Greatest Piano Concertos of All Time

plmilligan1968
What are the 10 greatest Piano Concertos of all time?

The Top TenXW

1Beethoven's 5th (Emperor) Piano Concerto

I do love Rachmaninov and probably would have given his 2nd Piano Concerto the top, until I heard this piece in concert for the first time several years ago. These votes can only be about those very razor-edge personal preferences so I will only focus on trying to explain that side of it. I suppose my heart chooses it above anything else because I feel the gamete of positive energies about life. The first movement feels like a complete whirlwind of complex, cascading and harmonious melodies. It deconstructs the mind while at the same time opens it to the sublime 2nd movement. While a second movement can often fall flat emotionally for me, I would never get tired of listening this one, where notes seem to fall like delicate drops of pensive rain. The pinnacle of the concerto for me, and perhaps one of the greatest highs to be found in all of music, is the incredible transition in last minute at the end of the 2nd where a simple theme is introduced and then just explodes out into a powerful 3rd movement in the structure of the 7-part rondo. I am in awe at the originality and beauty of this piece. One of my great regrets in life is that I came to this piece relatively late in my classical listening life when compared to the Mozart Piano Concertos and the Beethoven Symphonies. When I think how often I listened to the 5th, 7th, and 9th symphonies growing up, it is a regret to me that I did not have this piece in this same mix. On an emotional level, it would be a great tragedy for me if someone were to live their entire life and never heard this concerto from start to finish.

The first and third movements are, of course, well-written and well-orchestrated, as one would expect from Beethoven. However, it is the second movement which truly astounds. It has such a simple melody, yet is so profound and powerful at the same time. The power of this movement is what sets the "Emperor" concerto above all others of its genre.

It is the greatest work ever written for piano concerto. I believe that it should be in the first rank. It is very powerful and full of energy.

It takes away my heart.

V28 Comments
2Tchaikovsky's 1st Piano Concerto

Nearly 140 years later, the incredible originality of this work may be lost on some. But NO ONE had ever written a concerto like this before. The wild prestissimo in the second movement has moments that are almost atonal (in fact Tchaikovsky was called by a critic of the time an ULTRA MODERN composer! ). But innovation alone doesn't make a work great: this work has surpassing dramatic power as well as beauty. The gradual crescendo in the final movement before the octave peroration always gets me. No other piece quite like it.

It's grand structure surpasses nearly all other piano concertos out there. The thematic material is so beautiful and peaceful. How could you not love it?

absolute stunner, the first movement is just amazing, and makes me tingle a lot when I hear it

My all time favorite piece of music

V13 Comments
3Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Concerto

After every movement, you wonder "the next can't possibly be as good - but it is. All three movements, despite very different moods, are beautifully linked together. This is perhaps my all-time favorite classical piece of music. A masterpiece.

I love Rachmaninov. This composition is simply beautiful. When I first listen to the first movement I am immediately captured by the tune. Especially in in the second movement where he creates this romantic back and forth between the orchestra and piano. I simply wish people supported the classical music more than that of the pop culture currently existing.

Easily the best Concerto ever. An avid classical music lover and performer. Every movement could stand in it's own. I sing and have cherished every moment of singing some of the great choral pieces if all time with large choral groups and orchestras but I can only imagine what the joy and sense of accomplishment it must be to perform this piece with a world renowned orchestra. Truly must be an inspirational feeling. Closer to God!

A beautiful piece of music with seismic shifts between the abstract and melodic fluency. There is a musical vocabulary in this piece that inspires me on a creative level I've never found anywhere else. The opening chords are catastrophically engaging and the second movement is one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard. Bought it on vinyl at the thrifty shop.

V28 Comments
4Rachmaninov's 3rd Piano Concerto

No other single piece of music has ever come so close to perfection as the iconic 'Rach 3'. Just the very mention of the nickname sends chills up any budding pianist's spine. As Everest is to the climber, Rachmaninoff's 3rd piano concerto cemented it's place in history when Rachmaninoff himself held up his hands after it's debut, unable to play an encore due to exhaustion. One would think that what has become universally known as the single most difficult piece of music ever written for the piano is also one of the most hauntingly beautiful and lyrical pieces of music anywhere. It is pieces such as this and Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe, that ushered in the period of atonality, because composers could not longer do better. Rachmaninoff on several occasions peaked the art form with such searing beauty that the competition folded. Detractors such as Stravinsky, once wrote extremely tonal and lyrical music which besides a few obscure pieces, none of us remember today. Everyone remembers the 'Rach 3'. It's place in history is secure. WITHOUT QUESTION, Rachmaninoff's 3rd Piano Concerto is the greatest piano concerto ever written now and forevermore.

