Our final CLoSer concert on Wednesday 25 April has a distinct jazz flavour to it and includes a performance of Darius Milhaud‘s jazz inspired La creation de monde. But who was this most prolific of twentieth century composers? Here’s a quick snapshot:
120 (if still alive today)
Born in France and spent time living abroad in Brazil during the First World War. When the Nazis occupied France early in World War II, Milhaud, a prominent Jew, was forced to flee to the US. He had developed severe rheumatoid arthritis, which often confined him to a wheel chair, which compounded the need to escape the Nazi regime.
A “member” of Les Six – an informal group of six composers working in Montparnasse, whose music came to be seen as a rejection of prewar impressionism, and particularly the musical style of Richard Wagner and the impressionist music of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.
Wrote music for nearly every genre imaginable. His major works span several ballets and operas, to more commercial film and theatre scores. He also composed twelve symphonies and eighteen string quartets.
La création du monde
The Creation of the World uses ideas and idioms from jazz, and was originally cast as a ballet in six continuous dance scenes. It tells the story of creation through African folk mythology. The piece is highly influenced by the then newly arrived American jazz scene.
Listen to La création du monde on our Spotify playlist.spitalfieldsmusic.org.uk