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Thread: Milhaud, Darius (1892-1974)

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    Senior Member science's Avatar
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    Default Milhaud, Darius (1892-1974)

    Milhaud was one of Les Six, and is probably best known for works in which he takes a jazzy approach to classical music, such as La création du monde and Le bœuf sur le toit (influenced by Brazilian popular music).
    Liberty for wolves is death to the lambs.

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    I find Milhaud a rather uneven composer. He's written some music which I really enjoy; on the other hand, some music from his pen I find exceptionally boring. Any composer as prolific as Milhaud, however, cannot maintain the same standard for everything. His Suite for Viola, Clarinet and Piano is one of my favorite chamber works. His first two symphonies are also rather pleasant listening.

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    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    I wanted to return to this thread because I like the Milhaud I've heard, but haven't
    had time to explore his works very much. I like his music for woodwinds and Suite Provençale.
    There is a two part biographical film here:

    https://diva.sfsu.edu/collections/sfbatv/bundles/206369

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    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    Very nice piano work. It seems Milhaud should be seen as a serious
    composer who works within more regulated concepts of melody, yet
    is still innovative. Unfortunately, we have this spectrum where there
    is all this extreme "innovation" that gets far away from tradition, so when
    we listen to Milhaud, we might think him a sentimentalist, and not see
    how advance he is compared to someone like the average mainstream film composer.

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    I like his concerto for marimba.

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    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    Default Here is Mihaud conducting one of his works



    Darius Milhaud: Les charmes de la vie (Hommage à Watteau) op. 360 (1957)

    I think all great performances have to contain some degree of enthusiasm.
    No decent composer ever wrote a line of music that was meant to
    be played in a dull way. You can hear that in the way Milhaud conducts
    this piece. It's nice to hear instruments sing, instead of just reaching
    their notes and loudness.
    Last edited by regenmusic; Dec-23-2014 at 16:47.

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    Senior Member Piwikiwi's Avatar
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    I love his Piano concertos.

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    Not here to be a hater, but I've heard nothing but crap from Milhaud. I must be looking in the wrong places... Any suggestions on the best starting place?

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    Try: Le Boeuf sur le Toit, you be surprised .
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    "Mahatma Gandhi"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugg View Post
    Try: Le Boeuf sur le Toit, you be surprised .
    Great suggestion! I would also like to add: Scaramouche, suite for two pianos. Exciting blend of classical, folk, and Latin styles!

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    Senior Member Pat Fairlea's Avatar
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    Another wee point in Milhaud's favour: he was a big influence on some emerging jazz musicians in the USA, notably the young Dave Brubeck. I enjoy Milhaud's inventiveness and the feeling that he actually enjoyed making music, sometimes even had fun. That's not to dismiss the tortured artists who pour out the deepest truths of their anguished souls, but sometimes music needs to be a pleasure.

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    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Fairlea View Post
    Another wee point in Milhaud's favour: he was a big influence on some emerging jazz musicians in the USA, notably the young Dave Brubeck. I enjoy Milhaud's inventiveness and the feeling that he actually enjoyed making music, sometimes even had fun. That's not to dismiss the tortured artists who pour out the deepest truths of their anguished souls, but sometimes music needs to be a pleasure.
    I get a sense he had a degree of maturity and psychological soundness about him. He doesn't seem like a social climbing composer, like a lot of these modern noisy composer appear to be like.

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    "I must be looking in the wrong places... Any suggestions on the best starting place?"

    I don't know about a 'best starting place' but some of Milhaud's chamber music is beautiful, well crafted, and worth getting to know--such as his Violin Sonata No. 2, Op. 40 composed in 1917 (Milhaud was a violinist himself, and wrote well for the instrument). I prefer violinist Josef Malkin's recording with pianist Marcel Worms recording (as part of Ensemble Polytonaal):



    https://www.amazon.com/Milhaud-Chamb...annel+classics

    Milhaud's Sonata for Oboe, Flute, Clarinet, and Piano, Op, 47 (1918) is on the same album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhQJ4_8rQlo

    Pianist/composer William Bolcom's old Nonesuch LP of selected piano works by Milhaud is worth hearing too, especially Le Printemps, Books 1 & 2 (1915-20) from roughly the same period as the Violin Sonata No. 2; however, as far as I know, it's never made it to CD. Le Printemps can be heard on You Tube:



    I wish I could also recommend Milhaud's 18 String Quartets, but I've yet to find the (out of print) Quatour Parisii box set at a reasonable price: https://www.amazon.com/Darius-Milhau.../dp/B0000632BP. Part of it is on You Tube, however.
    Last edited by Josquin13; Feb-12-2019 at 04:10.

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    Josquin13, try the 6 Chamber Symphonies. They are delightful miniatures, some really enchanting pieces.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce View Post
    I find Milhaud a rather uneven composer. He's written some music which I really enjoy; on the other hand, some music from his pen I find exceptionally boring ...
    Ditto. A very large part of his output is easily neglectable, IMO.
    Some pieces I like are La Creation and Le Boeuf, the 1st String Quartet (there's a fine CD with the Petersen4,) the concertante works in general (that often strike a rather serious and modernistic tone).
    Last edited by joen_cph; Feb-12-2019 at 14:36.

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