Concerto (Fr. concert; Ger. Konzert)
- Arthur Hutchings,
- Michael Talbot,
- Cliff Eisen,
- Leon Botstein
- and Paul Griffiths
(Fr. concert; Ger. Konzert)
An instrumental work that maintains contrast between an orchestral ensemble and a smaller group or a solo instrument, or among various groups of an undivided orchestra. Before 1700 the term was applied to pieces in a variety of forms for an even greater variety of performing media, voices as well as instruments; it was also used in the sense of ‘ensemble’ or ‘orchestra’. Not until the beginning of the 18th century was it applied consistently (though not exclusively) to works in three movements (fast–slow–fast) for soloist and orchestra, two or more soloists and orchestra (concerto grosso) or undivided orchestra.
In the late 18th century and during most of the 19th and the solo concerto was a prominent form of virtuoso display, while, in the same period, the concerto grosso fell out of public favour; some of its aspects were subsumed by the short-lived form of the Symphonie concertante. During its long history, the concerto has built on forms and procedures adopted by Corelli, Torelli, Vivaldi, J.S. Bach and later composers, particularly Mozart, to develop into a form that ranks with the symphony and the string quartet in the range of its artistic expression....