Movement 1: Vivace
Movement 2: Arioso: Andantino
Movement 3: Rondo: Allegro
Scored for the full complement of strings, the Concerto in D fully explores the richness of a full-blooded string ensemble in much the same way as his earlier Concerto ‘Dumbarton Oaks’ (1937–8) exploited the opportunities afforded by a chamber orchestra for both strings and winds. The ‘Basle Concerto‘’s string writing runs the gamut of special techniques including cleverly employed spiccato and pizzicato writing often juxtaposed with beautifully lyrical writing assigned to various parts of the orchestra. The Concerto is cast in three movements and displays neoclassical writing at its cleanest—unadorned and alternately gritty and graceful without artifice. The jutting silences and syncopations obvious throughout the first movement, for example, are characteristically Stravinskian in the way they energize the music’s flow. The second and third movements reveal a composer still committed to the ‘tension and release’ formula of tonality but increasingly allowing prolonged dissonances to stand on their own without immediate resolutions. The work was composed entirely in Hollywood shortly before Stravinsky undertook his landmark ballet Orpheus, also notable for its luminous string writing.
from notes by Charles M Joseph © 2013