Author Topic: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)  (Read 22926 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #40 on: September 13, 2010, 05:26:06 PM »
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?)...

I think some of Milhaud's best music, that I've heard so far anyway, has been post-Les Six. I have never been that impressed with Les Six anyway. I do enjoy Honegger's and Poulenc's music, but Milhaud has proven to me to be quite an able composer in his older age. His symphonies, which don't sound like his earlier music are of particular fascination with me right now. One listen to Symphony No. 6, for example, I think will prove that there was much more to Milhaud than attractive surfaces. The two slow movements in this symphony are more profound than anything I've heard from the other member's pens. Have you heard this symphony, Sid? I doubt that many people have heard his symphonies at all, but I think one listen to his 6th will reveal a depth to his music not quite heard before.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 07:41:28 AM by Mirror Image »
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Sid

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #41 on: September 13, 2010, 05:35:27 PM »
No, haven't heard any of his symphonies. But I already have some of his orchestral works, I'm more interested in (say) getting into some of his songs (there are a few good cd's on Naxos). I especially like the way he writes for voice/choir in the Sacred Service, and wouldn't mind hearing something more intimate (voice & piano). The final year opera students at the Sydney Conservatorium will put on his opera The Sorrows of Orpheus in October, I'll probably go if I'm in the mood as it's inexpensive...

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #42 on: September 13, 2010, 06:02:39 PM »
No, haven't heard any of his symphonies. But I already have some of his orchestral works, I'm more interested in (say) getting into some of his songs (there are a few good cd's on Naxos). I especially like the way he writes for voice/choir in the Sacred Service, and wouldn't mind hearing something more intimate (voice & piano). The final year opera students at the Sydney Conservatorium will put on his opera The Sorrows of Orpheus in October, I'll probably go if I'm in the mood as it's inexpensive...

As I stated above, his symphonies are very different from his other orchestral works. There is a seriousness that runs deep through the music, but at the same time it does have many of his trademarks, but the jazz influence is less apparent in these works.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #43 on: September 13, 2010, 07:50:31 PM »
Just purchased this:
 

 
Another late Milhaud work that is very serious in tone. Sid, you should forget about the early output and look into his late works. They are magical!
"Music must be beautiful, or it wouldn’t be worth the effort” - Bohuslav Martinů

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #44 on: September 13, 2010, 08:03:48 PM »
I have got that Naxos disc of the Sacred Service. I know it intimately. I actually think it's pretty light & tuneful. I especially like the background music to the parts spoken by the rabbi (who is Australian, by the way). This music is far more interesting than most things that one would call background music. The additional prayers for Friday evening are more intimate in tone, and an interesting contrast...

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #45 on: September 13, 2010, 08:20:42 PM »
I have got that Naxos disc of the Sacred Service. I know it intimately. I actually think it's pretty light & tuneful. I especially like the background music to the parts spoken by the rabbi (who is Australian, by the way). This music is far more interesting than most things that one would call background music. The additional prayers for Friday evening are more intimate in tone, and an interesting contrast...

Now, you should hear the symphonies. :D
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Offline snyprrr

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #46 on: September 13, 2010, 08:26:31 PM »
Just purchased this:
 

 
Another late Milhaud work that is very serious in tone. Sid, you should forget about the early output and look into his late works. They are magical!

The early works I recommend are the SQs 1-2 and the Sonata for flute, oboe, clarinet and piano. The latter has that languid French feel, length and substance, and is free of 1920s jokiness. It's just nice, semi-impressionistic music. Available on many cds.

The SQ No.1 has the obligatory Debussy SQ reference (I'm starting to hear that Deb intro in all kinds of French SQs).

M's early phase lasts until his trip to Brazil (1919?), and there's not much more chamber worth mentioning other than the tiny Violin Sonata No.2, which is tiny!

However, try the three pieces above for M's early impressionistic phase. He definitely switches gears in the 20s (I'm pretty eh on the 20s classical/jazz thing).

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #47 on: September 20, 2010, 12:32:00 PM »
The early works I recommend are the SQs 1-2 and the Sonata for flute, oboe, clarinet and piano. The latter has that languid French feel, length and substance, and is free of 1920s jokiness. It's just nice, semi-impressionistic music. Available on many cds.

