A concerto (
The concerto originated as a genre of
In the second half of the 18th century, the
In the second half of the 20th century and onwards into the 21st a great many composers have continued to write concertos, including
Concertos from previous ages have remained a conspicuous part of the repertoire for concert performances and recordings. Less common has been the previously common practice of the composition of concertos by a performer to performed personally, though the practice has continued via international competitions for instrumentalists such as the Van Cliburn Piano Competition and the Queen Elisabeth Competition, both requiring performances of concertos by the competitors.
Concerto as a genre of vocal music
In the 17th century, sacred works for voices and orchestra were typically called concertos, as reflected by
The concerto began to take its modern shape in the late-Baroque period, beginning with the concerto grosso form developed by Arcangelo Corelli. Corelli's concertino group was two violins, a cello and basso continuo. In J. S. Bach's Fifth Brandenburg Concerto, for example, the concertino is a flute, a violin, and a harpsichord; although the harpsichord is a featured solo instrument, it also sometimes plays with the ripieno, functioning as a continuo keyboard accompaniment.
Later, the concerto approached its modern form, in which the concertino usually reduces to a single solo instrument playing with (or against) an orchestra. The main composers of concertos of the baroque were
The Baroque concerto was mainly for a string instrument (violin, viola, cello, seldom viola d'amore or harp) or a wind instrument (flute, recorder, oboe, bassoon, horn, or trumpet,). Bach also wrote a concerto for two violins and orchestra. During the Baroque period, before the invention of the piano, keyboard concertos were comparatively rare, with the exception of the organ and some harpsichord concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach.
The concertos of the sons of
C.P.E. Bach's keyboard concertos contain some virtuosic solo writing. Some of them have movements that run into one another without a break, and there are frequent cross-movement thematic references.
C. P. E. Bach wrote five flute concertos and two oboe concertos. Mozart wrote five horn concertos, with two for flute,
In the 19th century, the concerto as a vehicle for virtuosic display flourished, and concertos became increasingly complex and ambitious works. Whilst performances of typical concertos in the baroque era lasted about ten minutes, those by Beethoven could last half an hour or longer. The term concertino (composition), or the German Konzertstuck ("Concert Piece") began to be used to designate smaller pieces not considered large enough to be considered a full concerto, though the distinction has never been formalised and many Concertinos are still longer than the original Baroque concertos.
During the Romantic era the cello became increasingly used as a concerto instrument; though the violin and piano remained the most frequently used.
20th and 21st century
Many of the concertos written in the early 20th century belong more to the late Romantic school, hence modernistic movement. Masterpieces were written by
However, in the first decades of the 20th century, several composers such as
These changes also affected the concerto as a musical form. Beside more or less radical effects on musical language, they led to a redefinition of the concept of virtuosity that included new and extended instrumental techniques and a focus on previously neglected aspects of sound such as pitch, timbre and dynamics. In some cases, they also brought about a new approach to the role of soloists and their relation to the orchestra.
Two great innovators of early 20th-century music, Schoenberg and Stravinsky, both wrote violin concertos. The material in Schoenberg's concerto, like that in Berg's, is linked by the twelve-tone serial method. In the 20th century, particularly after the Second World War, the cello enjoyed an unprecedented popularity. As a result, its concertante repertoire caught up with those of the piano and the violin both in terms of quantity and quality.
The 20th century also witnessed a growth of the concertante repertoire of instruments, some of which had seldom or never been used in this capacity, and even a concerto for wordless coloratura soprano by Reinhold Glière. As a result, almost all classical instruments now have a concertante repertoire. Among the works of the prolific composer Alan Hovhaness may be noted Prayer of St. Gregory for trumpet and strings, though it is not a concerto in the usual sense of the term. In the later 20th century the concerto tradition was continued by composers such as Maxwell Davies, whose series of Strathclyde Concertos exploit some of the instruments less familiar as soloists.
Concertos with concert band:
- Bryant – 2007–2010[relevant?]
- Foss – 2002[relevant?]
- Husa – 1982
- Jacob – 1974[relevant?]
- Jager – 1982[relevant?]
