- Rachmaninov – Piano Concerto No.2. This colossus of the piano repertoire topped the annual Classic FM Hall of Fame for the first time in 2001 and hasn’t strayed far since, reaching that No.1 spot an impressive eight times so far, since the chart began in 1996.
- Beethoven – Piano Concerto No.5 (‘Emperor’) We all know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in this case you absolutely can: Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.5 absolutely lives up to its imperial nickname.
- Grieg – Piano Concerto in A minor. The great Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg only completed one piano concerto during his lifetime, and it has become one of the most recognised in the world (thanks, in part, to the iconic comedy sketch by Morecambe and Wise, and the late André Previn).
- Shostakovich – Piano Concerto No.2. Shostakovich himself downplayed this concerto, saying it had “no redeeming artistic merits”, but audiences have always begged to differ.
- Raging Bull - Intermezzo from Cavelleria Rusticana (Pietro Mascagni) The juxtaposition of the physical drudgery and tragedy of Robert De Niro’s portrayal of boxer Jake LaMotta, balanced against the supremely romantic and indulgent nagging of Mascagni’s ‘Intermezzo’, has to be one of the greatest in cinema history.
- There Will Be Blood - Violin Concerto in D major (Johannes Brahms) The climax of There Will Be Blood has to be up there as one of the most unexpectedly perfect uses of classical music in a movie.
- The Man Who Wasn’t There - Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, ‘Pathetique’ (Ludwig Van Beethoven. The Coen Brothers’ queasy masterpiece features the slow movement of Beethoven’s ‘Pathetique’ throughout, peppered across the story as the quiet life of barber Ed Crane (Billy Bob Thornton) gradually gets turned completely upside down.
- Apocalypse Now - Flight Of The Valkyries (Richard Wagner) You can really measure the impact of Francis Ford Coppola’s movie by closing your eyes and listening to Wagner’s ‘Flight Of The Valkyries’ – chances are, rather than visualising a full stage production of The Ring Cycle, you’re picturing a swarm of helicopters blowing up the Vietnamese jungle.
- Messiaen: Turangalila
- Busoni: Piano Concerto
- Bach: Keyboard Concerto in D Minor
- Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 2
- Ligeti: Piano Concerto
- Grieg: Piano Concerto
- Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 3
- Ravel: Piano Concerto in G Major
- Chopin: Piano Concerto No.1
- Schumann: Piano Concerto
It’s not called a concerto, but Olivier Messiaen’s gargantuan ten-movement symphony to love, sex, God, and the universe features a solo piano part that could defeat any concerto on home turf. It was premiered in Boston in 1949, conducted by Leonard Bernstein, and was written for the French pianist Yvonne Loriod, whom Messiaen later married. Turanga...
Weighing in at 70 minutes and featuring a male chorus in the final movement – one of a mere handful of piano concertos that incorporates such an element – Ferruccio Busoni’s concerto, written between 1901 and 1904, can lay claim to being one of the biggest in the repertoire. That extends to the orchestration, which includes triple woodwind and a la...
This may be a controversial choice since Bach’s concertos are really for harpsichord. But that doesn’t mean they can’t also sound a million dollars on the modern piano, and in the 21st century, there is scant reason to confine them to quarters. There is a healthy number of them, all breathtakingly beautiful; among them, the D minor concerto edges a...
Nobody twinkles in quite the same way as Camille Saint-Saëns. His Piano Concerto No.2, one of the greatest piano concertos, was written (like Grieg’s) in 1868 and was once described as a progression “from Bach to Offenbach.” It opens, sure enough, with a solo piano cadenza that is not many miles away from the style of a baroque organ improvisation....
Written in the 1980s, György Ligeti’s Piano Concertois a true contemporary classic. In five movements, it is by turns playful, profound, and startling, often all three at once. Among its generous complement of percussion are castanets, siren whistle, flexatone, tomtoms, bongos, and many more; its musical techniques are every bit as lavish and inclu...
Grieg’s sole Piano Concerto (1868), one of the greatest piano concertos, made its publisher, Edition Peters, such a healthy profit that they gave its composer a holiday flat in their Leipzig premises. The concerto’s wide appeal is evident from the first note to the last: the dramatic opening drum-roll and solo plunge across the keyboard, the lavish...
Bela Bartók’s last piano concerto was written for his wife, Ditta Pásztory-Bartók, intended as her birthday present in 1945. The composer was seriously ill with leukemia and it killed him before he could complete the work; his friend Tibor Serly was tasked with orchestrating the final 17 bars. The concerto is collegial, serene, lively, even Mozarti...
Here the jazz age comes to Paris with iridescent orchestration, split-second timing, and the occasional crack of a whip. Writing in 1929-31, Ravelwas still relishing his recent trip to New York, during which his friend George Gershwin had taken him to the jazz clubs in Harlem; the impact is palpable. “Jazz is a very rich and vital source of inspira...
The lyricism, delicacy, and balance required in Chopin’s two concertos can show a pianist at his or her finest; as in Mozart, there is nowhere to hide, and any deficiency in touch or control from the soloist is instantly shown up. Nevertheless, this music is not just about pianistic proficiency: it’s hard to find any other romantic concertos that c...
Premiered in 1845, with Clara Schumann at the piano and Felix Mendelssohn conducting, this was the only one of Robert Schumann’s attempts at a piano concerto that made it to final, full-sized form. Its intimacy, tenderness, and ceaselessly imaginative ebb and flow open a window into the composer’s psyche and especially his devotion to Clara, whom h...
- Jessica Duchen
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- Beethoven's 5th (Emperor) Piano Concerto. I do love Rachmaninov and probably would have given his 2nd Piano Concerto the top spot, until I heard this piece in concert for the first time several years ago.
- Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Concerto. More beautiful than the 1st or 3rd, I can listen every day and never get tired of this. As a musician, and after listening to this for years, I remained shocked by its astounding quality.
- Tchaikovsky's 1st Piano Concerto. Nearly 140 years later, the incredible originality of this work may be lost on some. But NO ONE had ever written a concerto like this before.
- Mozart's 20th Piano Concerto. I play this Concerto though my hands are a little small and I'm 10, I still enjoy playing this Concerto! It have a lot of challenges and it goes really fast, one of my most favorite challenges!
Jan 19, 2023 · Mozart’s most popular piano concerto is his Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467. This work was composed in 1785 and is one of Mozart’s best-known and most performed works. The concerto is in three movements: Allegro maestoso, Andante, and Allegretto. In Mozart’s case, you have three options for your vote.
Apr 12, 2022 · Lestat’s piano sonata - a slightly repurposed version of Haydn's Piano Sonata Number 59 - is perfect for the tragic villain of the film, dancing between elegiac, twinkly and sonorous like a dark reflection of the big man’s life.