Concerto in E-flat (Dumbarton Oaks)
(1937-38) is a chamber concerto by Igor Stravinsky
, named for the Dumbarton Oaks
estate of Robert Woods Bliss
in Washington, DC
, who commissioned it for his thirtieth wedding anniversary. Composed in Stravinsky's neo-classical period, the piece is one of Stravinsky's two chamber concertos (the other being the Concerto in D, for strings, 1946), and is scored for a chamber orchestra
, two horns
, three violins
, three violas
, two cellos
, and two double basses
. The three movements, Tempo giusto
, and Con moto
, performed without a break, total roughly twelve minutes. The concerto was the last work Stravinsky completed in Europe, written in Annemasse
, near Geneva
Stravinsky drew his inspiration from J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos for its baroque concerto grosso form, particularly the third; the scoring for trios of higher strings is a nod to these as well. Each of the instruments functions as both ensemble member and soloist throughout the course of the piece. It is contrapuntal in nature, the outer movements particularly so, while the second, comparatively relaxed and built on melodic fragments, provides relief from the complex, motivically-driven fugal writing that frames it.
Noted composer and composition teacher Nadia Boulanger, who admired Stravinsky's works, conducted the May 8, 1938 premiere in Washington, DC, at Stravinsky's invitation; the composer was recovering from tuberculosis and thus unable to attend. The manuscript is currently in the Rare Book Collection of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, Washington, D.C.
Stravinsky himself created a reduction for two pianos; Leif Thybo's 1952 transcription for organ began his study of the possibilities of the modern form of the instrument. A ballet was premiered by the New York City Ballet on June 23, 1972, calling for one principal and six corps dancers of each sex.
- Stephen Walsh: "Stravinsky, Igor". Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy, accessed 15 February 2006.
- Paul Griffiths: "Symphony",Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy, accessed 15 February 2006.
- Rita Benton: "Libraries", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy, accessed 15 February 2006.
- Steven Ledbetter, from ProArte.com, on Dumbarton Oaks.
- Erik H.A. Jakobsen: "Thybo, Leif". Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy, accessed 15 February 2006.
- Stephen Strugnell, notes for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra