Author Topic: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)  (Read 22941 times)

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Offline Monsieur Croche

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #140 on: March 14, 2017, 11:20:43 PM »
Sorry, should have said I'm listening to the later chamber works ATM, hence my comment about gentle. I think I'll work gradually backwards to the earlier works.

This mighty (and imo, 'great') work will quickly change your impression of Milhaud being 'only gentle'

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/Ac-UJju34Lg" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/Ac-UJju34Lg</a>

and try these miniature gems, Six Little Symphonies (playlist with all six
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EsUk1tcLnU&list=PLhQHlPG4E3CwsJAmTCNkWy_x5_mgQQPKb


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Offline snyprrr

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #141 on: March 15, 2017, 06:49:40 AM »
Sorry, should have said I'm listening to the later chamber works ATM, hence my comment about gentle. I think I'll work gradually backwards to the earlier works.

Actually, String Quartets 1-2 are very Impressionist and Debussy/Ravel-like. There is a great (Capriccio?) CD of the two together. These two are probably exactly what you're looking for.

Don't be deceived- "soft" Milhaud is scattered all about, early and late- also, the Sonata for four winds and piano(?-is that right?) from around 1919... and the Violin Sonata 2...

SQs that are more attractive: 1-2... 7... 12... 5 is the Schoenbergian one, charming... 12 is the best known (Quartetto Italiano)... 6-7 are sweeter I think...


Maybe I'll get the box out of storage and take a spin.... Friday...
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Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #142 on: April 17, 2017, 05:19:27 PM »
I’ve been continuing my enthusiasm for Milhaud by listening to more of his works and reading his autobiography Ma Vie Heureuse.
 
He did have a happy life, including being born into a rich family, and finding early success as a composer, though later in life (from the 1930s) he suffered from some sort of rheumatism which meant he was periodically bed-bound, and at other times had to use a wheel-chair or crutches. He and his wife and son barely escaped from France in 1940, and the Jewish community of Aix-en-Provence which the Milhauds belonged to was almost wiped out by the Nazis.
 
He began his autobiography whilst bed-ridden in the USA after the liberation of France (the 1987 edition I read has been updated to 1972, two years before his death) and he claims to have used no diaries, letters or other documents writing it. I suspect he must have had some sort of list of performances of his work with him, because the main part of the work is basically a catalogue of when and where his works were performed, with the anecdotes hanging off these. It heavily features his stage works, and his symphonies, concertos and string quartets are often only mentioned in passing.
 
Milhaud’s success was due to the fact that opera, light opera and musical stage works were very popular in the 1920s and 30s in France and across Europe (Milhaud mentions visiting most European countries in this period and meeting many of the active musicians, but he never visited Britain and mentions no British composers at all, obviously there was a great cultural gulf at the Channel). So this meant that Milhaud could make a good living getting his operas and stage works staged (they were sort of middle-brow works in the way that classical music simply isn’t any more). Later he took up teaching (in the US and in France) and writing more instrumental and chamber works.
 
Milhaud describes his style as ‘Mediterranean lyricism’, and that’s why I like it. Even if it isn’t very deep it is lively and never too long. But I think of him at his best as a sort of southern European Holmboe (warmer weather), his music endlessly inventive and contrapuntal.
 
I have personal lists* of ‘great symphonies’ (c.180 works)  and ‘great string quartets’ (c.250) and I have placed about 6/12 of Milhaud’s symphonies on the former list and about 8/18 of his quartets on the latter. So this shows my esteem.
 
It’s a pity there are so few recording available, I guess he is out of fashion at the moment. And a great pity that the complete string quartets CDs are unavailable at the moment. Just as well that Youtube exists.
 
*These lists of course demonstrate my biases, the symphonies list has 12 British composers as authors of great symphonies as opposed to 5 Austrians and 3 French. Lol.
 

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #143 on: April 17, 2017, 05:31:23 PM »
Well at least someone likes his music. That’s all I’ll say. :D
"Music must be beautiful, or it wouldn’t be worth the effort” - Bohuslav Martinů

Offline arpeggio

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #144 on: April 17, 2017, 07:05:26 PM »
I am a big Milhaud fan.

He composed one great band piece the Suite française.  It has only been mentioned twice in this thread and one of the remarks was rather negative.  I have performed the work many times and have always enjoyed playing it.  There are many fine recordings of it.

