General information
Title CZConcerto da camera
Subtitle CZpro housle a smyčcový orchestr s klavírem a bicími nástroji
Title ENConcerto da Camera
Subtitle ENfor Violin and String Orchestra with Piano and Percussion
Title DEConcerto da camera
Subtitle DEfür Violine und Streichorchester mit Klavier und Schlagzeug
Title FR
Subtitle FR
SubcategoryViolin Concertos
Halbreich number and suffix285
Parts of composition (movements)1. Moderato, poco allegro; 2. Adagio; 3. Poco allegro
Solo voiceVl
List of characters
Dedicatee Flügel, Gertrud
Sacher, Paul
Diplomatic transcription of dedicationDédié à PAUL SACHER | et au BASLER KAMMERORCHESTER
Note on dedicationDedication on the first page of the printed score (UE, 1955).
Place of composition
Year of origin1941
Initiation of composition07/1941
Finishing of composition08.08.1941
Last modification of composition
First performance
Performer Gertrud Flügel (Vl), Paul Sacher (dir./cond.)
Sacher, Paul
Date of first performance23.01.1942
Location of first performanceBasel, Switzerland
Ensemble Das Basler Kammerorchester
Autograph deposition
InstitutionPaul Sacher Stiftung
Deposition location
OwnerPaul Sacher Stiftung, Basel
Note on manuscriptDraft and autograph piano reduction are held by the Bohuslav Martinů Centre in Polička.
Manuscript deposition 2
Note on manuscriptSecond autograph missing. However, two reproductions of it are located at the Wienbibliothek (deposit of UE).
Place of issue
PublisherUniversal Edition
Year of publication1955
CopyrightUniversal Edition, Vienna
NoteTitle on the title page of the first autograph (PSS): "CONCERT | pour violon, | et orchestre à cordes, piano, timbales, piatti et triangl." *** First movement completed on 14.07.1941, second movement on 25.07.1941. *** Durata given in the printed score: 20'.

Concerto da camera

In June 1940, after the German army entered Paris, Martinů and his wife Charlotte had to leave the city. It was only in March 1941 that they finally arrived in the USA. The commission for Concerto da camera for Violin and String Orchestra with Piano and Percussion, H. 285, which Bohuslav Martinů received from his friend Paul Sacher, helped him concentrate on composing again. Sacher, a conductor and patron, deserves credit for the inception of several other compositions by Martinů (for example, the Double Concerto and The Epic of Gilgamesh), as well as for a significant number of other masterpieces by 20th-century composers (Igor Stravinsky, Bela Bartók. Arthur Honegger).

Concerto da camera places great emphasis on the role and virtuosity of its soloist, although not in a mechanical or self-serving way. The Concerto is related to the Double Concerto of 1938 and takes inspiration from concerts of the Baroque type. Common features can be found primarily in the first movement in the areas of thematic development, rhythm, phrasing, in the frequent occurrences of chromatic scales, and its expressive charge, which is reminiscent of the Double Concerto. One can sense Baroque stylistic elements in the background in figurative melodies and in interchanges between orchestral tutti and violin solo, which in some places is joined by the piano as a second concertino instrument. This composition can be considered the top solo concerto in the style of concerto grosso in Bohuslav Martinů's oeuvre. Its title is derived from the term "concerto da camera", describing 17th-century chamber concerto meant for the secular environment, as opposed to "concerto di chiesa", originally composed for the musical needs of the church.

Martinu himself stated that the first movement has "a joined form of variation and introduces themes executed with an increasing speed in the solo part and with grand, dynamic tutti in the orchestra". The second movement is a Baroque type of aria, accompanied by the polyphony of the string orchestra. Thematically, the third movement is based on the first movement with the addition of cymbals and triangle. It is a rondo form with the reappearance of the melodically and rhythmically marked theme, which is diatonic in character.


Jana Hozníková



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