Single solo instrument
- Bach's concerto for two harpsichords, BWV 1061.1
- Telemann's concertos for four violins
For one instrumental soloist and orchestra
For bowed string instrument and orchestra
Early Romantic traits can be found in the violin concertos of
- Arnold Schoenberg
- Igor Stravinsky
- Alban Berg
- Bartókwrote two concertos for violin.
- Russian composers Shostakovich each wrote two concertos while Khachaturianwrote a concerto and a Concerto-Rhapsody for the instrument.
- Hindemith's concertos hark back to the forms of the 19th century, even if the harmonic language he used was different.
- Three violin concertos from David Diamond show the form in neoclassical style.[relevant?]
- In 1950 Carlos Chávez completed a substantial Violin Concerto with an enormous central cadenza for the unaccompanied violin.
- Dutilleux's L'Arbre des songes has proved an important addition to the repertoire and a fine example of the composer's atonal yet melodic style.[relevant?]
- Other composers of major violin concertos include
- Vivaldi's cello concertos RV 398–403, 405–414 and 416–424
- Haydn wrote two cello concertos (for cello, oboes, horns, and strings), which are the most important works in that genre of the classical era.
- Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach wrote three cello concertos and Luigi Boccherini wrote twelve cello concertos.
- Antonín Dvořák's cello concerto ranks among the supreme examples from the Romantic era while Robert Schumann's focuses on the lyrical qualities of the instrument.
- The instrument was also popular with composers of the Franco-Belgian tradition: Saint-Saëns and Vieuxtemps wrote two cello concertos each and Lalo and Jongen one.
- Tchaikovsky's contribution to the genre is a series of Variations on a Rococo Theme. He also left very fragmentary sketches of a projected Cello Concerto. Cellist Yuriy Leonovich and Tchaikovsky researcher Brett Langston published their completion of the piece in 2006.
- Carl Reinecke, David Popper and Julius Klengel also wrote cello concertos that were popular in their time and are still played occasionally nowadays.
- Elgar's popular concerto, while written in the early 20th century, belongs to the late romantic period stylistically.
- An important factor for the 20th-century cello concerto was the rise of virtuoso cellist Mstislav Rostropovich. His outstanding technique and passionate playing prompted dozens of composers to write pieces for him, first in his native Soviet Union and then abroad. Among such compositions may be listed Sergei Prokofiev's Symphony-Concerto, Dmitri Shostakovich's two cello concertos, Benjamin Britten's Cello-Symphony (which emphasizes, as its title suggests, the equal importance of soloist and orchestra), Henri Dutilleux' Tout un monde lointain..., Cristóbal Halffter's two cello concertos, Witold Lutosławski's cello concerto, Dmitry Kabalevsky's two cello concertos, Aram Khachaturian's Concerto-Rhapsody, Arvo Pärt's Pro et Contra, Alfred Schnittke, André Jolivet and Krzysztof Penderecki second cello concertos, Sofia Gubaidulina's Canticles of the Sun, Luciano Berio's Ritorno degli Snovidenia, Leonard Bernstein's Three Meditations, James MacMillan's cello concerto and Olivier Messiaen's Concert à quatre (a quadruple concerto for cello, piano, oboe, flute and orchestra).
