The French composer Darius Milhaud was born in a Provenal/Jewish milieu, where his musical abilities were quickly recognized and encouraged. His parents hoped for a violinist’s career for him, and thus in 1909, Milhaud entered the Conservatory of Paris. However, he soon discovered that his ambitions lay in the field of composition. He received a comprehensive education, during which he already composed a considerable amount of music, influenced primarily by Debussy. His literary interests brought him into contact with the author Paul Claudel, who took Milhaud with him as his secretary when he was appointed French Ambassador to Brazil. Milhaud’s Brazilian sojourn (1917-18) introduced the composer to South American folk music. He developed a polytonal writing style, simultaneously employing several keys and later adding elements of jazz to the mixture. Upon returning to Europe he became a member of the famous ‘Groupe des Six’: Milhaud fought against the Wagnerian influence in French music (both in music and literature) and admired the ascetic style of Erik Satie. His compositions from this period (including ‘Le boeuf sur le toit’) are refreshing, riginal, and uncompromising. Therefore, many of the premieres ended in disorder, and sometimes even violent reactions among the audiences…..Download booklet
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