Concert Duo for Violin and Piano was begun in Rome in 1955. A version was completed and presented at the annual concert at the American Academy in Rome in 1956, but it was not until the end of 1957 that the Duo achieved its present form.
The first movement is prevailingly dramatic, concerned with rhythmic energy and variation; the essential argument is often carried by the piano whose natural tendency to overbalance the violin is here deliberately indulged. The two instruments tend to carry forth their discourse on highly independent planes, and integrated exchange of material is practiced only at the end of the movement. The first page of the movement exposes the characteristic intervals, sonorities and linear shapes which will later be reconsidered, elaborated and recombined.
The second movement is prevailingly lyric. Here the two instruments pursue a less independent course than before and often share the same material; the violin, rather than the piano, tends to dominate. The climaxes, which arise with sudden and virulent intensity, may be seen as intrusions upon a foreground of sustained, introspective songfulness.
The Duo was commissioned by Dmitri Hadzi, sculptor, whose attractive idea it was to exchange a work of his sculpture for the composing of this work. The Concert Duo is therefore dedicated to him.
— Yehudi Wyner
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