Author Topic: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)  (Read 22927 times)

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Offline snyprrr

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2009, 05:57:43 PM »
I once wrote out Milhaud's and Martinu's work lists to try to make some sense.

I was sure the Van/Dun were gonna be chirping lovely songs about the symphonies, but no? Only one mention of the great Plasson/DG recordings of 1-2/6-7. I can see if you have the entire Francis box you might not be able to get a handle, but as packaged by DG, these syms (along with 4/8 on Erato), to me, sound like the greatest 1940s type symphonies. No, at the moment I can't tell them apart (4/8 is another story), but they all have that laid back French country sound...I mean, who else Frenchy was writing syms. (now I've done it!)? Maybe I just like it cause it's on DG :o.
Sym.3 has the vocals (death for me), Sym.5 is like 8min. long, and Sym.10 was the last one anybody had anything good to say about. So I think the 2 DGs and the Erato would be the place to go.

come on, symphony guys...give 1-2,6-7 another spin (preferrably on a sunny/rainy afternoon)...but 4/8 are really quite rollicking. These syms are all amoungst my favs (20th cent.). Just appealing, I think.

I've had my fair share of wayward Milhaud discs, including the Vox 2cd that had a welter (!) plethora (stop) of interesting quirky and sometimes annoying pieces. Most of the annoying stuff is either early or late (that's why I think the syms.,squarely in the middle, benefit). But there's a lot of annoying Milhaud out there for me, too.

However, along with the syms. discs I mentioned, the Erato piano concerto disc (2/4+) w/Claude Hellfter? is music I've really enjoyed, especially the big cto. No.4. Glittering, happy, and gay.

Besides the 17 SQs, which I would like to address seperately, Milhaud's chamber music is a throw up your hands in defeat affair. I had his complete viola music cd, and there wasn't anything "wrong" with it, but...same for violin sonata No.2. And the wind music and wind sonatas don't make me forget Poulenc.

But the one standout is an early sonata for piano and winds (that ole london cd of french chamber music) that has the languid sound I was searching for in Milhaud.

Cello sonata (1958) and piano trio (1971?) show that his amicable style stayed with him.

I'm looking over his work list now. Half of it is songs and trifles, and when you whittle down the "obvious" discards, things get a "little" more manageable. Yea, there doesn't seem to be anything else that make me drool, so I'm going to considered myself sated.

BUTTT.....Milhaud is one of my fav composers for the above works mentioned, and the box of 17 SQs (Parisii). I'll append another post for them, but as a cycle I find a lot more variety than say Villa-Lobos or Rosenberg. You can dip into different decades and really see growth..and yes, there is a "late period".
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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2009, 06:19:43 PM »
I can only echo what I wrote back in April of last year.

I am more of a 'Scandinavian/Germanic' man myself with regard to musical taste. French music has less general appeal and those French symphonies or other orchestral works which attract me are those which are most influenced by central European composers(like d'Indy or Magnard or Tournemire) or are imbued with a rich exoticism(like Koechlin or Schmitt). The easy-going Milhaud idiom is pleasant enough but there is an ultimate lack of distinction or of development in Milhaud's music....for me. I have a lot of Milhaud in my collection-both Plasson on DG and Francis on CPO-and I can listen with pleasure to the symphonies but I find the concertos tedious, to be honest. Milhaud just seems to be eitjher chattering away with his mixture of Brazilian or jazzy dance rhythms or meandering languidly through a sun-kissed Provencal landscape that sends me to sleep.

More variety than Villa-Lobos or Rosenberg? Well I would put Villa-Lobos in much the same category as Milhaud actually. Rosenberg....oh no! Much more to my taste anyway but given that we don't have recordings of three out of his eight symphonies(Nos. 1, 7 or 8) and only an ancient recording of No.5 I really don't think that it is fair to come to such a conclusion.

Offline Daverz

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2009, 06:39:59 PM »
I heard a lovely wind quintet by Milhaud with some delicious harmonies at a recent local concert: La Cheminée du roi René

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2009, 04:06:06 AM »
We played a Suite of some stripe in high school band . . . left me cold.  I want to like the symphonies more than it seems I do . . . .

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2010, 10:32:54 PM »
DM doesn't seem to get much love around here, but I still find some fleeting moments of High Modernism

accck!,...what am I saying?? :o It's late, oy,...2:30,...

