Chamber Music for Nervous Times

I’m almost done ripping my music library to mp3’s, and I’m into the “S” section of my classical cds. Last night I rediscovered an old favorite, Stravinsky’s Concerto in E-flat “Dumbarton Oaks”, performed by Sir Colin Davis and the English Chamber Orchestra:

Stravinsky himself said that he had Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos in mind when he composed it, and it is a wonderful balance between Bach-like precision and melody and Stravinsky’s interest with modernist atonality. The Bach influence wins (I’m happy to say), but there is a skittishness to Stravinsky’s themes that is perfectly at home in the 21st century. As a matter of fact, I decided to play it while we watched the president deliver his State of the Union address (with the TV muted). My wife and I burst out laughing at how appropriate a soundtrack it was to Speaker Pelosi’s constant up-and-down bouncing behind him.

These performances were recorded in 1962, and Sir Colin Davis with the English Chamber Orchestra does a fine job conveying the warmth and beauty of the pieces. This cd is now out of print, but you can still pick it up used for a bargain. Get it while you can.

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