The SQ No.1 has the obligatory Debussy SQ reference (I'm starting to hear that Deb intro in all kinds of French SQs).

M's early phase lasts until his trip to Brazil (1919?), and there's not much more chamber worth mentioning other than the tiny Violin Sonata No.2, which is tiny!

However, try the three pieces above for M's early impressionistic phase. He definitely switches gears in the 20s (I'm pretty eh on the 20s classical/jazz thing).

I'm actually, as with most composers, more interested in his orchestral output, which I have been getting a good bite on lately. I just ordered a Hyperion recording with some works like La Carnaval d'Aix for piano and orchestra on it and from what I heard it sounded great.
 
Again, I still think people should give his symphonies a chance even if they've already heard the only box set available of these works (on CPO). I think he deserves more a chance to get under people's skin. He's a composer a listener has to spend some time with in order to understand better. He loved polyphony, but as I mentioned above the way he used it is so accessible.
"Music must be beautiful, or it wouldn’t be worth the effort” - Bohuslav Martinů

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #48 on: September 20, 2010, 10:00:05 PM »

I'm actually, as with most composers, more interested in his orchestral output, which I have been getting a good bite on lately. I just ordered a Hyperion recording with some works like La Carnaval d'Aix for piano and orchestra on it and from what I heard it sounded great.
 
Again, I still think people should give his symphonies a chance even if they've already heard the only box set available of these works (on CPO). I think he deserves more a chance to get under people's skin. He's a composer a listener has to spend some time with in order to understand better. He loved polyphony, but as I mentioned above the way he used it is so accessible.

I've got 1-2, 6-7 (DG), and the 4/8 on Erato, and all of them are charming. The DG presentation makes those four sound like sprawling comforters, reminding me also of your fav V-L. The Erato disc is more bracing, with both symphonies' programs aiding the excitement. I especially enjoyed the depiction of the river all thoughout 8.

I know some say that his Symphonies put them to sleep, but if I need something truly relaxed, that is modern and not Mozart, then those two DG disc are what I go to. Serene and Mediterrainean (sic).
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #49 on: September 21, 2010, 08:21:55 AM »
I've got 1-2, 6-7 (DG), and the 4/8 on Erato, and all of them are charming. The DG presentation makes those four sound like sprawling comforters, reminding me also of your fav V-L. The Erato disc is more bracing, with both symphonies' programs aiding the excitement. I especially enjoyed the depiction of the river all thoughout 8.

I know some say that his Symphonies put them to sleep, but if I need something truly relaxed, that is modern and not Mozart, then those two DG disc are what I go to. Serene and Mediterrainean (sic).

Milhaud's Symphony No. 6 is probably my favorite of his symphonies. The music sounds so personal. I love the two slow movements. I need to relisten to the 8th.
 
I think if anybody really sat down and listened to Symphony No. 6 they would realize what a master composer he truly was, but many people expect fireworks right from the beginning and I'm glad to say this symphony doesn't deliver on what the listener expects. It delivers on only the music itself, which is beautifully displayed and executed.
"Music must be beautiful, or it wouldn’t be worth the effort” - Bohuslav Martinů

karlhenning

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #50 on: September 21, 2010, 08:38:15 AM »
Milhaud's Symphony No. 6 is probably my favorite of his symphonies. The music sounds so personal. I love the two slow movements. I need to relisten to the 8th.
 
I think if anybody really sat down and listened to Symphony No. 6 they would realize what a master composer he truly was, but many people expect fireworks right from the beginning and I'm glad to say this symphony doesn't deliver on what the listener expects. It delivers on only the music itself, which is beautifully displayed and executed.

I'll give the Sixth a fresh listen.  I made my way through the set some time ago, though it appears to have found greater sympathetic resonance with your esteemed self.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #51 on: September 21, 2010, 08:46:55 AM »
I'll give the Sixth a fresh listen.  I made my way through the set some time ago, though it appears to have found greater sympathetic resonance with your esteemed self.