The stuff I like by him I like.
The stuff I don't like I don't like.

But, amoungst other stuff, I just recently piggy backed his Percussion/Marimba Concerto (from the '50s, I think) on a Markus Leoson recital, and, this piece is quite superbly joyous in that ingratiatingly Milhaudian manner. I can't remember if this was on that VoxBox (anyone?),...which, btw, is a hoot (one of the Concertos is a hot mess as I recall).

The newbie should always be careful wenst picking their first Milhaud! 8)
« Last Edit: August 16, 2010, 06:10:20 AM by snyprrr »
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Offline just Jeff

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2010, 10:48:20 PM »
Kinda trippy in a cool way, no?

Sgt Pepper cutouts meet in a Yellow Sub / flower power-four leaf clover during the summer of 1968 (the one after the Summer of Love)



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Offline just Jeff

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #26 on: August 16, 2010, 04:34:52 AM »
But seriously,

La création du monde, ballet for orchestra, Op. 81 might be his masterwork imo.
Conducted by Charles Munch / Boston Symphony Orchestra on RCA is a sturdy performance of the work.

Sassy brassy and bold, avant-garde twists and turns.  I like it when tradition is turned inside out by those who know their history well enough to pull it off.
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Offline snyprrr

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #27 on: August 17, 2010, 07:06:32 PM »
So, I trudged through the Milhaud Thread at Amazon. The Marimba/Vibraphone Concerto (late '40s) is not the same as the Percussion Concerto ('20s), which is probably a good thing.

The VoxBox has the Viola, Percussion, 2Piano (or is it PC No.1?), and various Cello Concertos, along with other stuff. The first two I recall as noisy 1920s.

After page after page of Toit cds, I saw the only cd that's been plaguing me for years: the Largo/Clementi Trio cd of Piano Trios by Shostakovich (No.1!), Milhaud, Tailfairre (sic?), and Roslavets. It's currently going for way more than I'm willing to pay, but it's a great little cd of 20th Century PTs.

Also, there was a new recording of the Clarinet Concerto, previously unavailable. I'm curious about this one.

The only other thing would be to get the one cd that has ALL the typical pieces I pretend I don't want to hear. Which is the best for that, the EMI?



Currently, my Milhaud Collection consists of:

DG Symphonies 1-2
DG Symphonies 6-7 (both,...plus Suite Mediterranean & Suite Francaise)
Erato Symphonies 4/8

Erato Piano Concertos disc (Helffer, 2 and 4, plus Etudes, etc.)

Complete SQs (Parisii/Auvidis)
SQs 1-2 (Arriaga/Discovery)

DG Les Choephoerees (whatever ::)),...not something I picked

Sonata for fl, ob, cl, pf (1919; Decca)

Sonata for Cello & Piano (1948; Music & Arts)

Piano Trio (ok, not yet!)



And, honestly, I think that wind quartet Sonata above is Milhaud's best non-SQ chamber work. It's on a lot of different cds,... but, anyhow, it is more substantial than most any other Milhaud chamber work, and also has a carefree lyicism without any of that '20s kitsch. It's the best work of Milhaud's First Period (1912-19), along with the 2 SQs (ok ok, that doesn't leave much else, except the Violin Sonata, which is a mere pittance).

Which brings me to Milhaud's string Sonatas (one for violin (though it's No.2), two plus for viola, and one for cello). None are essenial, though M's viola works were all created around the same time for a specific performer (I had a disc on Centaur, I believe), a whole cd's worth of stuff, and, it's all pretty agreeable, though, I think viola lovers will like it especially. Just for myself I prefer the Cello Sonata (1958), an especially well crafted, though, of course, typical piece.



M's wind chamber music is where things get hairy, though, I'm not all that fond here. It's mostly quirky '20s stuff, and beyond, (I like Poulenc better here), so, that's why I say the early Sonata (1919) is his best. It's just music, without the extras. And, about 20mins.



