The ripieno concerto was a popular form of instrumental music in Italy at the outset of the eighteenth century. It was composed for an orchestra without featuring a solo instrument, and was sometimes structured in three movements of contrasting speeds (generally fast-slow-fast). It differed from the concerto grosso insofar as the orchestra for the ripieno concerto wasn’t divided into two antiphonal sections; “ripieno” can translate as “full” and referred to “full orchestra”. Italian composers who wrote ripieno concertos include Antonio Vivaldi, Giuseppe Torelli, and Tommaso Albinoni. Some music scholars relate the ripieno concerto to the development of the symphony, as many early symphonies adhered to a three-movement pattern of fast-slow-fast, but this general structural principle wasn’t exclusive to the ripieno concerto. (See, for example, the Italian sinfonia.) The genre of the ripieno concerto died out during the eighteenth century while the modern form of the concerto grew in prominence in this same period.
- Jones, David Wyn, “The Origins of the Symphony”, in Robert Layton, A Companion to the Symphony (London: Simon & Schuster, 1993), p. 4; Hoffman, Miles, The NPR Classical Music Companion: Terms and Concepts from A to Z, online at .