Author Topic: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)  (Read 48958 times)

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Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #200 on: October 11, 2020, 06:47:30 PM »
I recommend the 6 delightful chamber symphonies, the strikingly original La Création du Monde, the piano concertos and Suite Provençale. Yes, the other symphonies cannot be as accesible at first, albeit I consider it's a matter of familiarizing with his idiom.

L'Homme et son désir is a crazy work, but again, it shows how original Milhaud was.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2020, 06:49:01 PM by Symphonic Addict »
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Offline kyjo

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #201 on: October 11, 2020, 07:55:56 PM »
Lately I was blown away by his Piano Sonata no. 1 (1916):

https://youtu.be/6raEGCyxLQI

It seems like Milhaud's earlier works are the ones I find more appealing. They have a good balance between his characteristic polytonal passages and also passages of gorgeous, pastoral lyricism. (Some of his later works I find too "acidic" and relentless in their polytonality.) This sonata is completely unique and remarkable in every way, sounding nothing at all like Debussy, Ravel etc. This is one of those pieces that puts a smile on my face due to its sheer wit and invention!
« Last Edit: October 11, 2020, 08:30:31 PM by kyjo »
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Offline ritter

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #202 on: October 12, 2020, 08:13:05 AM »
Lately I was blown away by his Piano Sonata no. 1 (1916):

https://youtu.be/6raEGCyxLQI

It seems like Milhaud's earlier works are the ones I find more appealing. They have a good balance between his characteristic polytonal passages and also passages of gorgeous, pastoral lyricism. (Some of his later works I find too "acidic" and relentless in their polytonality.) This sonata is completely unique and remarkable in every way, sounding nothing at all like Debussy, Ravel etc. This is one of those pieces that puts a smile on my face due to its sheer wit and invention!
Thanks for drawing our attention to that sonata, kyjo. I was completely unaware of the work (or of the much later Piano Sonata No. 2). Just placed this order prompted by your post.  :)
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #203 on: October 12, 2020, 08:18:47 AM »
I recommend the 6 delightful chamber symphonies, the strikingly original La Création du Monde, the piano concertos and Suite Provençale. Yes, the other symphonies cannot be as accesible at first, albeit I consider it's a matter of familiarizing with his idiom.

L'Homme et son désir is a crazy work, but again, it shows how original Milhaud was.
There is an oldish VOX twofer that has Milhaud himself conducting some of the pieces you mention. It is worth seeking out despite sound/playing quality not quite up to modern standards.

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Offline ritter

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #204 on: October 12, 2020, 08:31:51 AM »
I second Jo498’s recommendation. That twofer gives a good overview of Milhaud’s music. It’s been reissued  by Brilliant, in this guise:

« Last Edit: December 21, 2020, 01:59:06 AM by ritter »
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Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #205 on: October 12, 2020, 08:46:22 AM »
Sounds interesting. I will look for these albums. I only have his piano works by Tharaud. Dave Brubeck, a Jazz pianist, was a student of Milhaud.

Offline ritter

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #206 on: December 20, 2020, 12:38:37 PM »
I’m  finally tackling Milhaud’s ambitious opera Bolivar, in a 1962 live recording under Serge Baudo. It’s included in this 10-CD set:


The opera’s libretto is adapted from Jules Supervielle’s play (published in 1936) by Madeleine Milhaud. The composer worked on the piece during his exile in America, and it was finally premiered in 1950 at the Opéra, under the baton of André Cluytens and with sets and costumes (700 designs, according to one source!) by Fernand Léger. The recording in the Forlane set is from a 1962 revival of the same production, with René Bianco in the title rôle, Lilian Berton as Manuela, Denise Scharley as Precipitacion, Jacques Mars as the Monk, Jean Giraudeau as Nicanor, and a very young José van Dam in a tiny role.

Léger’s sets seem to have been quite stunning:









The artist would later produce some extraordinary murals and stained glass windows for the Central University in Caracas

Unfortunately, the libretto (not to mention an English translation) seems not to be available anywhere, but the broadcast includes commentary (in French) before each scene that summarises the plot, and used copies of Supervielle’s long  OOP play can be easily found.



As could be expected, what Mme. Milhaud did with the text was condense it, and include a chorus (the lines of which seem mostly taken from those originally for other characters in the play, with few if any additions). In any case the play does help to follow the action (with the inevitable occasions where the listener/reader gets lost, when the order of some lines is changed or longer sections of text are expurgated). I’ve so far only listened to Act I, but the opera is made up of three acts with short scenes, presenting important moments in Bolívar’s life in chronological order (well known to anyone familiar with El Libertador’s biography), and with few poetic licences, even if some critics—who didn’t seem to know the difference between a biography and a work of art—were outraged by the text after the work’s local premiere in Caracas in 1983 (it was again given in Bolívar’s hometown in 2012, and I’m not aware of any productions other than the ones in Paris and in Venezuela).

And the music? Well, the subject matter permits Milhaud to apply his lively Latin American rhythms in an appropriate setting, and the dramatic pacing of the scenes is very effective. The melodic material isn’t really memorable, and this work boils down to what the Germans call a Literaturoper, in which the text is as important as the music. In Act I there are some interesting orchestral passages; the first is labelled as a “dance” in the track listing, but a dance in that specific moment of the score seems not to make any dramatic sense, and it’s more an interlude leading to the 1812 Caracas earthquake, which was a momentous event in the Bolívar’s career. The other is a quite effective interlude leading to Bolivar’s triumphant entry in the Caracas town hall after a battle, and his meeting Manuela Sanz. The composer’s trademark polytonality is present (but “tamed down”, as was usually the case at this relatively late stage of his career), and the music is radiant and sunny (even in the sadder moments, e.g. the death of María Teresa in scene 1). Let’s see how the two remaining acts evolve, but this certainly is an interesting opera, and one that in an appropriate staging could be very effective (particularly in the age of surtitles in opera houses).

The sound of the broadcast is rather poor, and the performance seems perfectly adequate. It’s available on YouTube:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/kC0tI-emkks" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/kC0tI-emkks</a>

Later on, Milhaud wrote a short two-piano suite, La Libertadora, on themes from the opera. It’s available on this CD:



Here’s the first movement, performed by the Kontarsky brothers:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/jKQDjEBNuLA" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/jKQDjEBNuLA</a>
« Last Edit: December 21, 2020, 02:15:05 AM by ritter »
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #207 on: December 20, 2020, 01:30:07 PM »
Cool, Rafael. 8) How’s the fidelity of that box set?
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Offline ritter

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #208 on: December 20, 2020, 01:40:21 PM »
Cool, Rafael. 8) How’s the fidelity of that box set?
Hello, John. “Fidelity” is a word that really doesn’t apply to this set. These are mainly recordings from the 50s and early 60s, some from the studio (and in perfectly adequate sound for their age): some live broadcasts (in rather poor sound, like this Bolívar).

Cheers,
ritter
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #209 on: December 20, 2020, 02:12:11 PM »
Hello, John. “Fidelity” is a word that really doesn’t apply to this set. These are mainly recordings from the 50s and early 60s, some from the studio (and in perfectly adequate sound for their age): some live broadcasts (in rather poor sound, like this Bolívar).

Cheers,

Thanks for the feedback. I’ll pass. :)
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Offline pjme

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #210 on: December 21, 2020, 12:58:03 AM »
The "other" Milhaud:

Milhaud à la Mosolov :

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/gwPuD4rB0H8" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/gwPuD4rB0H8</a>

Milhaud in 1963 - sad and bleak....

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/lJxpDjQoeTA" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/lJxpDjQoeTA</a>

« Last Edit: December 21, 2020, 01:57:15 AM by pjme »

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #211 on: January 30, 2021, 02:34:37 PM »
Today relistened to the 6 little symphonies. My goodness, how unbelievably lovely, poetic and exquisite music this is! Milhaud knew how to use dissonances to create such refined creations. Seriously magnificent stuff. I can't decide which one is my favorite. I love all of them.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #212 on: January 30, 2021, 08:05:24 PM »
Today relistened to the 6 little symphonies. My goodness, how unbelievably lovely, poetic and exquisite music this is! Milhaud knew how to use dissonances to create such refined creations. Seriously magnificent stuff. I can't decide which one is my favorite. I love all of them.

These are favorites of mine as well. What performances did you listen to? The only recording I own are Milhaud’s own conducted performances on Vox.
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Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #213 on: January 30, 2021, 08:55:13 PM »
These are favorites of mine as well. What performances did you listen to? The only recording I own are Milhaud’s own conducted performances on Vox.

From here:



Delectable miniatures.
Give us something else; give us something new; for Heaven's sake give us something bad, so long as we feel we are alive and active and not just passive admirers of tradition!

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #214 on: January 30, 2021, 09:01:14 PM »
From here:



Delectable miniatures.

Very nice. 8)
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Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
« Reply #215 on: June 14, 2021, 04:28:17 PM »
The CD below has meant pleasure galore to me today. They're short ballets in collaboration with several French composers. L'Eventail de Jeanne includes music from Maurice Ravel, Pierre-Octave Ferroud, Jacques Ibert, Alexis Roland-Manuel, Marcel Delannoy, Albert Roussel, Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc, Georges Auric and Florent Schmitt; the music for Les Mariés de la Tour Eiffel was made by five members from Les Six (excluding Louis Durey). I have to say that both works are thoroughly delicious, fun, carefree, light-hearted and with lots of spark most of the time. There were several moments where I smiled because of the great music in them, e.g. La baigneuse de Trouville (by Poulenc) and Valse des dépêches (by Tailleferre) from Les Mariés de la Tour Eiffel. Man, this is exhilarating!!

Recommended with enthusiasm for those who enjoy cheerful music at its best. Another wonderful discovery in this year for me.

Give us something else; give us something new; for Heaven's sake give us something bad, so long as we feel we are alive and active and not just passive admirers of tradition!

Carl Nielsen