All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic
concerto grosso (It.). Great concerto. Early form of concerto at its zenith in the 17th and 18th cents., though the term has been used by 20th-cent. composers, e.g. Bloch and Vaughan Williams, for works based on earlier models. The works were antiphonal, i.e. a small body of str. (concertino, concertato, or concertante) was heard in alternation, contrast and combination with a larger group (ripieno). These were in several movts., roughly similar to the 18th-cent. ov. or suite. The most celebrated early concerti grossi are those by Corelli (1712) (Concerti grossi con duoi violini e violoncello di concertino obbligati) and those by Handel (1739). J. S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 2, 4, 5, and 6 are traditional concerti grossi.