To start the new year we will listen to a concerto, a piece of music written to feature a solo instrument (piano, violin, guitar, etc.) and accompanied by an orchestra. Typically concertos are in three movements—fast, slow, fast. The orchestra introduces the themes, then the soloist takes the spotlight as the themes are embellished and developed. Concertos showcase the soloist in the cadenza, an unaccompanied passage usually near the end of a movement that displays the soloist’s virtuosity and creativity, as historically, the performer would improvise the cadenza.
Enjoy this performance by Yekwon Sunwoo, the gold-medalist of the 2017 Van Cliburn competition (think piano Olympics!), playing Mozart’s Concerto in C Major. As you listen, see how many orchestral instruments you can identify. Can you hear where the piano cadenza begins? The first movement ends at 13’45’’; the youTube clip includes all three movements.