I hope that helps a little. I went through a long bout with Milhaud early on, so, I hope you can trust me here. I've got the scars to prove it!
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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #28 on: August 17, 2010, 08:54:39 PM »
I like La creation du monde, probably my favourite classical-jazz crossover work. Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue sounds much less spontaneous. I have the Bernstein recording. I also like Scaramouche, in both the version for two pianos & for saxophone & orchestra. The last movement makes me feel I'm on the beach in Rio or something. Saudades do Brasil is another good work. I agree that his facile polyrhythms can be a bit repetitive at times (Ox on the Roof is my least favourite for this reason, he repeats that theme ad nauseum). & even his more serious works, like the Sacred Service, have this lightness of touch which is very elegant and French. The final year students at the Sydney Conservatorium will be doing his chamber opera The Sorrows of Orpheus in October, I'll be seeing that then (it's not often that his music is played live)...
« Last Edit: August 18, 2010, 06:44:44 PM by Sid »

Offline jurajjak

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #29 on: August 17, 2010, 08:58:48 PM »
I am sympathetic to Milhaud, but much of his music does seem to blend together amorphously in my memory. His opera Christoph Colomb is another matter, though--a huge affair scored for large forces. When it was first performed, critical opinion was divided on the work, which was seen as an attempt to drag grand opera into the 20th century. It is worth searching out, and is testament to Milhaud's ability to write more than jazzy trifles.


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Offline The new erato

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #30 on: August 18, 2010, 04:40:52 AM »
Opera`s? Christophe Colombe used to be available, and I have Le Pauvre Matelot (?) - the poor sailor -  on an ASV CD.

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #31 on: August 18, 2010, 05:46:25 AM »
I suppose that we have a quite incomplete view of Milhaud's oeuvre. ( more than 400 opusnumbers).
Not all is - as can be expected- of the some quality. But he has -at least- a very distictive voice, a very recognisable style/writing.

I tend to agree that some of his early works are fresher, more original, less repetitive. Much, however, is never played or played by orchetras or conductors not really sympathetic to his musical world.


Opera's
Voltooid in titel aktes première libretto
1910-1914 La Brebis égarée, op. 4 3 aktes, 20 taferelen 10 december 1923, Parijs, Opéra-Comique Francis Jammes
 
1913/1915-1916-1922 L'Orestie d'Eschyle, trilogie

Agamemnon, opus 14 (Aischylos Paul Claudel, 1e deel van de Oresteia) - toneelmuziek voor sopraan, mannenkoor en orkest;
Les Choéphores, opus 24, (naar Aischylos bewerkt door Paul Claudel, 2e deel van de Oresteia) - zeven toneelmuzieken voor sopraan, bariton, vrouwelijke spreekstem, gemengd koor, slagwerk en orkest
Les Euménides, opus 41
 3 aktes 18 november 1949, Brussel, Radio INR (Aischylos Paul Claudel, 3e deel van de Oresteia)

1925 Les Malheurs d'Orphée, opus 85 3 aktes 7 mei 1926, Brussel, Koninklijke Muntschouwburg Armand Lunel

1925-1927 Esther de Carpentras, opus 89 2 aktes concertant: 1937, Radio Rennes; scenisch: 1 februari 1938, Parijs, Opéra-Comique Armand Lunel

1926 Le Pauvre Matelot, opus 92 3 aktes 16 december 1927, Parijs, Opéra-Comique; 2e versie: 15 november 1934, Genève Jean Cocteau

1926-1927 Les Opéras-minute - Trilogie

L'Enlèvement d'Europe, opus 94
L'Abandon d'Ariane, opus 98
La Délivrance de Thésée, opus 99
17 juli 1927, Baden-Baden, Kammermusikfest
20 april 1928, Wiesbaden, Staatstheater
20 april 1928, Wiesbaden, Staatstheater
 Henri Hoppenot

1928 Christoph Colomb 2 aktes, 27 taferelen 5 mei 1930, Berlijn, Staatsoper Unter den Linden; 2e versie: concertant: 2 juni 1956, Parijs, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées; scenisch: juni 1968, Graz, Sommerspiele Paul Claudel

1930-1931 Maximilien, opus 110 3 aktes, 9 taferelen 5 januari 1932, Parijs, Opéra Garnier Franz Werfel/Rudolf Stephan Hoffmann/Armand Lunel

1938 Médée, opus 191 eenakter 7 oktober 1939, Antwerpen, Vlaamse Opera Madeleine Milhaud

1943 Bolívar, opus 236 3 aktes 12 mei 1950, Parijs, Opéra Garnier Jules Supervielle/Madeleine Milhaud

1952-1953 David, opus 320 5 aktes concertant: 1 juni 1954, Jeruzalem; scenisch: 2 februari 1955, Milaan, Teatro alla Scala Armand Lunel