- In addition, several important composers who were not directly influenced by Rostropovich wrote cello concertos:
Double bass concerto
Other bowed string instruments
For plucked string instrument and orchestra
- Handel's Harp Concerto,
- Jean-Baptiste Krumpholz: Harp Concertos Op. 7 and Op. 9
- Francesco Petrini: Harp Concertos Op. 25, Op. 27 and Op. 29
- Ernst Eichner's Harp Concerto in D major, Op. 9
- Jan Ladislav Dussek: Harp Concertos Op. 15, Op. 30 and Craw 264
- François-Adrien Boieldieu's Harp Concerto in C major
- Nicolas-Charles Bochsa: Harp Concertos Op. 15 No. 1 and Op. 295
- Elias Parish Alvars: Harp Concertos Op. 81 and Op. 98
- Carl Reinecke's Harp Concerto, Op. 182
- John Thomas's Harp Concerto No. 1
- Henriette Renié's Harp Concerto in C minor
- Reinhold Glière's Harp Concerto
- Joseph Jongen's Harp Concerto
- Joaquín Rodrigo's Concierto serenata
- André Jolivet's Concerto for Harp and Chamber Orchestra (1952)
- Darius Milhaud's Harp Concerto, Op. 323 (1953)
- Heitor Villa-Lobos's Harp Concerto
- Alberto Ginastera's Harp Concerto
- Einojuhani Rautavaara's Harp Concerto (2000)
- Guitar Concerto: Arnold, E. Bernstein, Brouwer, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Hovhaness, Malmsteen, Ohana, Ponce, Rodrigo, Trigos, Villa-Lobos
Other plucked string instruments
For woodwind instrument and orchestra
- Western concert flute Concerto: Aho, Arnold, Corigliano, Davies, Denisov, Dusapin, Harman, Hétu, Ibert, Jolivet, Landowski, Nielsen, Penderecki, Piston, Rautavaara, Rodrigo, Takemitsu, J. Williams
- Contrabass flute Concerto: McGowan[relevant?]
- Piccolo Concerto: Davies, Liebermann
- Recorder concerto: Malcolm Arnold, Richard Harvey
- Soprano saxophone Concerto: Aho, Higdon, Hovhaness, Mackey, Torke, Yoshimatsu.
- Alto saxophone Concerto: Adams, Creston, Dahl, Denisov, Dubois, Glazunov, Husa, Ibert, Koch, Larsson, Maslanka, Muczynski, Salonen, Ticheli, Tomasi, J. Williams, Worley, Yoshimatsu
- Tenor saxophone Concerto: Bennett, Ewazen, Gould, Nicolau, Ward, Wilder.
- Baritone saxophone Concerto: Gaines, Glaser, Haas, van Beurden
Other woodwind instruments
For brass instrument and orchestra
- Trumpet Concerto:
- Bohemian composer Francesco Antonio Rosetti composed several solo and double horn concertos. He was a significant contributor to the genre of horn concertos in the 18th century. Most of his outstanding horn concertos were composed between 1782 and 1789 for the Bohemian duo Franz Zwierzina and Joseph Nage while at the Bavarian court of Oettingen-Wallerstein. One of his best-known works in this genre is his Horn Concerto in E flat major C49/K III:36. It consists of three movements: 1. Allegro moderato 2. Romance 3. Rondo. Many common features of the galant style are present in Rosetti's music and composing style. In his E-flat horn concerto, we hear periodic and short phrases, galant harmonic rhythm and melodic line reduction. Rosetti's influence on the 18th century composers, musicians and music was considerable. At the Bavarian court of Oettingen-Wallerstein, his music was often performed by the Wallerstein ensembles. In Paris, his compositions were performed by the best ensembles of the city, including the orchestra of the Concert Spirituel. His publishers were Le Menu et Boyer and Sieber. According to H. C. Robbins Landon (Mozart scholar), Rosetti's horn concertos might have been a model for Mozart's horn concertos.[relevant?]
- French horn Concerto: Aho, Arnold, Arutiunian, Atterberg, Bowen, Carter, Davies, Glière, Gipps, Hindemith, Hovhaness, Jacob, Knussen, Ligeti, Murail, Penderecki, Strauss, Tomasi, J. Williams
Other brass instruments
- Cornet Concerto: Wright[relevant?]
