Falla had met Wanda Landowska on several occasions in the early 1920s, and by the time she participated in the Paris premiere of Falla's
El retablo de maese Pedro in June 1923, he had already decided to write a concerto for her. Although there was never a formal commission, composition began in October 1923 but work proceeded slowly. Landowska first planned to perform the work in the 1923–24 season. When Falla found it impossible to meet that deadline, Landowska discussed with
Leopold Stokowski a performance as part of the
Philadelphia Orchestra's 1924–25 season, but again Falla could not finish the work in time. The premiere finally took place in Barcelona on 5 November 1926, with further performances in New York and Boston (
Hess 2001, 233–35).
The Concerto was the last lengthy work Falla completed. Although there are several subsequent pieces in his catalogue that are important for their content, none of them lasts more than ten minutes, and his final, monumental project, the opera-oratorio Atlántida, on which he worked for twenty years, remained unfinished at his death (
Nommick 1998a, 12–13).
It is commonly regarded as a model example of both
mysticism (of a sort originating in Spanish religious tradition) and a severe and ascetic form of
neoclassicism (as opposed to the "frivolous" neoclassicism of
Igor Stravinsky) (
Stoianova 1999, 277).