Having heard a few orchestral works that incorporate a piano merely as accompaniment (see below for some examples), I'm now curious:
When (approximately), and under what circumstances, was the piano incorporated into the orchestra merely as accompaniment?
I'm only aware of symphonies whose score includes a non-solo piano, but perhaps there are concerti (for some instrument other than the piano), song-cycles, overtures, and/or operas that include it as well.
The earliest composed orchestral work which includes a piano that I'm aware of is Camille Saint-Saëns' Symphony No. 3 (1886). Other examples:
- Symphony No. 8 (Gustav Mahler, 1906)
- Symphony No. 1 (Dmitri Shostakovich, 1925)
- Symphony No. 5 (Shostakovich, 1937)
- Symphony No. 7 (Shostakovich, 1941)
- Symphony No. 3 (Henryk Górecki, 1976)
Saint-Saëns' 3rd is more popularly known for its organ (which is nearly promoted to solo instrument in the work).
The piano in Mahler's 8th is barely noticeable, and it appears only late in the 2nd part, but then again there's a lot of other stuff going on (eight soloists, two choruses, kids' choir, etc...).
Only in Shostakovich's and Górecki's symphonies mentioned above does the piano feature prominently (but not as a solo instrument).