This work was written in 1948 under a commission by the great American patron of music, Elizabeth Sprague Collidge. It has been a practical work whenever a chamber orchestra wishes to feature the appropriate instrumentalists. The work was meant for Louis Speyer, English horn player with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He was also responsible for convincing Honegger to rescore the Rapsodie for winds and piano so that it would include the oboe instead of two flutes. Ironically, the Concerto de camera was premiered without Speyer, on May 6, 1949, in Zurich, Switzerland, under the baton of the important conductor and champion of new music, Paul Sacher.
Whereas the Concerto for cello and the Concertino for piano are both strongly influenced by jazz, the Concerto de camera is a much more bucolic work, with the influence of folk music obvious in the first movement. The second movement is much more austere, which contrasts well with the scampering finale. Although both soloists are challenged, it is to the english horn's benefit that they are not treated with total equality, for the flute has some speedy finger work to accomplish that is made all the more interesting by the English horn's less verbose counterpoint.
In fact counterpoint, rather than imitation and dialogue, dominates the interplay between the two soloists. Honegger's concertante works tended to be lighter in texture and intent than many of his orchestral works. He wrote these pieces to be both gracious for the player and delightful to the listener. He achieved both of these goals completely.