1958 Fiesta, opus 370 eenakter 3 oktober 1958, Berlijn, Deutsche Oper Boris Vian

1964-1965 La Mère coupable, opus 412 3 aktes 13 juni 1966, Genève, Grand Théâtre Madeleine Milhaud, naar Beaumarchais

1970 Saint-Louis roi de France, opéra-oratorio, opus 434 2 delen concertant: 18 maart 1972 Rome, RAI; scenisch: 14 april 1972, Rio de Janeiro, Teatro Municipal Paul Claudel/Henri Doublier

The ballet 'lHomme et son désir , Protée, symphonies 1.2.3,4 and 8, the concerto for 2 pianos and 4 percussion, violinconcerto nr2...I find highly enjoyable .
Les Choéphores ( recently played in Lille / Casadesus) is very impressive.
P;



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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #32 on: August 18, 2010, 05:49:57 AM »
I suppose that we have a quite incomplete view of Milhaud's oeuvre. ( more than 400 opusnumbers).
Not all is - as can be expected- of the some quality. But he has -at least- a very distictive voice, a very recognisable style/writing.

I tend to agree that some of his early works are fresher, more original, less repetitive. Much, however, is never played or played by orchetras or conductors not really sympathetic to his musical world.

I can only hope that there will be a symphony cycle by someone who believes in the music as a vital thing.  The cpo cycle has, in effect, convinced me that it's the sonic equivalent of mashed potatoes.

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #33 on: August 18, 2010, 12:44:37 PM »
pjme:

I wrote down all his Opus Numbers on paper, four pages, whilst leaving holes for things like Songs and Opera. Now, if we take your list and chop it off, add the Songs (you didn't list Songs, did you?), and chop them off, and maybe even take the 4cds of Piano Music and chop that off...

whew!
Then I think we are left with quite a manageable ouevre. His Concertos aren't endless (though, the confusion around the Four Seasons had me going). His Chamber Music output is very large, but when you cut out the fat, and, hmmm, excuse me, but he waaas fat!, when you cut it down to the wire, I think we could come up with a good consensus.

But yea, when you simply seperate all that Vocal output from the rest, that does a lot to clear things up.



btw- Things get pretty easy in the last decade of M's composing, or, starting around the '60s. This is when he was writing all these Music for... pieces (like Music for Prague), the Globetrotter bit, more Vocal stuff, and the odd Wind Quintet and Piano Trio. Hardly any of this music is recorded, and, it probably doesn't matter. Looking over my list, I see no screaming Masterpieces, or even, anything really interesting (though, haha, I am looking for that PT).

So, perhaps, M's work peaks around the early '50s, with the last SQs and Symphonies, and other larger works? Oy, all of a sudden I'm thinking Villa-Lobos. Is he next on the prune-o-meter? ;D
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #34 on: September 12, 2010, 08:09:01 PM »
I can tell Milhaud is going to be like Martinu was for me: pleasant on first hearing, but needs more time to sink in. I have heard next to nothing by Milhaud. I'm about to finish up listening to his symphonies, but I know I'm going to have to spend more time with the music. It is very attractive music. The polytonal lines do sometimes, not all the time, seem directionless, but the way he used them is very upfront and accessible. He made music clash against each other and sometimes this, in conjunction with a strong rhythm, can sound quite good. Milhaud's symphonies aren't without their moments of tenderness either. The slow movement to Symphony No. 6 is so gorgeous.
 
Anyway, I can understand why many wouldn't like his music, but at the same time, it makes me wonder how much time and effort the listener has put into understanding the music? I've liked what I have heard so far.
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Offline Dax

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #35 on: September 12, 2010, 09:43:21 PM »
La création du monde is an enjoyable rather than admirable work - and not because it has anything much to do with jazz. It's the earlier works that seem to have more going for them, whereas some of the later more popular things like Scaramouche seem pretty tiresome, at least to me. (The beginning of the last movement, which is the bit that everybody remembers, is lifted from the beginning of Ernesto Nazareth's Brejeiro). The actual amount that he wrote is not a criticism per se, but the impression that he's a note-spinner tells against him and, with respect, I don't think the same accusation can be made against, say, Villa-Lobos or Liszt.

The early chamber symphonies (especially nos 2 + 3) have always retained a charm, but then perhaps I'm easily seduced by the perversely polytonal.

