What you need to know about a piano concerto is that it is basically a composition of music which is led by a solo piano and it is usually accompanied by an entire orchestra or otherwise a large number of musical instruments. The list talks about ten of the greatest and best piano concerti (plural) of all time. I am not sure if you are into that sort of thing but it definitely needs to be a list. What I considered while ranking different pieces is the musical artistry, the balance between the orchestra and the piano, the history, the power of the pianist and the technical artistry. Now I am no musician and most of you must be better judges than me but I still gave it my best. Enjoy.
10. NO. 2, C MINOR, OP. 18
Sergei Rachmaninoff makes it to the number ten with this particular number. It is perhaps the most famous piece by him and another one would be C# Minor. He was a brilliant composer, a fantastic performer and a wonderful conductor. This is quite a complex number itself and your everyday pianist cannot pull this off. This number requires the pianist to stretch a thirteenth on the keyboard. Interestingly, your everyday pianist can only do a 10!
9. HARPISCHORD CONCERTO NO. 1, BMV 1052
J. S. Bach wrote this number. This particular number was originally written for a piano but most often than not, now, this track is played on a piano. The brilliance to his numbers is that they can be played on any instrument which is why the piano does it justice just like the harpsichord would. His music is probably the purest form of music itself; it is quite a popular opinion. Interestingly, the song was scored for a solo violin originally, but then it was re-scored for a keyboard. This is one complex piece.
8. CONCERTO IN A MINOR, OP. 16
Edvard Grieg composed this concerto. Franz Liszt was the first one to play this number and that is the distinction of this song, but of course, it was not in public. Grieg brought this number to him for approval and that is when he played it. He met Liszt in 1870 in Rome. Liszt asked him to play it but he was not practiced and that’s when Liszt did him the honor of playing it, complimenting him with the highest of respect. This one happens to be one of the most popular concerti even today.
7. NO. 4, G MAJOR, OP. 58
This piece is by Ludwig van Beethoven. There are many debates and many believe that this particular one is the finest piece by Beethoven in his entire career. What Beethoven did was that he used to balance the technique, musicality, orchestra and the development almost magically. It used to be, and still is, a joy listening to his work. The simple thing to know is the if your melody meets the development, you will get yourself a masterpiece and that word doesn’t even begin to do justice to this piece.
6. NO. 1, B-FLAT MINOR, OP. 23
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky is behind this number. This one should be familiar to most of you since this is the very track used as a theme song for Liberace for many years. While Tchaikovsky could play the piano, he was not so good as to perform this number. He was a composer after all. He wrote this number and he did a superb job at it. The number was dedicated to his friend and a legendary pianist Nikolai Rubinstein. He is the brother of an even more legendary pianist, Anton.
5. NO. 21, C MAJOR, K. 467
Who does not know W.A Mozart? He is the man behind this particular track. If you consider the music this would probably have ranked much lower than it is but since I considered a lot of other aspects, I decided to give it balanced five. This is how Mozart and a few others are defined, ‘Bach gave us God’s Word. Mozart gave us God’s laughter. Beethoven gave us God’s fire’. I am sure you get the idea. The concerto is very happy and carefree and that is a typical Mozart. I am sure you will enjoy it.
4. NO. 3, D MINOR, OP. 30
Rachmaninoff pulls this off brilliantly. If you consider the technicalities, this one is perhaps the most difficult in that sense. You need to be more than just an expert pianist to do justice to this. It was called ‘Elephantine’ by Vladimir Horowitz. He was one of the best recorded performers. Massive chords are played in the first movement. Lazar Berman is one of the best performers of this number so if you do get time, do listen to his work on this one because he meets the demands of this track quite impressively.
3. CONCERTO IN A MINOR, OP. 54
Robert Schumann did a splendid job with this number. This is one of the most polished works in this list. The entire track is pretty much based on a 4-note theme. For the theme of the first movement it goes into minor while in the second movement it goes up to a major and it is further varied in the third. You can that this number tends to explore the possibilities of melody and it does so beautifully. His wife premiered this number on the 1st January in the year 1846. Her name was Clara and she was a brilliant pianist.
2. NO. 2, B-FLAT MAJOR, OP. 83
Johannes Brahms is the power behind this number. Unfortunately, he could never be recorded playing it however, you know as well as I do that his performances were always top notch. This particular concerto is considered to be one of the most difficult ones yet and even on par with Rachmaninoff’s 3rd when it comes to difficulty. This particular piece contains four different movements. One of the most brilliant concerti I ever heard. You can find the tracks on YouTube.
1. NO. 5, E-FLAT MAJOR, OP. 73
This particular piece is by Ludwig van Beethoven and if you haven’t heard it yet, I suggest you open YouTube and give it a listen. The first time this was premiered was back the year 1811 in November. That happened in Gewandhaus in Leipzig. Friedrich Schneider was the man on the keyboard. During this time, Beethoven himself was very deaf to perform but I can say for certain that he must have wanted to do the honors himself. I actually have this piece on right now as I speak.
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