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Principal orchestral music of the Baroque era, characterized by contrast between a small group of soloists and a larger orchestra. The small group (concertino) usually consisted of two violins and continuo, the instruments of the older trio sonata, though wind instruments were also used. The larger group (ripieno) generally consisted of strings with continuo. Alessandro Stradella (1642–82) wrote the first known concerto grosso c. 1675. Arcangelo Corelli's set of 12 (c. 1680–90), Johann Sebastian Bach's Brandenburg Concertos (c. 1720), and George Frideric Handel's Opus 6 concertos (c. 1740) are the most celebrated examples. From 1750 the concerto grosso was eclipsed by the solo concerto.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on concerto grosso, visit Britannica.com.