Best Piano Concertos of All Time

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As we all know, piano concertos are extremely popular all over the world. The beautiful melody of the piano accompanied by the orchestra can elicit grand emotions from audiences. While many piano concertos have been composed, we decided to compile a list of what we consider to be the best piano concertos.

1.  Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1

This beautiful piano concerto was created in between November 1874 and February 1875 by the Russian Master composer Tchaikovsky. Tchaikovsky is one of the most famous composers in the western world of the classical romantic era. He received an honorary degree from The University of Cambridge for his contribution in music. Tchaikovsky revised this piano concerto three times. That makes it one of the best works of Tchaikovsky. The final version is now played all over the world.  A typical play lasts for 30 to 35 minutes.

This composition has three movements. They are:

  • Allegro nontroppo e molto maestoso-Allegro con spirit
  • Andantino Semplice- Prestissimo
  • Allegro con Fuoco- Allegro vivo

Instruments: solo piano, strings, timpani, two clarinets, two oboes, two trumpets, two flutes, two bassoons, three trombones and four horns.


2.  Mozart Piano Concerto No 23

This piano concerto is a very special one. The classical era’s prodigy Mozart himself played this composition. He wrote this composition in the combination of piano and orchestra. It is good enough to soothe your mind. You’ll find peace in the music. This beautiful creation is combined with three movements.

  • Allegro
  • Adagio
  • Allegro assai

One standard performance runs for about 26 minutes.


3. Beethoven Piano Concerto No 5

Piano Concerto No 5 was Beethoven’s last complete piano concerto. It is also known as the Emperor Concerto. No wonder you will find this music extremely powerful and incessant. It has a very propulsive theme. This composition is consists of three movements. They are:

  • Allegro
  • Adagio un poco mosso
  • Rondo

Instruments: solo piano, two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, timpani, and strings.


4. Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.2

This composition cemented the fame of this master composer. Not to mention, it is the best creation of Rachmaninoff. The gorgeous melody will soothe your mind for sure. This marvelous composition has constantly been featured in many films and songs. It has 3 movements:

  • Moderato
  • Adagio sostenuto
  • Allegro scherzando

Instruments: Solo Piano, Tuba, Timpani, Cymbal, Strings, Bass Drum, 2 Trumpets, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons, 3 Trombones and 4 Horns.


5. Schumann Piano Concerto

This is the only piano concerto Schumann wrote. This romantic composition expresses love and affection. Colorful work of orchestra and rhythm will create a fantasy in your mind. This beautiful composition has three movements:

  • Allegro affettuoso
  • Intermezzo: Andantino grazioso
  • Allegro vivace

Instruments: Solo Piano, Strings, Timpani, 2 Oboes, 2 Bassoons, 2 Flutes, 2 Clarinets, 2 Horns, and 2 Trumpets.

6. Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor

This is the only completed piano concerto of Grieg. Also, this is one of his most famous works. The composition is featured in many songs and movies. You’ll find drama flourishing with the piano. The lyrical movement will create a nirvana for you. This fantastic composition has three movements as well.

  • Allegro molto moderato
  • Adagio
  • Allegro moderato molto e marcato

Instruments: Solo Piano, 2 Flutes, 2 Bassoons, 2 Oboes, 2 Trumpets,  2 Clarinets, 2 Horns, 2 Trombones, Tuba, Timpani and Strings.


7. Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 20

This piano concerto of Mozart was so popular that Beethoven admired it and even used it in his repertoire. Mozart wrote this composition in 1785. It has also been featured in movies and TV series. This famous composition is consists of three movements. They include:

  • Allegro
  • Romanze
  • Rondo, Allegro assai

Instruments: Solo piano, Flute, two Oboes, two Bassoons, two Horns, two Trumpets, Timpani, and Strings.


8. Bartók Piano Concerto No 2

Bartók wrote this contrapuntal and simple at the same time. Nonetheless, one may find this piece of music very difficult. Maybe this made this song a notorious one. Then again, it is one of the best piano concertos of all time. The slow-fast combined movement with quick rhythm will create drama in your mind. This powerful composition has 3 movements as well.

  • Allegro
  • Adagio – Presto – Adagio
  • Allegro molto – Più allegro

Instruments:  an Orchestra with solo Piano, four Horns, three Trumpets, two Flutes, three Trombones, two Oboes, two Clarinets, two Bassoons, Tuba, Cymbals Timpani, Snare Drum, Bass Drum, Triangle, and Strings.


9. Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No.2

Shostakovich composed this piece for his son’s birthday in 1957. This is one of his most popular works. This cheerful and jolly composition will make you happy for sure. You’ll forget all your worries for a time. Suddenly you’ll discover yourself in a romantic mood. This superb composition has 3 movements. They are:

  • Allegro
  • Andante
  • Allegro

Instruments: Solo Piano, two Clarinets, three Flutes, two Oboes, two Bassoons, four Horns, Timpani, Snare Drum, and Strings.


10. Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor

Chopin composed this music in 1830 when he was only 20 years old. This powerful composition is one of his greatest works. In this composition, the combination of piano and orchestra along with lyrical movement will create peace and strength in your mind. It has been featured in many films as well. This composition has 3 movements as well.

  • Allegro maestoso
  • Romanze
  • Rondo

Instruments: Solo Piano, Orchestra, pairs of Flutes, 2 Trumpets,  4 Horns, Oboes, Clarinets, Bassoons, Tenor Trombone, Timpani, and Strings.


Well, there you have it! The best piano concertos of all time. We hope you enjoyed listening to them as much as we did!



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