Hard to beat the famous cadenza, and the 2nd to 3rd movement transition is breathtaking and astounding.

This in my opinion is the best piece of music of any type. Maybe even the peak of human achievement. Difficult beyond belief yet beautiful. Rolling difficult passages surge beneath the main melody. Powerful some times and delicate at other times. The only thing close is Rachmaninov's 2nd and Grieg's piano concerto.

By far the most outstanding piano concerto ever written... Hands down!

V15 Comments
5Mozart's 20th Piano Concerto

In my opinion, this is Mozart's best piano concerto. It is mysterious, lyrical, passionate, and leaves the listener in utter awe. I think it even surpasses the piano concertos of Beethoven and Rachmaninoff. It is daring and difficult, but serene and tranquil. Only beauty such as this could be conceived by our dear Mozart.

The most remarkable 30 minutes of musical pleasure I know of in more than 50 years of watching the greats play this piece.

I've been obsessed with this concerto this year and I've only really just started to appreciate classical music in my 41st year. So good.

In my opinion, this is the best piano concerto

V13 Comments
6Schumann Piano Concerto in A Minor

I adore this concerto. After the Introductory dotted rhythm of the piano in the opening bars the main A minor theme, first taken up by the woodwind, is the most hauntingly beautiful music I have ever heard. When taken up by the piano from the A pedal note it is so plaintive and the harmonies are so bleak and have an almost tragic beauty.The second movement is so lyrically beautiful and the third movement has such energy and is triumphant. His masterpiece!

Probably my favourite orchestral work of all time, maybe tied with Tchaikovskys Violin Concerto. The first movement when done right is tragic yet hopeful at the same time, in contrast to the short and sweet intermezzo before the final cheerful and triumphant last movement. The whole work seems to be filled with such contrast, but it's all tied together by the opening motif which is repeated throughout in various guises.

One of the most amazing works by Robert Schumann, a masterpiece. The beautiful first movement, the short and sweet intermezzo connected to the cheerful major third movement contrasts with each other very well.

What a unity of structure... The opening motif keeps ringing throughout the whole work. Very lucid

V5 Comments
7Mozart's 21st Piano Concerto

Wonderful, joyful concerto. My favorite concerto and Mozart piece. The third movement leaves me speechless every time. This concerto leaved me overjoyed in an indescribable way.

One of Mozart's most well known pieces of music. Very soft and exquisite themes. - plmilligan1968

Pleasing, profound and uplifting. It soothes the soul and engages the mind. So beautiful.

One of the most delicate concertos ever. Full of invention and wonderful melodic lines.

V5 Comments
8Modern Piano Concerto No.1 by Leszek Jasionowski

This concerto is an excellent example of "montage of attraction" in music.

It's got five amazing movements and never a dull moment.

Written in 2012, opens a new epoch in the piano concerto literature

This is the longest (over 60 minutes) and most tuneful piano concerto ever written. - leszekjasionowski

V16 Comments
9Grieg's Piano Concerto

It's beautiful lines soar and the small solo bursts from other instruments bring this from any other concerto to one that captivates and mesmerizes every time, especially due to the beautiful cadenzas as well as the tones that can break your heart from beauty.

Griegs most well known and best composition. - plmilligan1968

One of the most soaring and beautiful pieces ever written.

10Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1

Chopin's Piano Concerto 1 transmits the various emotion into my innermost. I love this concerto so much, especially 1st movement. In my opinion Yundi Li is the best interpreter of this piece

The intensity of the first movement and the delicacy of the second movement and the climax in the third are what make this piece so wonderful~

It's really beautiful and reminds us of the beauty of the piano itself, its unique self in between the orchestra. The finale is really beautiful.

Simply work of genius

V15 Comments

The Contenders

11Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1

This should definitely be in the Top 5! An underrated concerto, it is difficult to understand, but absolutely amazing when you understand it. The orchestral parts are the works of a genius. A grand, temptestuous opening begins the first movement while in other places the atmosphere is dark and devastating. The second movement is extremely wonderful and emotional, while the third grasps the listener's attention immediately.