Although it is not was well known he compose West Point Suite for the 150th anniversary of West Point.  Unfortunately I know of only one recording of it on Hungaroton which is out of print.  One can hear it on YouTube.  It is rather adventurous amount of bitonality.  I really like the last movement. 

He composed many great chamber works for winds.  There is one woodwind quintet that I used to play: La cheminée du roi René.

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #145 on: April 18, 2017, 08:31:11 AM »
I And a great pity that the complete string quartets CDs are unavailable at the moment. Just as well that Youtube exists.

Can't find a copy of the Parisii set?

I'm trying to incorporate Milhaud into my post-IgorMania continuation...
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Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #146 on: April 18, 2017, 02:02:21 PM »
One other thing I forgot to say that I found interesting from Ma vie heureuse is that as a very young man c 1900s Milhaud went to hear The Ring being played in Paris.... And hated it. After this he formulated his idea that his Mediterrean lyricism was distinguished from Germanic music by its lack of chromaticism. (I guess the Nazis' use of Wagner meant M never reconsidered his dislike of W's music).

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974) claude helffer-ERATO CD
« Reply #147 on: June 19, 2017, 10:33:02 AM »
Piano Concerto No.4 (1949)
5 Etudes (1934?)

The concerto's slow movement is a horrendously turgid chorale in all keys at once, it seems. I love it! ha,... the whole work is purposely complex and reminds one if Hindemith had written it in 1963 as a Last Work, such is the uncompromising aural picture of this 1949 work. In terms of sheer dissonance, one struggles to think of any competitors in this era.

The '5 Etudes' also inhabit a world of "everything at once", and are a bracing sonic juggernaut of clashing and crashing. This Erato CD may contain some of Milhaud's most challenging music for listeners' to enjoy, but it is certainly fluid and impressive.

I don't have the CPO Edition of all 5 Piano Concertos, but, as I recollect, the Erato, with 1 and 4, may be more than most will want. The CPO is probably for high mountain climbers only, and maybe not even then...
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Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #148 on: June 19, 2017, 01:45:12 PM »
Another amusing anecdote from his autobiography is that in the 1920s or early 30s he was booked for a tour by a US agent, but discovered shortly before he was to sail that he had been booked as a pianist not a conductor.

He was a pretty good pianist, but not a virtuoso, so he had to compose a piano concerto for himself to play which sounded difficult but wasn't. (I guess 2 or 3).  ;D

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #149 on: June 19, 2017, 06:10:38 PM »
Another amusing anecdote from his autobiography is that in the 1920s or early 30s he was booked for a tour by a US agent, but discovered shortly before he was to sail that he had been booked as a pianist not a conductor.

He was a pretty good pianist, but not a virtuoso, so he had to compose a piano concerto for himself to play which sounded difficult but wasn't. (I guess 2 or 3).  ;D

No.1 was for Marguerite Long. I think both 2-3 are for Mr.M. Still, I may have to check out his ability...
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Offline pjme

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #150 on: June 20, 2017, 01:12:35 AM »
This is what I found in Milhaud's "Ma vie heureuse":

on their return from a concert tour in Russia (march 1926) Darius and Madeleine Milhaud were invited to the USA by Robert Schmitz (of the Pro Musica Society). Milhaud wrote "Carnaval d'Aix" for this occasion: a re-composition of 12 fragments from the ballet "Salade, an "evocation of commedia de'll arte figures".

From : http://data.bnf.fr/13956842/darius_milhaud_salade__op__83/

Description : Note : Notice rédigée d'après l'inventaire de la cote MAT. - Ballet chanté en 2 actes. - 1re représentation : Paris, Théâtre de la Cigale, orchestre sous la direction de Roger Désormière, le 17 mai 1934. - 1re représentation à l'Opéra de Paris : 13 février 1935. -
Il existe une version pour piano et orchestre sous le titre : "Le carnaval d'Aix" (op. 83b)
Compositeur : Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
Auteur de l'argument : Albert Flament (1877-1956)

Though a competent pianist, he did not consider concert performance his forte. And while Milhaud surely exaggerated somewhat on the side of self-deprecation, he was self-conscious enough about his pianistic abilities for such concerns to have informed his Ballade for piano and orchestra, Op. 61, which he also performed during his tours abroad. Likewise, of the Carnaval d'Aix Milhaud wryly explained that "As I was no virtuoso, I had to compose for myself an easy work which would give the audience the impression that it was difficult." The hallmarks of Milhaud's style are present: the curious chromatic diversions, subtle but poignant use of dissonance within tonal contexts, polytonal complexes, and especially, vibrant rhythms inspired by jazz and South American music. Of course, Milhaud puts virtuosity to the purposes of expressive nuance rather than sheer pyrotechnics even in his most challenging works. Accordingly, what the Carnaval d'Aix lacks in technical complexity on the part of the soloist, it makes up for in energy and charm.

