RohanSrinivasan added Philippe Gaubert

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Adolphe Adam is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Adolphe Adam