The concerto in the Romantic period

Concertos remained popular during the Romantic period (roughly the 19th century). There were many written for piano and violin.

A violinist performing a violin concerto

The Romantic concerto:

  • uses a large orchestra
  • exploits the dramatic conflict between soloist and orchestra
  • often has the emphasis on virtuosic display
  • often has very difficult solo parts
  • has cadenzas written by the composer rather than improvised

Beethoven wrote five piano concertos and a violin concerto. The violin concerto flourished and some of the most well-known pieces were written during this period. The composers Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and Brahms wrote violin concertos at this time.

In the last movement of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor there is a showy passage. This piece highlights the interplay between violin and orchestra.

Violin Concerto in E minor