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Viola concerto

The viola concerto is a concerto contrasting a viola with another body of musical instruments, usually a full orchestra or string orchestra but sometimes smaller. Early examples of the viola concerto include, among others, Georg Philipp Telemann's concerto in G major, and several concertos by Carl Stamitz. The first concertante work to use the viola without caution (though extreme virtuosity only later became identified as the desired characteristic in a concerto soloist) was the violin and viola Sinfonia Concertante of Mozart.

The viola has not enjoyed wide popularity as a solo instrument and, like the cello, suffers from problems of projection against an orchestral ensemble. According to some, (such as Alfred Einstein, among others), the essence of the concerto is not the display of virtuosity but conflict and resolution, and the viola is less suited than the piano, or even the violin, to balance itself against an orchestra that is not deliberately underused by the composer. One must also consider that in the past, viola players were often violinists retreated in ranks, and as such, viola soloists were few until fairly recently. Composers like William Walton, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Paul Hindemith were among the first to begin composing solo viola works for newer and more capable players. These players in turn arranged works originally for other instruments, (an example being Lionel Tertis's arrangement of Edward Elgar's cello concerto).

Selected list of concertos and concertante works

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