Author Topic: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)  (Read 33633 times)

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snyprrr

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #80 on: September 09, 2012, 08:53:31 AM »
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #81 on: September 10, 2012, 08:49:17 PM »
I've been thinking about Milhaud a good bit lately. What I love about his music is the overabundant feeling of joy that pours from the music. He really had a zest for life I think and you can hear it in the music. I know a few have expressed dislike for his symphonies, but I think they are, dare I say, some of the best French symphonies ever composed. For me, Honegger, Roussel, and Milhaud are the great French symphonists. I was listening to his Symphony No. 6 earlier today and this is such a beautiful work. The structure of the work is like this: slow movement, fast movement, slow, and fast. I think what gives many listeners a problem, like I have mentioned before, is the polytonality, but I think Milhaud used it masterfully. This is a compositional technique he employed a lot in his symphonies and many other works. Right now, I'm listening to his PCs (Korstick/Francis) and making my way through (again) the symphony set on CPO with Francis.
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snyprrr

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #82 on: September 11, 2012, 06:53:50 AM »
I've been thinking about Milhaud a good bit lately. What I love about his music is the overabundant feeling of joy that pours from the music. He really had a zest for life I think and you can hear it in the music. I know a few have expressed dislike for his symphonies, but I think they are, dare I say, some of the best French symphonies ever composed. For me, Honegger, Roussel, and Milhaud are the great French symphonists. I was listening to his Symphony No. 6 earlier today and this is such a beautiful work. The structure of the work is like this: slow movement, fast movement, slow, and fast. I think what gives many listeners a problem, like I have mentioned before, is the polytonality, but I think Milhaud used it masterfully. This is a compositional technique he employed a lot in his symphonies and many other works. Right now, I'm listening to his PCs (Korstick/Francis) and making my way through (again) the symphony set on CPO with Francis.

I've been coming around to these French Composers' more extrovert and 'light' works. I might finally be ready for that Bernstein disc (EMI) with the Saudades, Le Beouf, and... what is that third piece?

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #83 on: September 11, 2012, 07:02:53 AM »
I've been coming around to these French Composers' more extrovert and 'light' works. I might finally be ready for that Bernstein disc (EMI) with the Saudades, Le Beouf, and... what is that third piece?

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snyprrr

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #84 on: September 12, 2012, 09:07:52 PM »
I've been thinking about Milhaud a good bit lately. What I love about his music is the overabundant feeling of joy that pours from the music. He really had a zest for life I think and you can hear it in the music. I know a few have expressed dislike for his symphonies, but I think they are, dare I say, some of the best French symphonies ever composed. For me, Honegger, Roussel, and Milhaud are the great French symphonists. I was listening to his Symphony No. 6 earlier today and this is such a beautiful work. The structure of the work is like this: slow movement, fast movement, slow, and fast. I think what gives many listeners a problem, like I have mentioned before, is the polytonality, but I think Milhaud used it masterfully. This is a compositional technique he employed a lot in his symphonies and many other works. Right now, I'm listening to his PCs (Korstick/Francis) and making my way through (again) the symphony set on CPO with Francis.

Pulled out the DG 6-7. You have the whole set, right? I hear 10 is of high quality, what do you say about the last ones?

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #85 on: September 12, 2012, 09:11:00 PM »
Pulled out the DG 6-7. You have the whole set, right? I hear 10 is of high quality, what do you say about the last ones?

Yes, I own the whole CPO set with Alun Francis conducting. I don't really remember the later symphonies. I'll have to revisit them at some point. Symphonies Nos. 1, 4, 5, & 6 are the ones that stand out to me right now.
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snyprrr

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #86 on: September 12, 2012, 09:18:55 PM »
Yes, I own the whole CPO set with Alun Francis conducting. I don't really remember the later symphonies. I'll have to revisit them at some point. Symphonies Nos. 1, 4, 5, & 6 are the ones that stand out to me right now.

Isn't No.5 the band work that's like under ten minutes?

I've got 1-2, 4, 6-8 and love them all, but I have stayed away from the 3rd. I'd like to compare the late Milhaud Symphonies with the late Villa-Lobos Symphonies.

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #87 on: September 12, 2012, 09:21:51 PM »
Isn't No.5 the band work that's like under ten minutes?

I've got 1-2, 4, 6-8 and love them all, but I have stayed away from the 3rd. I'd like to compare the late Milhaud Symphonies with the late Villa-Lobos Symphonies.

