Sinfonia concertante

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Sinfonia concertante (also Symphonie concertante , concertante symphony or concertante for short ) is a term from music and describes compositions for several solo (concertating) instruments and orchestra .

Origin and characterization

The Sinfonia concertante is a symphonic genre for two to nine solo instruments and orchestra, which was particularly valued in the period between 1770 and 1825 , i.e. the classical music . It is a fusion of elements of the divertimento , the serenade , the cassation , the symphony and the solo concert .

An important prerequisite for the creation of the Sinfonia concertante can be seen as the increase in public concerts, which gradually moved away from the royal courts. There were also new technical developments in the field of musical instruments, especially wind instruments . The correspondingly growing number of wind soloists required compositions that specifically demonstrated their instrumental skills. Many of these works therefore use solo winds, often mixed with solo strings. They are virtuoso, melodiously pleasing and almost without exception are in major keys, like most of the music of this epoch. The Sinfonia concertante is usually in two or three movements; four or five sentences rarely occur.

Compositions at a glance

Most such works were written where appropriate soloists were available for performance; these were the musical centers of Vienna , Paris , Mannheim , London and Munich .

The first composers to compose concertante symphonies include Carl Stamitz (more than 20 works, mostly in two movements with violin and cello as solo instruments) and Johann Christian Bach (around 15 works, mostly three movements, in diverse soloist combinations, e.g. oboe , violin , Cello and piano , or two clarinets and bassoon ). Probably the best-known works of the genre are by Joseph Haydn ( Hob. I: 105 for violin, cello, oboe and bassoon) and Mozart ( KV 364 for violin and viola, Concertone KV 190 for 2 violins and the long attributed to Mozart, but by others Hand-made Sinfonia concertante KV 297b for flute , oboe, horn and bassoon).

The large number of other composers who wrote corresponding works include a. Antonio Salieri , Carl Friedrich Abel , Luigi Boccherini , Giuseppe Cambini , Ignaz Pleyel , Franz Anton Hoffmeister , Bernhard Crusell , Franz Danzi or Leopold Kozeluch (the latter with a singular solo combination of piano, mandolin , trumpet and double bass ).

In the course of the 19th century , wind soloists generally faded into the background, and instead of the term "Sinfonia concertante" the terms " double concerto " or " triple concerto " became common for the - now rather isolated - works in their tradition . Best-known examples are Beethoven's Triple Concerto op. 56 for violin, cello and piano and the Double Concerto op. 102 for violin and cello by Brahms .

In the 20th century the term Sinfonia concertante is occasionally used again, e.g. B. by Frank Martin ( Petite Symphonie concertante for harp , harpsichord , piano and orchestra). However, this term is now also used to describe works with fewer than two solo instruments. For example, the 4th Symphony by Karol Szymanowski (with solo piano) is entitled Symphonie Concertante ; by Joseph Jongen comes a Symphony Concertante for Organ and Orchestra, and Bohuslav Martinu wrote next to a Sinfonia concertante for oboe, violin, cello and piano, a Sinfonia concertante for two orchestras , facing the two full orchestras.


  • Barry S. Brook: Symphonie concertante . In: Musical genres in individual representations Bd. I. Dt. Taschenbuch-Verlag / Bärenreiter-Verlag (edition MGG) 1981, pp. 126-134 ISBN 3-423-04381-4
  • Dieter Klöcker: Concert symphonies . CD booklet EMI 747 98 10 (CDF 671008), 1977/1995