Concerto Grosso (Vaughan Williams)

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Concerto Grosso is a work for string orchestra by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Originally composed in 1950 for a performance by the Rural Schools Music Association conducted by Sir Adrian Boult,[1] the piece is unique in that the orchestra is split into three sections based on skill: Concertino (Advanced), Tutti (Intermediate), and Ad Lib (Novice) which only plays open strings. The piece is in five movements, and performances generally run for 14 minutes.


  • I. Intrada: A dramatic theme that features heavy string writing
  • II. Burlesca Ostinata: A sprightly movement making brilliant use of perfect fifths to allow the "Ad Lib" players (who can only play open strings (tuned in intervals of perfect fifths) to play the theme.
  • III. Sarabande: A slow movement in triple time as indicated by the movement's name
  • IV. Scherzo: An energetic but lyrical short scherzo and a small coda
  • V. March and Reprise: A very lively march with much syncopation, leading seamlessly into a full reprise of the first movement.


  1. ^ Alain Frogley; Aidan J. Thomson (14 November 2013). The Cambridge Companion to Vaughan Williams. Cambridge Companions to Music. Cambridge University Press. p. 238. ISBN 978-1-107-65026-8.