To be honest, Milhaud did very little for me when I heard him over a year ago. I bought a 2-CD set on Erato with Kent Negano conducting and I remember being disappointed in the music. It has only been within this month that I've listened to his music again. I had bought that symphony set on Cpo earlier this year and it just sat there for months. One reason I bought the set is because it was cheap at the time I bought it. I finally buckled down and listened to this set and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I went into my listening with no pre-conceived notions and just listened to the music. I did some research on the composer and read a lot about him and what can I say? I understand his music much better now and it actually resonated with me this time. Good stuff.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2010, 08:54:53 AM by Mirror Image »
"Music must be beautiful, or it wouldn’t be worth the effort” - Bohuslav Martinů

CD

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #52 on: September 21, 2010, 02:42:27 PM »
You know, I'd forgotten I started this thread way back when I was Kullervo!

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #53 on: September 21, 2010, 06:12:00 PM »

Milhaud's Symphony No. 6 is probably my favorite of his symphonies. The music sounds so personal. I love the two slow movements. I need to relisten to the 8th.
 
I think if anybody really sat down and listened to Symphony No. 6 they would realize what a master composer he truly was, but many people expect fireworks right from the beginning and I'm glad to say this symphony doesn't deliver on what the listener expects. It delivers on only the music itself, which is beautifully displayed and executed.

Maybe it was 6.

For those of you who have the box, I hear 10 is the best of the latter bunch. Guys?
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #54 on: September 21, 2010, 07:23:30 PM »
Maybe it was 6.

The 6th is amazing from start to finish. As I stated, it is my one of my favorites along with the 1st, 4th, and 5th. I really need to go back and relisten to the others. I don't remember the 10th, but that doesn't necessarily mean it was bad.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #55 on: January 04, 2011, 07:45:16 AM »
Does anybody else own this 2-CD set too?



Anyone interested in Milhaud's works for piano and orchestra should acquire this set, it's fantastic!
"Music must be beautiful, or it wouldn’t be worth the effort” - Bohuslav Martinů

Offline Daverz

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #56 on: January 04, 2011, 10:02:44 AM »


All delightful music.

I've been back and forth through the "big" symphonies, and while they all sound beautiful, none really stick out in my mind yet.  It was probably an overload of music.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 10:05:37 AM by Daverz »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #57 on: March 28, 2011, 07:59:57 PM »
Very much in agreement here. I have the box set of all the symphonies but I never play them. Which is the best? I will have another go with it.

In my opinion, Symphonies Nos. 3, 5, & 6 are amazing in not only their rhythmic vitality, but there is a lyricism that runs deep through these works. Symphony No. 6, in the first two movements, contain some of the most beautiful musical passages I've ever heard come from his pen.

This said, I can understand that not everybody will like Milhaud's music whether they're listening to his symphonies, chamber works, ballets, concertos, etc. His style is very difficult to grasp or take in even for experienced classical listeners. There's so much polytonality, which, for some people, this is a rather distracting compositional technique. The polytonality doesn't bother me, because so much of his music is catapulted by strong rhythms and he always has fascinating harmonies that keep the music from sinking into an abyss of overabundant clatter.

I make up a small group of GMG members that have been moved by his music, but I do hope that you will continue to listen to his music. Like I said, it's not for everyone, but I think if one is patient (like I have been with Holmboe's music) that in due time you will reap the rewards of your efforts. You may never enjoy the music, but you will truly never know unless you keep trying.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2011, 08:11:48 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #58 on: March 28, 2011, 08:01:22 PM »
For those of you who have the box, I hear 10 is the best of the latter bunch. Guys?

The 10th is very good indeed, but the 11th has some beautiful moments that I simply can't choose between them.
"Music must be beautiful, or it wouldn’t be worth the effort” - Bohuslav Martinů

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #59 on: March 29, 2011, 06:23:15 AM »
Milhaud is one of my favorite composers - I especially like his string quartets.  I have the Quatuor Parisii  set, and would highly recommend it, but it is, sadly, very hard to find.



They cover many differing styles, from beautiful to acerbic. Impossible to pick favorites here! Thanks for reminding me.
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