Concerto for Orchestra

A concerto is a piece for a virtuoso soloist with a whole orchestra to accompany her. What is a concerto for orchestra? Bela Bartok invented the idea, creating a piece that is virtuosic for every instrument in turn. Other composers have been inspired by his example.

At a time when music was becoming abstract and academic, Morton Gould, born this day in 1913, wrote music that is friendly for the listener. His Concerto for Orchestra is virtuosic, jazzy, and a lot of fun.

Yuja Wang decides which piano to perfom on

My parents are musicians and they know how much discipline it takes to be a performer, but they told me when I was growing up, it’s just a hobby. Play with it. Enjoy it. So I’m still doing that, even as I’m enjoying a full performing schedule in halls around the world.

Al Hirschfield reminisces

For music nerds: Can you identify what concerto she was playing excerpts from on the 3 pianos?

Scarlatti

Domenico Scarlatti is known as a late bloomer. Beginning in his retirement, he wrote the 555 keyboard sonatas for which he is known today. But before that he had a career in church music, and his choral works are just being resurrected.

The best-known of his choral works is the Stabat Mater.

Here is an arrangement of one of his keyboard sonatas for virtuoso accordion.

Domenico Scarlatti was born this day in 1685.

8 perfect voices

The best musicians know that the simplest music is the most difficult. Any irregularity stands out when the flow is so sublimely smooth. Intonation is spot on each time, without vibrato.

This group is unconducted. There are long pauses. How to they move at exactly the same time?