No, Milhaud's 5th is around 30 minutes and it's for full orchestra.
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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #88 on: December 12, 2012, 12:29:56 PM »
DM doesn't seem to get much love around here,

Maybe not, but you'll never see me bad mouth the composer. He's one my favorites and has been since I've I plowed my way through the symphony and concerto sets on CPO with Francis. Truly rewarding music that may not be to everyone's tastes, but I find layers and layers of beauty in his music. Milhaud appeals to another part of my personality: the upbeat, enthusiastic side. This music genuinely puts me in a good mood. Not all of Milhaud's music should be taken as a joyful jolt of electricity though. There's a lot of tender, lyrical beauty in his music. His popularity may be waning and new recordings of his music less and less likely, but I'm optimistic that an enterprising conductor and orchestra will take up Milhaud's cause.
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Parsifal

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #89 on: March 31, 2013, 08:38:12 AM »
I've been feeling a lot of resonance with the music of Milhaud recently, after being indifferent to it upon my first exposure.  One work which made a big impression (and which has been discussed above, I notice) is the second Violin Concerto.  It is typical of Milhaud's style, I'd say, with seemingly inexhaustible melodic invention.  There is no grand melody to hook on to, but the music crawls with fascinating snatches of melody.  The concerto begins with a movement, marked "Dramatique" which I find utterly captivating.  I find it extremely expressive, which at the same time maintaining a certain detachment and classical poise.  At times, I imagine that Milhaud intended it as a parody, but other times it seems entirely sincere.  I find he has some similarity to Mozart, in his ability to invest seemingly simple material with deep significance.

I'm listening to the Arabella Steinbacher recording, which I find to be superb (and which has led me to search for other recordings she has made). 

(Name of artist corrected, as pointed out by sanantonio.)
« Last Edit: March 31, 2013, 11:48:56 AM by Parsifal »

Offline The new erato

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #90 on: March 31, 2013, 08:59:47 AM »
I've been feeling a lot of resonance with the music of Milhaud recently, after being indifferent to it upon my first exposure.  One work which made a big impression (and which has been discussed above, I notice) is the second Violin Concerto.  It is typical of Milhaud's style, I'd say, with seemingly inexhaustible melodic invention.  There is no grand melody to hook on to, but the music crawls with fascinating snatches of melody.  The concerto begins with a movement, marked "Dramatique" which I find utterly captivating.  I find it extremely expressive, which at the same time maintaining a certain detachment and classical poise.  At times, I imagine that Milhaud intended it as a parody, but other times it seems entirely sincere.  I find he has some similarity to Mozart, in his ability to invest seemingly simple material with deep significance.

I'm listening to the Isalella Steinbacher recording, which I find to be superb (and which has led me to search for other recordings she has made).
Yep. One of my absolute favorite violin concertoes (I've known it since the 70ies with Gertler on Supraphon) and I've praised it on several occasions here. While I occasionaly find Milhaud slightly facile (in the sense that I think some of his works would have benefites from some more "resistance" while writing them), this work displays his sunny "joie de vivre" at its most infectious. It's very classical in its simplicity, yet far from simple. I have three versions on CD, including Steinbacher, yet I'm still very partial to Gertler.

Parsifal

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #91 on: March 31, 2013, 09:47:18 AM »
Yep. One of my absolute favorite violin concertoes (I've known it since the 70ies with Gertler on Supraphon) and I've praised it on several occasions here. While I occasionaly find Milhaud slightly facile (in the sense that I think some of his works would have benefites from some more "resistance" while writing them), this work displays his sunny "joie de vivre" at its most infectious. It's very classical in its simplicity, yet far from simple. I have three versions on CD, including Steinbacher, yet I'm still very partial to Gertler.

Sounds like the Gertler is worth looking into.  I've also been listening to chamber music from Milhaud, particularly works for wind.  At some point I'll get back to the symphonies (since listening to the cpo cycle I've acquired some of Milhaud's own recordings on Erato).  I also have the Milhaud string quartet box set, untouched.

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #92 on: March 31, 2013, 06:10:08 PM »
I've been feeling a lot of resonance with the music of Milhaud recently, after being indifferent to it upon my first exposure.  One work which made a big impression (and which has been discussed above, I notice) is the second Violin Concerto.  It is typical of Milhaud's style, I'd say, with seemingly inexhaustible melodic invention.  There is no grand melody to hook on to, but the music crawls with fascinating snatches of melody.  The concerto begins with a movement, marked "Dramatique" which I find utterly captivating.  I find it extremely expressive, which at the same time maintaining a certain detachment and classical poise.  At times, I imagine that Milhaud intended it as a parody, but other times it seems entirely sincere.  I find he has some similarity to Mozart, in his ability to invest seemingly simple material with deep significance.

