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classical concerto

  •          Change - Dominance of the Piano Concerto with the Piano in competition with the orchestra – continuity – Baroque solo concerto had same principle.

    ·         Continuity three movements – quick (Allegro) – slow – quick

    ·         Change – ritornello form for 1st movement replace with Sonata Form as the established Classical format takes shape. This featured a double exposition. The 3rd movement was frequently a rondo. Beethoven’s Piano Concerto in C minor.

    Change – unaccompanied cadenza at the end of the recapitulation of the 1st movement became standard. Usually improvised although later composed, it ended with a trill as a signal to the orchestra to re-enter to play the coda. Cadenza most often occurs in the 1st movement but could occur in either of the other two.

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romantic concerto

  • ·         Continuitythree movements – quick – slow – quick

    ·         Continuity – 1st movement still using sonata form but – changeno double exposition – themes shared between the soloist and the orchestra from the start. Mendelssohn

    ·         Changeposition of the cadenza moved and might occur at end of development instead of recapitulation/before the coda. Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor, Mendelssohn.

    ·         Change – sometimes the cadenza is omitted altogether. Mendelssohn Piano Concertos in G minor and D minor, Brahms Piano Concertos in D minor and Bb major.

    ·         Changeexperimentation of form and structure – not sticking to the Classical format.

    Weber’s Concertstuck for Piano and Orchestra (had 4 movements that were more or less continuous). Liszt’s Piano Concerto in Eb also strove for unity through a single subject used in all movements and all together as a single movement.

    ·         Change - more virtuosic writing for the soloist – rapid advancement in technique (particularly pianists and violinists) encouraged more brilliant and difficult writing.

    Continuity - element of contrast between the soloist and the orchestra but – change – the elements of contrast and display were more sharply emphasised as ‘the power of the orchestra went up against the artistry and technical brilliance of the orchestra’. Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1 in Bb minor.
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baroque concerto

Concerto Grosso – group of soloists


Solo Concerto: -

·         element of contrast with the soloist pitted against the rest of the orchestra

·         3 movements – quick – slow – quick with 1st movement in ritornello form.

·         Cadenzas used but not standard

Keyboard concertos not standard

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ravels concerto

    Use of other soloists besides the Piano, particularly in movement 23 movements – quick – slow - quick

Use of Sonata form for 1st movement but no double exposition. 3rd movement is sonata form again not a rondo

Use of cadenza in 1st movement but positioned at end of Development and then as part of Recap plus a quasi-cadenza from another instrument (harp)

No cadenza in movement 3 which is also based on sonata form

  No double exposition – orchestra and soloist share the themes

One of the 1st movements 2 cadenzas appears at end of development but other is integral part of recapitulation.

 Elements of virtuosity in the 1st and 3rd movements but not in the 2nd.

Contrast evident but no real contest going on – so more like Classical! 

    Ravel stuck with the format inherited from the Romantic period of 3 movements and sonata form for the 1st movement.

Elements of 1st and 3rd movement are virtuosic and Ravel uses the full pitch range available. Wind instruments used at the extremes of their ranges in movements 2 and 3. 

Ravel admired Mozart and Saens-Saint and held melody as important in the same way they did.

  Jazz influence in 1st and 3rd movement

Bitonality, pentatonic, modal, extended chords, impressionist harmony evident throughout.

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20th centuary

·         sonata form still the favoured plan for the 1st movement with a single exposition and 3 movements overall being the norm - Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3 - but Change - Period of experimentation in form with some concertos only having 2 movements, others having more. Berg Violin Concerto (2 movements)

·         Concertos written for unusual instruments . Vaughn-Williams Tuba Concerto. Rodrigo Concerto for guitar and orchestra. Gavin Bryars Bass Oboe Concerto.

·         Change- unusual groups of instruments used instead of the standard orchestra.

·         virtuosity still a feature but ­– changetaken to extremes with unusual instrumental techniques. Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3 (reputation as one of the more technically challenging)

·         solo concerto remained popular but – change – a return to the appeal of the Concerto Grosso. Stravinsky’Dumbarton Oaks’ Concerto for Fifteen Instruments(Stravinsky said he took Bach’s Brandenberg Concertos as a model), Bloch – Concerto Grosso No. 2 for strings and Piano

·         return to principles from the Baroque and Classical period (Neo-Classical and Neo Baroque) – influence of Mozart. Strauss Horn Concerto

·         other composers explored 20th century styles within the concerto – e.g. Serialism, Jazz. Gershwin Piano Concerto in F

 influence of other 20th century features in concertos – tonality (modality, pentatonic scales, bitonality), harmony (dissonance, extended chords) and rhythm.

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