From: http://www.allmusic.com/composition/le-carnaval-daix-11-fantasy-for-piano-orchestra-op-83b-mc0002373618

It is a sunny, very light, fun piece:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/-Z12UfM8SII" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/-Z12UfM8SII</a>

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/zmublnNaGHw" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/zmublnNaGHw</a>

As for the pianoconcerti:

nr. 1 was indeed written for Marguerite Long, nr 2 (for Milhaud), nr 3 for Milhaud, nr 4 for Zadel Skolovsky ( Born of Russian parentage in Vancouver, Canada, in 1916 - died in ?) , nr 5 for Milhaud.


P.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 02:20:25 AM by pjme »

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #151 on: June 20, 2017, 06:58:30 AM »
This is what I found in Milhaud's "Ma vie heureuse":

on their return from a concert tour in Russia (march 1926) Darius and Madeleine Milhaud were invited to the USA by Robert Schmitz (of the Pro Musica Society). Milhaud wrote "Carnaval d'Aix" for this occasion: a re-composition of 12 fragments from the ballet "Salade, an "evocation of commedia de'll arte figures".

From : http://data.bnf.fr/13956842/darius_milhaud_salade__op__83/

Description : Note : Notice rédigée d'après l'inventaire de la cote MAT. - Ballet chanté en 2 actes. - 1re représentation : Paris, Théâtre de la Cigale, orchestre sous la direction de Roger Désormière, le 17 mai 1934. - 1re représentation à l'Opéra de Paris : 13 février 1935. -
Il existe une version pour piano et orchestre sous le titre : "Le carnaval d'Aix" (op. 83b)
Compositeur : Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
Auteur de l'argument : Albert Flament (1877-1956)

Though a competent pianist, he did not consider concert performance his forte. And while Milhaud surely exaggerated somewhat on the side of self-deprecation, he was self-conscious enough about his pianistic abilities for such concerns to have informed his Ballade for piano and orchestra, Op. 61, which he also performed during his tours abroad. Likewise, of the Carnaval d'Aix Milhaud wryly explained that "As I was no virtuoso, I had to compose for myself an easy work which would give the audience the impression that it was difficult." The hallmarks of Milhaud's style are present: the curious chromatic diversions, subtle but poignant use of dissonance within tonal contexts, polytonal complexes, and especially, vibrant rhythms inspired by jazz and South American music. Of course, Milhaud puts virtuosity to the purposes of expressive nuance rather than sheer pyrotechnics even in his most challenging works. Accordingly, what the Carnaval d'Aix lacks in technical complexity on the part of the soloist, it makes up for in energy and charm.

From: http://www.allmusic.com/composition/le-carnaval-daix-11-fantasy-for-piano-orchestra-op-83b-mc0002373618

It is a sunny, very light, fun piece:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/-Z12UfM8SII" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/-Z12UfM8SII</a>

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/zmublnNaGHw" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/zmublnNaGHw</a>

As for the pianoconcerti:

nr. 1 was indeed written for Marguerite Long, nr 2 (for Milhaud), nr 3 for Milhaud, nr 4 for Zadel Skolovsky ( Born of Russian parentage in Vancouver, Canada, in 1916 - died in ?) , nr 5 for Milhaud.


P.

Yea, that Helffer disc is one-stop-shopping ;)... I've worn it out in three days ::)
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Offline Robert101

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #152 on: June 20, 2017, 07:52:00 AM »
Yea, that Helffer disc is one-stop-shopping ;)... I've worn it out in three days ::)

I like Milhaud but somehow have missed out on these works. Thanks for posting them.

Offline Peter Power Pop

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #153 on: June 20, 2017, 09:24:36 PM »
I am a big Milhaud fan.

He composed one great band piece the Suite française.  It has only been mentioned twice in this thread and one of the remarks was rather negative.  I have performed the work many times and have always enjoyed playing it.  There are many fine recordings of it.

