Author Topic: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)  (Read 34104 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 46446
  • Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    ...Mist floating above the water...
Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #100 on: March 05, 2014, 06:44:11 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.

In general, I quite agree with you here, Karl. The symphonies aren't that good to my ears, in fact, Milhaud is far from a great composer IMHO, but I do have a soft-spot for Symphony No. 6 and a few of the concertante works, but that's about it. All of this said, I prefer Poulenc by a country mile.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 06:57:45 AM by Mirror Image »
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #101 on: March 06, 2014, 07:16:50 AM »
In general, I quite agree with you here, Karl. The symphonies aren't that good to my ears, in fact, Milhaud is far from a great composer IMHO, but I do have a soft-spot for Symphony No. 6 and a few of the concertante works, but that's about it. All of this said, I prefer Poulenc by a country mile.

sACRE bLEU!!

You can't just sit there and... and... preffffffffer Poulenc to Milhaud. Ah... uh... ack... quick, get the smelling salts! But seriously, 18 SQs vs. 0 SQs... you know, I have heard the Poulenc SQ in my head many times. It's quite a beautiful piece, maybe the greatest French SQ. I somewhat picture DSCH's 6th SQ here, but,  no, I hear the slow movement from Poulenc's 2 Piano  Concerto- or even the Piano Concerto.

Ah, yes, the Poulenc String Quartet is something to behold!

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 46446
  • Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    ...Mist floating above the water...
Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #102 on: March 06, 2014, 07:22:03 AM »
sACRE bLEU!!

You can't just sit there and... and... preffffffffer Poulenc to Milhaud. Ah... uh... ack... quick, get the smelling salts! But seriously, 18 SQs vs. 0 SQs... you know, I have heard the Poulenc SQ in my head many times. It's quite a beautiful piece, maybe the greatest French SQ. I somewhat picture DSCH's 6th SQ here, but,  no, I hear the slow movement from Poulenc's 2 Piano  Concerto- or even the Piano Concerto.

Ah, yes, the Poulenc String Quartet is something to behold!

I find Poulenc's musical language much more to my liking even though Milhaud does have some good moments here and there. I personally feel he's not even close to being on the same inspired level as Poulenc. I think Milhaud just wrote too much music when he should have been more self-critical about what he's composing. The same goes for Villa-Lobos and Martinu even though I vastly prefer their oeuvres to Milhaud's.

Interesting you mentioned Poulenc's SQ, I have yet to hear it. I'll change this soon.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline The new erato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 14563
Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #103 on: March 06, 2014, 07:37:44 AM »
There's an ensemble called the Poulenc String quartet, but otherwise I think you are a victim to the snips fantasy.

Otherwise I agree in your assessments.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2014, 09:41:53 AM by The new erato »

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 46446
  • Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    ...Mist floating above the water...
Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #104 on: March 06, 2014, 07:41:07 AM »
There's an ensemble called the Poulenc String quartet, but otherwise I think you are a victim to the snips fantasy.

Otherwise I agree in your asessments.

Oh, how foolish of me. :-[
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Ken B

  • Guest
Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #105 on: March 06, 2014, 07:50:51 AM »
Oh, how foolish of me. :-[
The man preferred Milhaud to Poulenc John. He has to be making a joke.  ;D

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 46446
  • Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    ...Mist floating above the water...
Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #106 on: March 06, 2014, 07:52:35 AM »
The man preferred Milhaud to Poulenc John. He has to be making a joke.  ;D

I really hope so. One listen to Poulenc's Clarinet Sonata will make anyone quickly forget about Milhaud. ;D
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Ken B

  • Guest
Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #107 on: March 06, 2014, 08:04:40 AM »
I really hope so. One listen to Poulenc's Clarinet Sonata will make anyone quickly forget about Milhaud. ;D
I quite like Milhaud, especially the early stuff, but I don't see him as a front ranker.
But I like him more than say Berg.


Offline San Antone

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 6794
Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #108 on: March 06, 2014, 08:13:46 AM »
I do not concern myself with ranking composers.  Both Poulenc and Milhaud wrote music which has brought me very many hours of enjoyment.  But since this thread is devoted to the music of Milhaud, here's some biograhical information ~

"Milhaud, as a progressive artist and a Jew, was undoubtedly on somebody's list and so fled to the United States after the fall of France to the Nazis in 1940. On the boat, he received a job offer from Mills College in Oakland, California, where he taught for over thirty years. After the war, he became a professor of composition at the Paris Conservatoire and thus split his time between the United States and Europe. The music of the Forties and especially of the war show an intense identification with France and Judaism in works like the Suite française (1944), Cantate de la guerre (1940), Borechou shema Israël (1944), Service sacré (1947), and Kaddisch (1945).

