I'm sitting here now listening to Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherezade, and before that some chamber works of Debussy on Vermont Public Radio, and it got me to thinking. As a composer and fan of music there's a very direct link to "classical" music (a loaded term, at best) including the likes of symphonic and chamber music of the last three or four centuries and ambient, spacemusic, whathaveyou. For instance, Gustav Mahler in the first few minutes of his Ninth Symphony (from 1910) uses an excellent compositional technique that really alludes to an echoed guitar or piano, pre-dating this kind of compositional method and technology by 40-50 years; it's done in the strings, and very much creates a textural and spatial experience that I find extremely reminiscent of Eno's Discreet Music, and portions of Pink Floyd's earlier post-Syd Barret, pre-Darkside work. Anyhow, as I sit here listening to Scheherezade, which is by no means anything other than a densely packed symphonic tone poem, there are still parts where the main melody floats on a textural harmonic fabric, which truly brings to mind some of the finest offerings of this genre, and of the Hypnos label, itself including James Johnson, Jeff Pearce and Richard Bone, as well as Justin Vanderberg's In Waking Moments, which I've been enjoying very much of late.
I just wanted to see what other kinds of classical or contemporary composition music is being listened to by fans of the ambient music genre. For me, there's Debussy, Vaughan-Williams, Satie (of course), Ravel (Daphne et Chloe, for sure), Arvo Part, Alan Hovanhess, John Barry, and Mahler.
One of the other things that comes to mind about "classical" and contemporary compositions and ambient is in both instances, these genres lend themselves to a deeper, richer and less superficial, listening experience. Curious to hear what others think...