Definition of cadenza
1 : a parenthetical flourish in an aria or other solo piece commonly just before a final or other important cadence
2 : a technically brilliant sometimes improvised solo passage toward the close of a concerto
3 : an exceptionally brilliant part of an artistic and especially a literary work
Recent Examples of cadenza from the Web
Though presented with a story, Nielsen’s way of pairing the instruments, switching the voices regularly, was a party game of color changes, with a solo declaration from bassist Richard Ryan and a semi-cadenza in the clarinet from Jane Carl.
The intensely chordal nature of Roberts' solo evoked shades of Dave Brubeck, and drummer Gratteau's extended cadenza conveyed a narrative quality that justly drew a warm ovation.
Wang’s fingers danced softly upon the keys during the opening movement, emphasizing a scampering, skittering quality during her rapid cadenza.
His cadenza (by his brother Andrew) was effective, though wandering from Mozart’s style.
Either way, Potter gave listeners a great deal to ponder in the first of several titanic cadenzas.
The concerto has an infamous extended cadenza that is technically challenging and often hard to deliver in live performances.
As his banister, Mr. Andres seizes on the cadenza Beethoven wrote for the first movement of the Second Concerto some two decades after its initial publication in 1801.
Concertmaster Christina Aastrand played the opening cadenza of this popular showpiece, and Luisi conducted the Danish players with sultry shadings and considerable dramatic flair.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cadenza.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
A concerto is a large piece for an instrumental soloist (usually playing piano or violin) and orchestra. Concertos are often extremely demanding for the soloist, but the most difficult part of all may be the cadenza, when the orchestra drops out completely, leaving the soloist to dazzle the audience with a set of flourishes, often completely original, right before a movement ends. Cadenzas are also heard in many vocal arias, especially those of the 18th century. The word, borrowed from Italian, originally meant "cadence;" thus, the cadenza, even if it lasts for a couple of minutes, is essentially a decoration of the final important harmonic cadence of the piece.
Origin and Etymology of cadenza
Italian, cadence, cadenza
First Known Use: 1783See Words from the same year
CADENZA Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of cadenza for English Language Learners
: a difficult part of a piece of classical music that is performed by only one person near the end of the piece
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up cadenza? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).