A History of the Concerto

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Press:Amadeus Press Amadeus Press (March 1, 2003)
Publication Date:2003-03-01
Author Name:Michael Thomas Roeder


This lucid guide traces the concerto's evolution over the major periods of music: baroque, classical, romantic, and 20th century. 
The compositions of each important composer are discussed in detail, making this a useful companion to the form.

From Booklist

In the popular imagination, the concerto is a piece of music shaped by the interplay between a virtuoso soloist and an accompanying orchestra. 
In fact, from its earliest days in the Baroque era, there have been concertos involving just the orchestra or, in the concerto grosso, the orchestra and a small body drawn from its ranks, and there are numerous examples of the solo concerto.
As one of music's oldest forms, the concerto has a long and varied history that continues today.
Roeder covers this history in detail (including musical examples) and quite accurately, starting with the concerto's origins in sixteenth-century Italy.
He considers the form's treatment by music's masters and provides reliable information about lesser and virtually unknown figures who have worked with it.
He explains well the interplay between an era's overall musical style and its concertos.
Generally well-written, Roeder's effort accurately reflects its subject's protean history and is even up-to-date.
John Shreffler

From the Back Cover

Michael Roeder's A History of the Concerto traces the concerto from its origins in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to its incarnation in the present. 
Basic to the concerto idea is the division of the performance group into two parts - one solo and the other orchestral - but the relationships between these two have undergone fundamental changes over the centuries.
In many of the more familiar works from the nineteenth century, the composer frequently juxtaposes a dazzling soloist against a more conservative orchestral voice, but this has not always been the case.
The developing concerto form, while always maintaining the dramatic opposition of solo and orchestral forces, evolved many rich variations specific to time, place, and composer.
Whether in Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, Beethoven's "Emperor", or Calandrelli's Concerto for Jazz Clarinet, the dual elements of cooperation and contention come into play.
The changing role of the soloist; the development of instruments; the evolution of music's function in society; the influence of local, regional, and international culture; and the composer's individual story are all part of Roeder's documentation of concerto history.
The book is divided into four sections corresponding to the major historical-stylistic periods of Western music and of concerto development - Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Twentieth Century.
Within these sections, attention is given to geographical regions where strikingly different approaches to concerto style are found.
Roeder explores major works as well as the pieces of lesser-known composers whose contributions were important to the changing character of the concerto.
A History of the Concerto may be readfrom cover to cover, but readers may also use the extensive index to focus on specific concertos and their composers.
Numerous musical examples illuminate critical points.
While some readers may want to study the more detailed analyses with scores in hand, this is not essential for an understanding of the text.
Michael Roeder's lucid and detailed historical study of the concerto will inform and delight those interested in understanding this popular and dynamic musical form.


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Comment List (Total:3)

  •     Roeder's book is an excellent source of information about concertos. I especially liked this book for its concise information covering an enormous range of musical history. It starts from the very beginning of the concerto's birth and covers all the great composers of our time. Being a musician myself, I am constantly absorbed by all musical history that I can get my hands on. This book is similar to that of Steinberg's The Concerto in that it covers a wide range of composers. Steinberg's does not cover as much detail and it is very much like a listener's guide. Roeder digs deeper into the background of the composer, the history of the composer and the piece itself....not to mention the importance and significance the piece has brought to the musical world. Anyone who is interested in this book should be forwarned that it is a bit on the technical side and a knowledge of musical theory and form is helpful. As for fellow musicians interested in this book, it is an excellent source of information. Whether you want to read the entire book through or if you just want to focus on specific composers or musical periods it is a great musician's tool.
  •     A really well-written book giving a really good background about the concerto! A must-have in your library!
  •     you got to get this book if you are preparing any exam..

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