- Tuba Concerto: Aho, Arutiunian, Broughton, Gagneux, Holmboe, Vaughan Williams, J. Williams
- Harpsichord concertos, BWV 1052–1059(Bach)
- Organ concertos, Op.4
- Organ concertos, Op.7
- Organ concerto: Arnold, Hanson, Harrison, Hétu, Hindemith, Jongen, MacMillan, Peeters, Poulenc, Rorem, Sowerby
- Three Concertos after J.C. Bach, K. 107
- No. 1 in F major, K. 37
- No. 2 in B♭ major, K. 39
- No. 3 in D major, K. 40
- No. 4 in G major, K. 41
- No. 5 in D major, K. 175
- No. 6 in B♭ major, K. 238
- No. 8 in C major, K. 246 (Lützow)
- No. 9 in E♭ major, K. 271 (Jeunehomme / Jenamy)
- No. 11 in F major, K. 413
- No. 12 in A major, K. 414
- No. 13 in C major, K. 415
- No. 14 in E♭ major, K. 449
- No. 15 in B♭ major, K. 450
- No. 16 in D major, K. 451
- No. 17 in G major, K. 453
- No. 18 in B♭ major, K. 456
- No. 19 in F major, K. 459
- No. 20 in D minor, K. 466
- No. 21 in C major, K. 467
- No. 22 in E♭ major, K. 482
- No. 23 in A major, K. 488
- No. 24 in C minor, K. 491
- No. 25 in C major, K. 503
- No. 26 in D major, K. 537 (Coronation)
- No. 27 in B♭ major, K. 595
- Beethoven's five piano concertos increase the technical demands made on the soloist. The last two are particularly remarkable, integrating the concerto into a large symphonic structure with movements that frequently run into one another. His Piano Concerto No. 4 starts with a statement by the piano, after which the orchestra enters in a foreign key, to present what would normally be the opening tutti. The work has a lyrical character. The slow movement is a dramatic dialogue between the soloist and the orchestra. His Piano Concerto No. 5 has the basic rhythm of a Viennese military march. There is no lyrical second subject, but in its place a continuous development of the opening material.
- The piano concertos of
- Chopin wrote two piano concertos in which the orchestra is relegated to an accompanying role. Schumann, despite being a pianist-composer, wrote a piano concerto in which virtuosity is never allowed to eclipse the essential lyrical quality of the work. The gentle, expressive melody heard at the beginning on woodwind and horns (after the piano's heralding introductory chords) bears the material for most of the argument in the first movement. In fact, argument in the traditional developmental sense is replaced by a kind of variation technique in which soloist and orchestra interweave their ideas.
- Grieg's concerto likewise begins in a striking manner after which it continues in a lyrical vein.
- Saint-Saëns wrote five piano concertos and orchestra between 1858 and 1896, in a classical vein.
- Brahms's First Piano Concerto in D minor (pub 1861) was the result of an immense amount of work on a mass of material originally intended for a symphony. His Second Piano Concerto in B♭ major (1881) has four movements and is written on a larger scale than any earlier concerto. Like his violin concerto, it is symphonic in proportions.
- Fewer piano concertos were written in the late Romantic Period. But Sergei Rachmaninoff wrote four piano concertos between 1891 and 1926. His Second and Third, being the most popular of the four, went on to become among the most famous in the piano repertoire.
- Other romantic piano concertos, like those by Kalkbrenner, Henri Herz, Moscheles and Thalberg were also very popular in the Romantic era, but not today.
- Maurice Ravel wrote two pianos concertos, one in G-major (1931) and the second for the left hand in D-major (date of creation1932).
- Igor Stravinsky wrote three works for solo piano and orchestra:
- Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments
- Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra
- Movements for Piano and Orchestra
- Sergei Prokofiev, another Russian composer, wrote five piano concertos, which he himself performed.
- Dmitri Shostakovich composed two piano concertos.
- Aram Khachaturian contributed to the repertoire with a piano concerto and a Concerto-Rhapsody.
- dodecaphonicpiano concerto.
- Béla Bartók also wrote three piano concertos. Like their violin counterparts, they show the various stages in his musical development. Bartok's also rearranged his chamber piece, Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, into a Concerto for Two Pianos and Percussion, adding orchestral accompaniment.
- Cristóbal Halffter wrote a prize-winning neoclassical Piano Concerto in 1953, and a second Piano Concerto in 1987–88.
- Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote a concerto for piano, though it was later reworked as a concerto for two pianos and orchestra—both versions have been recorded
- Benjamin Britten's concerto for piano (1938) is a prominent work from his early period.
- Piano concertos by Latin-American composers include one by Carlos Chávez, two by Alberto Ginastera, and five by Heitor Villa-Lobos.
- György Ligeti's concerto (1988) has a synthetic quality: it mixes complex rhythms, the composer's Hungarian roots and his experiments with micropolyphony from the 1960s and 1970s.
- Witold Lutosławski's piano concerto, completed in the same year, alternates between playfulness and mystery. It also displays a partial return to melody after the composer's aleatoric period.
- Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin has written six piano concertos.
- Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara wrote three piano concertos, the third one dedicated to Vladimir Ashkenazy, who played and conducted the world première.
- French composer Germaine Tailleferre and Czech composers Bohuslav Martinů and Vítězslava Kaprálová wrote piano concertos.
Other keyboard instruments
- Piazzolla
- Clavinet concerto: Woolf[relevant?]
- Yamaha GX-1: Akutagawa[relevant?]
Other instrumental soloist
- Timpani concerto: Aho, Druschetzky, Glass, Kraft, Rosauro
- Xylophone concerto: Mayuzumi[relevant?]
Free reed aerophone
- Harmonica concerto: Arnold, Hovhaness, Vaughan Williams, Villa-Lobos
- Sheng Concerto: Unsuk Chin.[relevant?]
Electronic musical instrument
For multiple instruments and orchestra
In the Baroque era, two violins and one cello formed the standard
- Vivaldi's concertos for 2 violins, for 2 cellos, for 2 mandolins, for 2 trumpets, for 2 flutes, for oboe and bassoon, for cello and bassoon (etc.)
- Concerto for Two Violins
- Concertos for two harpsichords: 1062
- Telemann's Concerto for Two Violas
- Haydn's concerto for violin and keyboard (usually referred to as the Keyboard Concerto No. 6)
- Salieri's double concerto for flute and oboe
- Felix Mendelssohn:
- Johannes Brahms's Double Concerto for violin and cello
- Max Bruch:
- Dmitri Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 1 (soloists: piano, trumpet)
- Malcolm Arnold's Concerto for Two Violins and String Orchestra
- Francis Poulenc's Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra
- Ralph Vaughan Williams's Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra
- Elliott Carter's Double Concerto for Harpsichord and Piano with Two Chamber Orchestras
- Peter Maxwell Davies's Strathclyde Concerto No. 3 for horn, trumpet and orchestra, and No. 4 for violin, viola and string orchestra
- Arcangelo Corelli's twelve concerti grossi, Op. 6 for two violins and cello
- Vivaldi's concertos for 3 violins
- BWV 1050)
- Concertos for three harpsichords: 1064
- Triple Concerto, BWV 1044, for harpsichord, flute and violin
- Beethoven's Triple Concerto for piano, violin, and cello.
Four or more soloists
- L'estro armonico Nos. 1, 4, 7 and 10
- RV 555, featuring 3 violins, an oboe, 2 recorders, 2 viole all'inglese, a chalumeau, 2 cellos, 2 harpsichords and 2 trumpets.
- Concerto for Diverse Instruments in C major, RV 558
- Concerto in C major, RV 559, for two oboes, two clarinets, strings and continuo
- Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1 (BWV 1047)
- Concerto for 4 harpsichords, BWV 1065(after a concerto for four violins by Vivaldi)
- Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1 (
- Arnold Schoenberg's Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra
- Maxwell Davies's Strathclyde Concerto and No. 9 for piccolo, alto flute, cor anglais, E-flat clarinet, bass clarinet, contrabassoon and string orchestra.
- Frank Martin's Concerto for seven wind instruments, timpani, percussion, and string orchestra.
- rock band.
- Joaquín Rodrigo's Concierto Andaluz for 4 guitars.
- Alfred Schnittke's Concerto Grosso No. 3
- Olivier Messiaen's Concert à quatre for piano, cello, oboe and flute.
Concerto for orchestra
In the 20th and 21st centuries, several composers wrote concertos for orchestra. In these works, different sections and/or instruments of the orchestra or concert band are treated at one point or another as soloists with emphasis on solo sections and/or instruments changing during the piece. Some examples include those written by:
- Hindemith– Op. 38, 1925
- Kodály– 1940
- Bartók – Concerto for Orchestra– 1945
- Lutoslawski – Concerto for Orchestra– 1954
- Carter – 1969
- Knussen– 1969
- Lindberg – 2003[relevant?]
Chamber orchestra or string orchestra
- Vivaldi's Concerto alla rustica
- Bach's Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 3 (BWV 1051)
More than one orchestra
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