"The late Forties and onward produced music of greater experimentation and severity, with an emphasis on virtuoso counterpoint (the string quartets #14 and #15 of 1948 can be played separately or simultaneously as an octet), as well as works that one might categorize as remembrance, like Le château de feu (1954), Pacem in terris (1963), based on the encyclical by Pope John XXIII, and Ani maamin (1972, text by Elie Wiesel)."

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 46446
  • Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    ...Mist floating above the water...
Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #109 on: March 06, 2014, 08:16:06 AM »
I quite like Milhaud, especially the early stuff, but I don't see him as a front ranker.
But I like him more than say Berg.

But you're not a fan of dodecaphonic music in general are you?
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 46446
  • Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    ...Mist floating above the water...
Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #110 on: March 06, 2014, 08:17:43 AM »
I do not concern myself with ranking composers.

Generally, I'm not either, but here there's no debate on who I prefer and preference is the key word here.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Ken B

  • Guest
Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #111 on: March 06, 2014, 08:33:18 AM »
But you're not a fan of dodecaphonic music in general are you?
No, but I think some can make it work, or more accurately overcome it. Martin and Berg are examples. Martin I like a lot. But Dallapiccola was clearly a talented guy and I bet his music would have been better had he not been seduced by the cult.

It's not just the music.  I especially object to the way serialists took over the establishment and actively supressed other music.
Much of what we are rediscovering now was super obscure at the time.
And on classical music in general Look at the Mercury and Living Stereo boxes. They show what people were paying to hear in the late 50s. A very vibrant concert hall culture, open to modern music. That withered away for a long time. I like Glass's quote. Modern music became associated with epater les bourgeois and guys like our resident Stockhausen foghorn.

When I was in radio I played a lot of non 12 tone modern stuff, and got the reaction "I didn't know modern music could be so good." The cult's doing.

I also remember getting derided by a serialist friend in about 1978 for saying Shosty was a great composer. I think most agree now I won that debate!

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 46446
  • Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    ...Mist floating above the water...
Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #112 on: March 06, 2014, 08:38:32 AM »
I was at one point was enthusiastic about the symphonies, but now I don't feel as strongly about them. I think they all sound so similar and there's not enough differences between them to really differentiate one from the other. I do think Milhaud was better in writing concertante works and ballets. I really enjoyed his VCs, PCs, and the Harp Concerto. I'd really like to hear some of his chamber music. I think his use of polytonality in many of his works is sometimes overused and can seem redundant, and tiring, after awhile. Anyway, he's a fascinating composer for sure, but what he strove for in his music didn't always seem to gel together into something cohesive. If anything, many of his works are hindered because a general lack of thematic development and variety in emotional temperature.

All IMHO of course.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 46446
  • Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    ...Mist floating above the water...
Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #113 on: March 06, 2014, 08:47:57 AM »
No, but I think some can make it work, or more accurately overcome it. Martin and Berg are examples. Martin I like a lot. But Dallapiccola was clearly a talented guy and I bet his music would have been better had he not been seduced by the cult.

It's not just the music.  I especially object to the way serialists took over the establishment and actively supressed other music.
Much of what we are rediscovering now was super obscure at the time.
And on classical music in general Look at the Mercury and Living Stereo boxes. They show what people were paying to hear in the late 50s. A very vibrant concert hall culture, open to modern music. That withered away for a long time. I like Glass's quote. Modern music became associated with epater les bourgeois and guys like our resident Stockhausen foghorn.

When I was in radio I played a lot of non 12 tone modern stuff, and got the reaction "I didn't know modern music could be so good." The cult's doing.

I also remember getting derided by a serialist friend in about 1978 for saying Shosty was a great composer. I think most agree now I won that debate!

I personally like serialism, but I like the 'older forms' created by the Second Viennese School. I can't say I'm interested so much in where it went after these composers, but we know of it's influence and it's continuing influence over composers. Whatever dogma there is surrounding this style of composition, it should be noted that there are always good and bad examples in any kind of style.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline San Antone

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 6794
Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #114 on: March 06, 2014, 09:03:00 AM »
Quartetto per violino, viola, violoncello e pianoforte, Op.417 (1966)

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/SzzphLxg0Js" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/SzzphLxg0Js</a>

Offline San Antone

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 6794
Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #115 on: March 06, 2014, 09:20:56 AM »
I can't find a YouTube clip but this work is especially nice ~

Concerto No. 2 for Two pianos and Four percussionists, Op.394 (1961)

Included on this excellent recording, along with Poulenc and Bartok:


snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #116 on: March 06, 2014, 12:57:27 PM »
Oh, how foolish of me. :-[

No harm- you heard it in your head, didn't you? Just the mere notion of a Poulenc SQ is what I meant~ Poor John, someone get him a scotch! I know, these aaare trying times we live in.


