Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) 

Concerto in D (Basle Concerto)


The concerto in D was the composer's first post war commission Europe. It was written for the extraordinary Paul Sacher, conductor of the Basle Chamber Orchestra. Sacher was responsible for all the greatest works for string orchestra this century. Strauss, Bartok, Honegger, Martinu, Hindemith all wrote for him. 
Stravinsky wrote that the "Concerto in Re" is exactly that as it is very difficult for every instrumentalist in the orchestra and also for the conductor. Its virtuosity is unparalleled in the repertoire for string orchestra. Stravinsky moves with great wit between D Major and d minor throughout the work. This is the under current of the piece - this shifting of two different keys in D. At the very opening this is made clear with a clashing of the two when the violas and bass group play an f natural (creating a d minor chord) and the violins an f sharp ( D Major ) in the 3rd bar. Like the ballet Apollo, also for strings, Stravinsky writing is born from the great Russian String Tradition as is clear from the richness of the score and the lightness of performance that the work demands.

copyright Lygia O'Riordan