Are you looking to play a new piece of piccolo music? You should consider a few piccolo concertos.
Even if you don’t have an orchestra to play with, a concerto can help you expand your knowledge and play better. But you should choose a concerto that you like.
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1. Vivaldi Concerto in C Major, RV 443
The Vivaldi Concerto in C Major, RV 443 is probably the most well-known piccolo concerto. It’s the piece that a lot of people think of when they think of a piccolo solo.
However, the piece was originally for the recorder. Since the piccolo doesn’t have much repertoire from the Baroque era, players have taken over this concerto.
I played it on my junior recital in college, and it was a blast. It’s a great choice to learn, especially if you want to audition for orchestras. But even if you just like playing as a soloist, you can have a lot of fun.
The concerto contains three movements: Allegro, Largo, and Allegro molto. You can play just the solo lines, but some versions of this concerto also include the orchestral melody that you can play along with.
If you’re new to piccolo music, I’d highly suggest learning this concerto before any others. It’s a standard requirement for orchestral auditions, and it’s a good piece to keep in your practice rotation.
2. Vivaldi Concerto in C Major, RV444
One number can make a world of difference, and the second Vivaldi Concerto in C Major is proof. You can find the sheet music as part of the book Three Concertos for Piccolo.
I played this piece for my first masters recital. It was fun to learn, and it was similar to the other Vivaldi concerto but different enough to provide a bit of a challenge.
While it’s not as popular, it’s still a great piece to learn. You can play it instead of the other one to help diversify your repertoire. That way, you don’t have to just play super famous works.
If you’re looking to explore less popular pieces, this is a great option. It’s still from the Baroque era like the more famous Vivaldi concerto, but I haven’t heard a ton of people play it.
Like many other concertos, it contains three movements, and you can learn one, two, or all three.
3. Vivaldi Concerto in A Minor, RV 445
Rounding out Vivaldi’s three piccolo concertos is the Concerto in A Minor, RV 445. I haven’t performed this one, but I did sight read through it during grad school.
It’s a fun piece, and it’s a nice contrast to the concerti in major keys. But the key of A minor is relatively easy, so you can play it without having to deal with a ton of accidentals.
I will probably revisit this piece at some point. If you’ve learned the other two Vivaldi concertos, you should look into this one, too. Then, you can say you’ve played all three.
Round out the Baroque era of piccolo concertos in your repertoire. You can also learn this concerto even if you’ve never played the others.
The A minor key can give this piece a more somber sound, which can be nice if you want to contrast other repertoire with a happier feel.
4. Liebermann Concerto
The Liebermann Concerto has quickly become a standard part of the piccolo repertoire. It has a lot of difficult parts, so it’s not a piece to take lightly.
You’ll need to dedicate plenty of time to practicing it. That way, you can get it up to a performance level. I haven’t done this yet, but I can tell from the score that it will take work.
Be sure to practice with a metronome slowly and to work up the tempo over time. You may also want to break the piece up into smaller sections or even individual measures to master the more difficult parts.
This piece is a great one to learn for orchestral auditions. If you don’t have to play the Vivaldi Concerto in C Major, RV 443, you will probably need to play the Liebermann.
5. Dorman Piccolo Concerto
The Dorman Piccolo Concerto isn’t as popular as other pieces. But it’s a super fun piece, especially if you want a break from the standard classical style.
I played the second and third movements of it on my second masters recital, and I learned the first movement. The first movement is based on rock, the second on world music, and the third on other styles.
It’s a great option if you want to break up the potential monotony of a flute or piccolo recital. However, it does take work, especially when it comes to putting the piccolo part together with the accompaniment.
The first movement is particularly tricky to put together with the piano or orchestra. You need to be really good at counting small subdivisions.
6. Broughton Piccolo Concerto
Another not-so-popular piece to know is the Broughton Piccolo Concerto. Like other concertos, this is a great piece to play if you want to show off your piccolo skills.
It’s a good choice if you want to explore repertoire that a lot of people don’t know. While I haven’t played it, I did look into it when I was in graduate school.
You may not want to play it if you don’t play the piccolo much. But it can be worth your time if you want to be a piccolo specialist.
7. McKimm Concerto
The McKimm Concerto is another great piece to know. You can learn one or all of the movements, depending on your goals and practice schedule.
It’s a great choice for advanced players. You can use it to enter a concerto competition or to play on a recital. Then, you’ll be able to have fun with the piece.
Whether you’re looking to learn your first piccolo concerto or have learned others, consider this one. Give it a listen to see if you like how it sounds to make sure you’ll want to practice it.
8. Amlin Concerto
If you want to practice doubling on flute and piccolo, check out the Concerto by Amlin. The piece starts on the flute, and you will need to have your piccolo ready for a quick swap.
I have read through part of the piece, and it takes work to get up to a performance level. But that can be good if you’re looking to challenge yourself as a player.
You can also use the piece to practice doubling and show off your skills. If you need to audition on flute and piccolo, this piece can help you do both.
Doubling on flute and piccolo is almost a necessity, even for piccolo specialists. There may come a time when you need to play both instruments, so this concerto can also help motivate you to keep up your skills on the flute.
What Is the Most Famous Piccolo Piece?
The most famous piccolo piece has to be the Vivaldi Concerto in C Major, RV 443. Even non-flutists and non-musicians recognize the melody when you play it.
However, you could argue it’s not technically a piccolo piece because it was for the recorder first. In that case, I’d say the Liebermann Concerto takes the spot for the most famous piccolo work.
What Does “Concerto” Mean in Music?
In music, the term “concerto” refers to an orchestral work with a featured soloist. There are concertos for all instruments from the piccolo down to the tuba.
When you play a concerto with an orchestra, you typically stand up front next to the conductor. That way, the audience can hear your solos better over the large ensemble.
What Is a Concerto vs. a Symphony?
As I mentioned, a concerto is a massive orchestral work with a soloist. The orchestra primarily acts as accompaniment, though other instruments may occasionally play the melody.
Meanwhile, a symphony is a massive work for orchestra, usually without a soloist. Both types of works have multiple movements with different tempos and other characteristics.
What Do You Think Are the Best Piccolo Concertos?
There are more piccolo concertos than you might think. As you look for new pieces to play, consider some popular concertos. But don’t forget about other pieces that don’t have as big of a reputation.
Then, you can select a piece that you love. That can make practicing easier, and you can learn the music more efficiently.
No matter which piccolo concertos you learn, be sure you practice with a metronome so that you can master the melody and rhythms.