A concerto is a composition written for orchestra and a solo instrument, most commonly the solo instrument being piano or instruments of the string family.  The relationship between the orchestra and soloist is not one of master/servant but rather they meet together on equal terms sharing the thematic material of the composition.

This week’s listening assignment is the Piano Concerto of Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) which was written when the composer was twenty-four years old.  It is the only piano concerto that Grieg completed and remains one of Grieg’s most popular works as well as being one of the most popular piano concerto written by any composer.

The distinctive opening theme uses a descending minor second followed by a descending minor third.  Grieg uses that musical idea in other compositions and it is a motif found in Norwegian folk music.

Julia Fischer pianist with the German Youth Orchestra