Understanding some basics: Concerto and Concerto grosso

Concertos are musical works usually written for orchestras and feature a both musically and technically talented soloist or sometimes even a group of soloists. In its more than 300-year history, the designation concerto has been used to describe a large variety of musical pieces.

Here goes three of my favourites that you can explore to appreciate the different work pieces named concertos:

1) Vivaldi’s Four Violin Concerti ‘The Four Seasons‘, Opus 8 (1723-25) – here beautifully executed by the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin:

2) Liszt’s Piano Concerto Nr 1 in E-flat major, S.124 (1849) – with one of the finest pianists ever, Mrs. Martha Argerich:

3) Elliot Carter’s Double Concerto for Harpsichord and Piano with two Chamber Orchestras (1961)

On a separate note, Concerto grosso is more often used to refer to baroque compositions (1600-1750s) where a group of solo instruments establishes a conversation and are accompanied by an orchestra.

If you feel like appreciating how it sounds, here goes another suggestion: one of the oldest works in this arena, Händel’s Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, Nr 4, in A minor, HWV 322, written between 1739-40 – and considered one of his finest:

More to come on other music work formats. See ya!