My favorite concerto. Brahms melodies are heartbreaking and haunting. Even though it's a piano concerto, Brahms took great care writing the orchestral accompaniment creating a musical masterpiece that compositionally is far above most concertos that seem to only be vehicles to show off piano virtuosity.

Turbulent and passionate, it never lets up. A smaller canvas than Brahms' No. 2, but one of the greats.

Should be in the top5.

V9 Comments
12Brahms Piano Concerto no.2 in B flat major

I believe that Brahms 2nd is the most magnificent piano concerto ever written. It is on my list of the top 5 compositions of all time along with Beethoven's 5th symphony, Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, Schubert's 20th piano sonata and Beethoven's 13th quartet (with Grosse fugue).

I Think of this as one of the most complete piano concertos ever made. Brahms merges himself with the future and the past.

A piano concerto on the grand scale. Complete in emotional depth, sophisticated in intellectual content, and breathtakingly beautiful, this is a true masterpiece.

One of the most intricate and demanding pieces, ever composed by a composer that has demanded no less than perfection in all of his works.

V7 Comments
13Mozart Piano Concerto No.23

The best music ever

14Mozart's 24th Piano Concerto

Considered to be one of Mozarts best compositions which says it all. - plmilligan1968

If god exists - he is heard in thismasterpeice

15Mozart's 22nd Piano Concerto

One of Mozarts most melodic & eloquant piano concertos. - plmilligan1968

My favorite of all of Mozart's Piano Concertos. Intricate writing particularly for the wind instruments.

This piano concerto sounds very elegant but very tricky to play.

V4 Comments
16Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2

I believe it to show every stage of romance from the start falling in love all the way to coming to terms with heartbreak

As fantastic as Chopin's piano concerto number 1, both concertos are the paramount of classical music and all music

Both Chopin's piano concertos are amazing, beautiful melody, extraordinary phrasing, contrasting, dramatic, full of nostalgy, fast and slow, tempo bravura, and lyrical, and can be listen over and over. In addition, God knows why so called music experts are complaining about orchestra score, both concertos are perfectly balanced and if you really want to understand how to play listen to Kristian Zimerman's interpretation with Polish Festival Orchestra

V4 Comments
17Liszt - Piano Concerto No. 1
18Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.3

I would find this Piano Concerto more beautiful than #5, but #5 is more powerful and more difficult.

Some people, including myself, claim that this concerto is better than Beethoven's No.5 - leszekjasionowski

To my mind, this concerto is better than Beethoven's No.5

This is the pick for the number 1

V4 Comments
19Beethoven Piano Concerto no.4 in G

Without doubt the Beethoven 4th is the absolute pinnacle of piano concertos. Although this will always be a matter of opinion, I remember as a young boy first hearing this incredible piece and saying to myself (of course I had not even yet heard the Rach 2 and 3! ) there is something VERY different about this work. I eventually learned the concerto and grew to love and appreciate it EVEN MORE and my opinion has NEVER EVER waivered. Most pianists (musicians) that I know who also think of the B 4th as the greatest piano concerto have likewise ALWAYS felt this way. There is simply no other work like it. The Emperor, as great as it is, is still very typical Beethoven. The 4th is in a category all it's own and those who know this have always known this. What a tragedy that the manuscript was lost!

The greatest. Sublime. Transcendent. I can't find words to express what I feel when listening this music. Notes just go trough me

Incredible throughout its three movements.
The second movement is astonishingly "avant-guard" and
Full of drama.
I rate this concerto even higher than Beethoven´┐Ż's more
Famous 5th piano concerto (Emperor).

Best piano concerto by Beethoven out of the 5 piano concertos.

V6 Comments
20Ravel - Piano Concerto In G-major

Incredible stuff, there are times I will listen to this almost every night. It has almost a progressive-rock quality to it, especially the first movement.

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List StatsUpdated 30 Aug 2015

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Top Remixes (5)

1. Beethoven's 5th (Emperor) Piano Concerto
2. Mozart's 20th Piano Concerto
3. Tchaikovsky's 1st Piano Concerto
DisinheritedKnight
1. Modern Piano Concerto No.1 by Leszek Jasionowski
2. Grieg's Piano Concerto
3. Liszt - Piano Concerto No. 1
lesjason
1. Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Concerto
2. Beethoven's 5th (Emperor) Piano Concerto
3. Mozart's 21st Piano Concerto
steve_mcdee

WRemix
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