Concerto in Eb (Dumbarton Oaks)


By Ivor Stravinsky

SKU: ED 23092 Category:


The American musical patrons Mildred and Robert Wood Bliss were considering which distinguished composer to commission to create a work in celebration of their 30th wedding anniversary in 1938. The couple had made the acquaintance of Igor Stravinsky in April the preceding year at the première of his ballet Jeu de Cartes in New York and had subsequently invited the composer to their country home ’Dumbarton Oaks’ in Washington D.C. to talk about a new composition. Stravinsky only just managed to complete the work in time for the anniversary celebrations: its date of completion was also the date of its first performance.

For his classically styled three-movement work, he selected the title Concerto in E flat, adding the subtitle Dumbarton Oaks as a dedication. The structure of the work references the concerto grosso: it features a soloist ensemble which unites in the tutti sequences but also plays in concertino groups during the solo episodes. Broken chordal structures characterise the central movement whereas the outer movements are distinguished through their use of fugato. Dumbarton Oaks went on to become one of Stravinsky’s most successful works, performed widely and delighting Mildred Bliss so much that she immediately issued another commission, for the Symphony in C. Its composer’s very public commitment to American cultural life helped pave the way for Stravinsky’s emigration to the USA in 1945.

As early as 1952 Leif Thybo created an arrangement for organ which Stravinsky probably did not know at the time of his life.

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