Still, kinda funny, no?!! 0:)


So, who actually wrote a "Poulenc String Quartet"? I  say you have no farther to look than Milhaud, whose 5th SQ (if I remember) is written to/for Poulenc, and I think may well have captured what FP might have put down. Maybe the 4th or 6th, but... somewhere around there...

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #117 on: March 06, 2014, 01:02:28 PM »
I can't find a YouTube clip but this work is especially nice ~

Concerto No. 2 for Two pianos and Four percussionists, Op.394 (1961)

Included on this excellent recording, along with Poulenc and Bartok:



Yes, I'm one of those who loves Late Milhaud, like I love Late Malipiero, and even Late Villa-Lobos,... but, yes, Milhaud gets points for Late Experimentation, certainly not a giving with Composer types! That 2 Piano looks pretty interesting. He also made a solo viola and percussion around the same time,

I'll have to check the Piano Quartet. I have the Late Piano Trio- it's like the perfectly French Schoenberg PT- it's on that Largo disc with DSCH and Roslavets.


I really do like the Double String Quartet/Octet- and I think both individual SQs are playful by themselves- one must admit to Quite An Achievement?

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974) Piano Concertos (CPO) 2Piano Cto.
« Reply #118 on: April 06, 2014, 04:45:27 PM »
Piano Concertos 1-5 (CPO)
Concerto for 2 Pianos
(CPO)

After experiencing the Malipiero set of Piano Concertos (CPO) I thought it natural to inquire about Milhaud. I have the Erato disc of 1 and 4, and the VoxBox set includes Mm. Long playing No.2.

No.1 was written for Mm. Long yet sounds wholly like Milhaud in ultra-cheeky manner. No.2 was written for Milhaud to play, meaning it should be less brilliant than No.1, but it has a melodic appeal from the opening the first doesn't. Technically, the playing 2nd would be my favourite of Milhaud's (which certainly doesn't bode well for the rest- the, ahem, "serious" ones).

No.3 comes from that era when ALL Composers where striving to write their best work. Here though, I find Milhaud jumps-the-shark, he just outdoes himself in personal quotes and business. Perhaps the CPO presentation makes the proceedings sound too aggressive (a problem that can happen to many Composers of a certain free-form stripe), but I just didn't care for what Milhaud was saying here (better done in the Symphonies perhaps).

No.4 I have enjoyed from Helffer/Erato for years, and as far a serious Milhaud piano workout, this would be my (and, apparently, Mr. Helffer's) choice. From there I went to the most anticipated piece I had not heard, No.5, and was thoroughly disappointed (elated that I now won't HAVE to BuyItNow!) from the first not. I think it is one of Milhaud's turgid fugues, or something that sounds like a turgid fugue, and I just couldn't stand the inspiration. Perhaps I wanted to be dismissive of the CPO set so I wouldn't have to buy it, but, listening to the pieces that were new to me (3 and 5), I felt that the Erato disc was the much much better volume (the CPO has ALL the Piano/Orchestra music, but the Erato has a nice sampling). No.2 works just fine in the context of the VoxBox.

So, frankly, I just don't think I trust CPO for Milhaud. I haven't tried their Symphonies, but I can't imagine the Erato and DG issues to be surpassed (or that the remaining CPO Symphonies are in any way highlights). I mean, a "serious" German company is recording the most frivolous of French Composers?

So, that brings us to the real discovery, for me, and that is the 2Piano Concerto. Again, I was actually hoping I would like this after not liking the others (to prove my unfailing intuition correct yet again!); and, lo, I think it's a frivolous masterpiece, very much a Francaix-like nimble tickling. Here, all the things that were missing in the PC proper were in envidence here. It also added to the intro that both pianos are playing the exact same thing- a nice effect here.

This is part of what I'm getting at in the 'Discovery' Thread- I just discovered Milhaud's 2Piano Concerto in my perceived mind out of the rubble of his vast output, through the treacherous garden that is that CPO set (which, some may say they love, but I would gladly debate them).

I mean, between The 3 M's, Milhaud, Malipiero, and Martinu, - Milhaud's are certainly the least desirable overall (haven't heard Villa-Lobos's yet). I'm certainly intrigued by all the hidden PCs that are overshadowed by, say, Prokofiev and his 5 (Bartok too). I don't recall who else has a bevy of PCs.

Anyhow, anyone gonna argue over the PCs? Get the Erato disc for Milhaud's best foot forward in this arena.

Offline Daverz

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 5166
  • You can't fool me, it's turtles all the way down!
Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #119 on: April 06, 2014, 06:20:34 PM »
I love the cpo symphonies set, but to be honest I don't listen to this music very closely, I just wallow in it.

For a more challenging set of PCs, try Tcherepnin on Bis.