Although it is not was well known he compose West Point Suite for the 150th anniversary of West Point.  Unfortunately I know of only one recording of it on Hungaroton which is out of print.  One can hear it on YouTube.  It is rather adventurous amount of bitonality.  I really like the last movement. 

He composed many great chamber works for winds.  There is one woodwind quintet that I used to play: La cheminée du roi René.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/Ri7qxkd3ssQ" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/Ri7qxkd3ssQ</a>

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #154 on: June 21, 2017, 07:33:28 AM »
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/Ri7qxkd3ssQ" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/Ri7qxkd3ssQ</a>

Gnarly. I like it!
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Offline Peter Power Pop

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #155 on: June 21, 2017, 02:19:57 PM »
I am a big Milhaud fan.

He composed one great band piece the Suite française.  It has only been mentioned twice in this thread and one of the remarks was rather negative.  I have performed the work many times and have always enjoyed playing it.  There are many fine recordings of it.

Although it is not was well known he compose West Point Suite for the 150th anniversary of West Point.  Unfortunately I know of only one recording of it on Hungaroton which is out of print.  One can hear it on YouTube.  It is rather adventurous amount of bitonality.  I really like the last movement. 

He composed many great chamber works for winds.  There is one woodwind quintet that I used to play: La cheminée du roi René.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/-_BVoZqoENg" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/-_BVoZqoENg</a>

Offline Rons_talking

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #156 on: June 22, 2017, 08:24:12 AM »
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/-_BVoZqoENg" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/-_BVoZqoENg</a>

Really nice!
The biggest problem Milhaud's music has is that each work must compete with all of his others. I can see how frustrating it could be to know a Milhaud work intimately while other fans have yet to hear it. I've spent a lot of hours listening to his music (mostly Op400-plus) yet so many of his works such as this one are new to me. I like most of what I hear of Milhaud with the exception being the works that employ strident polytonality unremittingly. But overall, I'm a fan. This work must be fun to perform. I'm envious.  ;)

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #157 on: June 22, 2017, 12:43:00 PM »
Really nice!
The biggest problem Milhaud's music has is that each work must compete with all of his others. I can see how frustrating it could be to know a Milhaud work intimately while other fans have yet to hear it. I've spent a lot of hours listening to his music (mostly Op400-plus) yet so many of his works such as this one are new to me. I like most of what I hear of Milhaud with the exception being the works that employ strident polytonality unremittingly. But overall, I'm a fan. This work must be fun to perform. I'm envious.  ;)

I'm finding 'Les Choephores' less than snyprrr-friendly :P...


I'm finding
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Offline snyprrr

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974) STRING QUARTETS 1-18; OCTET
« Reply #158 on: November 03, 2017, 05:01:10 PM »
String Quartets 1-18; Octet


I'm slowly going through the Parisii Cycle, hitting the highlights I remembered from before.I usually skip 1-2 because of that other CD that has the much better performances.

No.13: short, cheery, and chipper, it reminds me of what I'd like Revueltas to sound like at times... a 'Mexicana' finale...

No.5: the densest and most Schoenbergian of all, this is one dense underbrush, like four keys at once, but, I kiiind of like it a little. It is quite salty thought, like a little dissonant Cowell.

Nos. 7 & 12: the two "sweetest" still have a bit of bite here and there. There's ALWAYS just a bit of bite in all Milhaud. But, 12is his tribute to Faure...



I have yet to gointo 14-15 and the Octet, but I do recall them well, very interesting all around- quite sublime if you ask me...


I think 16 is more on the sweet side, but 17 and 18 make somewhat mirror opposites, one sweet, the other rough. But they are all highly mature works of considerable elevation, imo.


That leaves 6, 8-11, which I think dovetail with the Villa-Lobos SQs 7-11... now you know the heart of this particular project...




Milhaud's multi-tonality really is kind of his trademark, and one hears his particular voice quite well throughout the Cycle.
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Offline snyprrr

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974) BEOUF... CREATION...SAUDADES...SCARMOUCHE...
« Reply #159 on: November 06, 2017, 08:04:10 AM »
Ifinally have heard all the jazzy bits I have been avoiding for decades:

Creation du Monde: not as exciting as its reputation... did I miss something here?

Le Beouf bla bla Toit: NOW, THIS IS WHAT I WAS LOOKIN...
G FOR!! Great little flute/piccolo refrain!!

Saudades de Brazil: yea, this is good HVL here!!

Scaramouche: yea, ok in that Milhaud way
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