I'm listening to the Arabella Steinbacher recording, which I find to be superb (and which has led me to search for other recordings she has made). 

(Name of artist corrected, as pointed out by sanantonio.)

Yes, Milhaud's Violin Concerto No. 2 is a fine work. I would even say it's one of favorites, but Milhaud's oeuvre is so vast that I haven't even probably touched a quarter of it. Good to see you've made some connection with the music. Keep listening!
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Brian

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #93 on: March 04, 2014, 12:24:17 PM »
Perhaps you don't know, but Milhaud wrote a piece called "Carnival in New Orleans" with a Mardi Gras tribute!


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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #94 on: March 04, 2014, 12:31:59 PM »
I am afraid that I struggle a bit with Milhaud!
... He reminds me sometimes of Villa-Lobos. Composing obviously came fairly easily to him and compositions flowed from his pen but perhaps not always totally uncritically?

Maybe I am being unfair and maybe I should give the symphonies a second chance?
Yes, V-L is the natural comparison. Milhaud was incredibly inventive. Too much so sometimes. The symphonies I have heard are not that interesting, partly because he never plays with an idea the way one does in symphonies. Another idea comes along a couple bars later and, like an ADD child, off he goes. But a lot of the less structured music jiggles along pleasantly like a tasty blanc-mange on a shaken plate. I had a cd of him playing piano I really liked.

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #95 on: March 05, 2014, 12:30:53 AM »
Prompted by comments here, and in anticipation of the new Milhaud box on Erato due for April, I re-listened to two works by the French composer, spanning 40 years (and 319 opus numbers!) of his output.

I agree that Milhaud was perhaps so prolific that he was probably incapable of achieving sustained inspiration on many occasions. But I must comfess that I enjoyed re-listening to the two works listed below.


Les Choéphores, Op. 24 (1915)

A very striking setting of sections of Paul Claudel's quite beautiful translation of Aeschylus' play. Perhaps the language full of ostinatos can get a bit tiresome, but one should think that this is incidental music, meaning that the musical sections would be separated by long spoken passages (thus making the effect of the music less "insistent"). But there are some very effective parts (with onomatopoeic choruses, a diseuse, etc.). Orchestrally, all very "post-Sacre"...


Symphony Mr. 6, Op. 343 (1955)

A very sunny work, starting with a first movement marked "calme et tendre". Much "easier" music than the earlier work, very accessible and pleasant to listen to (but never falling into blandness)...

« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 05:22:52 AM by ritter »
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #96 on: March 05, 2014, 04:59:46 AM »
I agree that Milhaud was perhaps was so prolific that he was probably incapable of achieving sustained inspiration on many occasions.

On a purely philosophical plane, I think I might argue with the idea.

In the context of this composer, though . . . I remember numerous disappointments when surveying the symphonies, so my objection is not entire.
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Offline ritter

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #97 on: March 05, 2014, 05:32:38 AM »
On a purely philosophical plane, I think I might argue with the idea.

In the context of this composer, though . . . I remember numerous disappointments when surveying the symphonies, so my objection is not entire.
I perfectly understand your objection, Karl. I probably didn't express it correctly: it sounded as if Milhaud's prolificity automatically meant that he could be uninspired (on occasions); that's obviously not the case. But just as you seem to do, I also recall listening to some works and thinking "mmm...this really isn't that good"  ::) On the other hand, I must confess that (enjoyable as his work can be) I've never been blown over by any of the pieces of his I know, and have never said to myself  "this is a masterpiece!" (whatever the word "masterpiece" may mean  ;) ).
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 08:39:30 AM by ritter »
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Offline The new erato

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #98 on: March 05, 2014, 05:50:49 AM »
I perfectly understand your objection, Karl. I probably didn't express it correctly: it sounded as if Milhaud's prolificity automatically meant hat he could be uninspired (on occasions); that's obviously not the case. But as you seem to do, I also recall listening to some works and thinking "mmm...this really isn't that good"  ::) On the other hand, I must confess that (enjoyable as his work can be) I've never been blown over by any of the pieces of his I know, and have never said to myself  "this is a masterpiece!" (whatever the word "masterpiece" may mean  ;) ).
Except for the 2nd violin concerto, I agree.

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #99 on: March 05, 2014, 06:09:03 AM »
Except for the 2nd violin concertó...
...which I still haven't heard, and should do so soon! :) Thanks!

I believe my local brick-and-mortar shop has the Steinbacher recording on Orfeo, so that will probably be an imminent purchase!  ;)
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 06:36:14 AM by ritter »
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