Main content

Concertos: All for one and one for all?

Over 350 years concertos have evolved to be an exploration of the relationship between soloist and orchestra. How do they work and what is it like to be a soloist, asks Tom Service

With the help of violinist Pekka Kuusisto Tom Service explores the concerto from Vivaldi in the early 18th century to today's composers. How has the idea of the concerto evolved over three centuries and what are the challenges for the soloist, walking the tightrope of virtuosity, sandwiched between orchestral colleagues and expectant audience?

David Papp (producer)

Available now

30 minutes

Music Played

  • Jean Sibelius

    Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47: III. Allegro, ma non tanto

    Performer: Pekka Kuusisto. Performer: Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Leif Segerstam.
    • Ondine.
  • Sergey Rachmaninov

    Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30: First Movement

    Performer: David Helfgott.
    • Philips.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35: I. Allegro moderato

    Performer: Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Performer: Daniel Harding.
    • Decca.
  • Antonio Vivaldi

    The Four Seasons: Spring, RV269 - I. Allegro

    Performer: Virtuosi di Kuhmo. Performer: Pekka Kuusisto.
    • Ondine.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K219 'Turkish': I. Allegro aperto

    Performer: Pekka Kuusisto. Performer: Tapiola Sinfonietta. Performer: Olli Mustonen.
    • Ondine.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61: I. Allegro ma non troppo

    Performer: Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Performer: Sir Charles Mackerras.
    • Warner Classics.
  • Johannes Brahms

    Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77: I. Allegro non troppo

    Performer: Hilary Hahn. Performer: Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Performer: Neville Marriner.
    • Sony.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35: I. Allegro moderato

    Performer: Pekka Kuusisto. Performer: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Thomas Dausgaard.
    • BBC Recording.
  • Traditional

    Finnish folksong

    Performer: Pekka Kuusisto. Performer: Chorus - Proms Audience.
    • BBC Recording.
  • Dmitry Shostakovich

    Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 99: IV. Burlesque

    Performer: James Ehnes. Performer: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Kirill Karabits.
    • Onyx.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Violin Concerto in D: IV. Capriccio

    Performer: Hilary Hahn. Performer: Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Performer: Neville Marriner.
    • Sony.
  • Arnold Schoenberg

    Violin Concerto, Op. 36: II. Andante grazioso

    Performer: Hilary Hahn. Performer: Sveriges Radios Symfoniorkester. Performer: Esa‐Pekka Salonen.
    • DG.
  • John Adams

    Violin Concerto: I. quarter note = 78

    Performer: Chloë Hanslip. Performer: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Leonard Slatkin.
    • Naxos.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64: III. Allegro non troppo - Allegro molto vivace

    Performer: Janine Jansen. Performer: Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. Performer: Riccardo Chailly.
    • Decca.
  • Gyorgy Ligeti

    Violin Concerto: I. Praeludium

    Performer: Patricia Kopatchinskaja. Performer: Ensemble Modern. Performer: Péter Eötvös.
    • Naïve.
  • Philip Venables

    Venables Plays Bartok

    Performer: Pekka Kuusisto. Performer: BBC Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Sakari Oramo.
    • BBC Recording.

Broadcast

Six mind-expanding music podcasts to download in 2019

Six mind-expanding music podcasts to download in 2019

Love music? Looking for new ear-fodder for your commute? We've got you covered.

Why do we call it 'classical' music?

Why do we call it 'classical' music?

Tom Service poses a very simple question (with a not-so-simple answer).

Six of the world's most extreme voices

Six of the world's most extreme voices

From babies to Mongolian throat singers: whose voice is the most extreme of all?

How did the number 12 revolutionise music?

How did the number 12 revolutionise music?

How Schoenberg opened a new cosmos for composers and listeners to explore.

Why are we all addicted to bass?

Why are we all addicted to bass?

Bass is everywhere, but why do we enjoy it? Join Tom Service on a journey of discovery.

Watch the animations

Watch the animations

Join Tom Service on a musical journey through beginnings, repetition and bass lines.

When does noise become music?

When does noise become music?

We like to think we can separate “noise” from “music”, but is it that simple?

Podcast