A solo concerto
is a concerto
with only one soloist, accompanied by an orchestra
. It is now the most frequent type of concerto, but originated in the Baroque Period
(approx. 1600-1750) as an alternative to the traditional concertino
(solo group of instruments) in a concerto grosso
, to increase the contrast between the soloist and the orchestra.
The concerto had three movements, which were traditionally fast (vigorous and showed contrast between groups of instruments), slow (lyrical and intimate in a new key) then fast (lively and dancelike). The first and third movements were most commonly in ritornello form.
Solo concertos were first written for violin, trumpet or oboe by Italian composers Giuseppe Torelli and Tomaso Albinoni. Antonio Vivaldi is a composer of the Baroque period who is well-known for his solo concertos.
Soloists in solo concertos became well known and in demand in the Classical and Romantic eras, especially as public performances became more frequent and popular.