Pure Musical Joy Of Dumbarton Oaks
LL the other works in last Friday's B.B.C. concert of contemporary music were swamped by the overwhelming superiority of Stravinsky's concerto, Dumbarton Oaks.
J. A. Westrup, in the Telegraph, says it " suggested an adult languidly amusing himself with a child's toy train and sometimes taking pleasure in the clockwork and
then reverting to his own maturer thoughts." An analogy of this sort, especially without further comment, can mean nothing at all; except to Mr. Westrup. But if it is an expression of contempt, then it is, in my view, the result of gross obtuseness.
There is no doubt in my own mind that Stravinsky of Dumbarton Oaks (the name of the house in California where the work was composed) is far and away the greatest of any contemporary or nearcontemporary composers; and by that I include figures like Sibelius, Busoni and Elgar.
It is, of course, impossible to express in language the sensations derived from the work itself. But
Continual apart from the purely Source of musical joy, a con Wonderment tinual source of wonderment is that a flute, a clarinet, a bassoon, two horns, three violins, three violas, two cellos and two basses can be made to produce such unusual sorts of sound. Whatever individual opinion about the musical merits of Dumbarton Oaks may be, nobody can deny to Stravinsky's scoring the quality of novelty, at least.
The work may be accused by followers of the Constant Lambert school of being a pastiche—as if that in itself is enough to damn it. Certainly it contains Brandenburgian hints.
However. if Stravinsky can produce (Continued at foot of next column.)