Here's no 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAhaoqPqLKE&feature=related

and no 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Z6d6WGwWBw&feature=related

And the others can easily be accessed if anyone's interested.

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #36 on: September 13, 2010, 05:41:18 AM »
I finally got this disc with Piano Trios (Largo; Clementi Trio) by DSCH (No.1), Roslavets, Taillferre, and Milhaud.

I was quite surprised by Milhaud's PT (1968). One may not know what to expect from the vintage, but in this case, M has put his whole lifetime's knowledge into this piece. As far as I can tell, it's serialist,... rather, it sounds influenced by Schoenberg, which, for M, is a good thing.

The PT starts off semi-mysteriously, and continues as if it were a more genial cousin of Schoenberg's String Trio. This may be the most "post 1950s" work I've heard from Milhaud. The word "substance" seems to be operative here; there really is a lot of good stuff in its four mvmts. Of course, it's not mind blowingly freaky, or anything, but, as far as Modern Piano Trios go, hey, I don't know too many winners.

So, if anyone is looking for a perfect disc of PTs, this Largo disc is for you.
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karlhenning

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #37 on: September 13, 2010, 05:49:25 AM »
I finally got this disc with Piano Trios (Largo; Clementi Trio) by DSCH (No.1), Roslavets, Taillferre, and Milhaud.

I was quite surprised by Milhaud's PT (1968). One may not know what to expect from the vintage, but in this case, M has put his whole lifetime's knowledge into this piece. As far as I can tell, it's serialist,... rather, it sounds influenced by Schoenberg, which, for M, is a good thing.

The PT starts off semi-mysteriously, and continues as if it were a more genial cousin of Schoenberg's String Trio. This may be the most "post 1950s" work I've heard from Milhaud. The word "substance" seems to be operative here; there really is a lot of good stuff in its four mvmts. Of course, it's not mind blowingly freaky, or anything, but, as far as Modern Piano Trios go, hey, I don't know too many winners.

So, if anyone is looking for a perfect disc of PTs, this Largo disc is for you.

Very interesting, thanks!

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #38 on: September 13, 2010, 04:03:01 PM »
Just ordred this disc:
 
"Music must be beautiful, or it wouldn’t be worth the effort” - Bohuslav Martinů

Sid

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #39 on: September 13, 2010, 05:15:27 PM »
La création du monde is an enjoyable rather than admirable work - and not because it has anything much to do with jazz. It's the earlier works that seem to have more going for them, whereas some of the later more popular things like Scaramouche seem pretty tiresome, at least to me. (The beginning of the last movement, which is the bit that everybody remembers, is lifted from the beginning of Ernesto Nazareth's Brejeiro). The actual amount that he wrote is not a criticism per se, but the impression that he's a note-spinner tells against him and, with respect, I don't think the same accusation can be made against, say, Villa-Lobos or Liszt.

The early chamber symphonies (especially nos 2 + 3) have always retained a charm, but then perhaps I'm easily seduced by the perversely polytonal...

I think the problem with some listeners is that they approach Milhaud a bit too seriously. I think it's better to listen to his stuff just for the pleasure of listening. Creation is the favourite work that I know by him, followed by things like Scaramouche (the version for two pianos is a hoot), and I also like others like Carnival d'Aix and Saudades do Brasil. Things like the Ox on the Roof go on too long for the material (imo). The latest work that I have heard by him is the Sacred Service, and this is also a light and tuneful work. I haven't heard any of his symphonies or string quartets, they don't really interest me by the sound of them, but the Piano Trio mentioned above might be something I want to hear, especially since I love this genre, and I've been going to see many Piano Trios live this year. As one writer said, his music reminds one of the cubist collages of Braque and Picasso, were things like wood grain veneers and printed words or sheet music is stuck onto the painting/drawing. This is done as an effect, not necessarily because it is highly profound, but simply because it pleases the eye. Milhaud's music does similar things to the ear, but I agree with some critics that Les Six was a bit of a passing fad, not a huge amount that they wrote when they were together passess muster today as really worth listening to the same way as some of the more serious stuff. But it is an interesting footnote in musical history of the C20th (French in particular) & in many ways, some of Les Six's most interesting works came from the years following their break-up. Once the roaring twenties were over, and the world had experienced the depths of the depression and the second world war, their charm, elegance and wit was not enough to pass muster, it was by then a cliche and they either adapted or repeated themselves (or both?)...

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