He was in the Paris of Le jazz hot , singer Josephine Baker , Pablo Picasso 's paintings, and the sculptures inspired by African masks. When Milhaud first heard an American jazz band in London , he was reportedly so captivated that he took off to New York City to spend time in clubs and bars, visit Harlem and mingle with jazz musicians.
He chose to color his music with bluesy turns of harmony and melody, swinging climaxes, and stomping rhythms. The choreography is revived occasionally out of curiosity. The alto saxophone part appears in the score where a viola part would generally be. Milhaud also made a version for piano and string quartet Op.
Both Cocteau and Satie were equally keen to forge creative alliances with younger composers, Cocteau having issued a general appeal to 'young musicians' as early as February Wagner, Debussy and similar purveyors of 'misty impressionism' were rejected in favour of a peculiarly French form of neoclassicism, in which simplicity, economy and clarity of outline 'the line is the melody' was valued above all else.
In reality, this snappy branding of Les Six was little more than a flag of convenience, by which each of the composers involved might launch a successful career. Behind Cocteau's rhetoric stood six very different composers whose disparate styles and personalities shared little in common, and whose alliance would endure for little more than a year.
Indeed some adored strands of serious music disparaged by Cocteau. Early salon performances by members of Les Six were small, some of them staged in an artists' studio on Rue Huyghens, equipped with a malodorous heating system and hard wooden benches.
A fashionable in-crowd flocked to hear the trend-setting new sounds, and before too long these happenings also began to attract a highbrow society set. Poulenc: 'In the Montparnasse studio, under the title Lyre et palette, we became associated with the artists Picasso, Braque, Modigliani and Juan Gris, who exhibited there'.
The group's only complete collaboration, the collection of pleasing piano miniatures known as the Album des Six , hardly rivaled Russolo or Antheil for avant-garde daring, and the music itself had less impact than the concept behind it.
Composed in , Le Boeuf sur le toit The Ox on the Roof was described by its creator as a 'cinema symphony' combining popular melodies, tangos, sambas and even a Portuguese fado.
The title was appropriated from a popular Brazilian song. The piece also lent its name to the celebrated cabaret bar on Rue Boissy d'Anglas, an indelible emblem of the Roaring Twenties.
Shorn of its visual trappings, it amounted to little more than a compositional prank, and was bluntly dismissed by Poulenc as 'merde'. Poulenc, Milhaud and Honegger alone would go on to substantiate the claim Satie made two years earlier that 'several members have entered irretrievably into the realms of Glory' , and the subsequent careers of Auric, Durey and Tailleferre proved uneven.
Durey's communism distanced him from the contacts and commissions necessary to sustain a commercial career, which was also punctuated by periods of silence. However, despite personal and financial problems she nevertheless produced some pleasing neoclassical music, including opera as well as scores for film and television. Auric also briefly sat on a 'congress' organized by Andre Breton in , but the Surrealists were dismissive of music as a creative form, and always shunned Cocteau.
Yet if the pure art credentials of Les Six are somewhat lacking, the fleeting collaboration between the protagonists retains more than mere historical interest, while the co-dependency of the Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable multimedia events in may provide us with a valid modern comparison.
L'Album des Six Originally published in Performed by Andrew West, piano. Recording producer: Mark Brown.
Recording engineer: Tony Faulkner. This cycle of three pleasant 'ultra-easy' miniatures combines flippant Parisian urbanity with provincial simplicity, and was popularized by his mentor Ricardo Vines.
The piece also formed part of the repertoire of Nelly Van Doesburg, described below; the first part was also used by Alfred Hitchcock in the film Rope Performed by Peter Beijersbergen van Henegouwen, piano. After graduating from the Paris Conservatoire, Honegger concentrated on composition. Indeed the couple lived in Paris for several months in , where Nelly frequently visited Honegger, performing his compositions as well as collecting music by other members of Les Six, including Auric, Milhaud and Poulenc.
However, at this time their pianist of choice remained Marcelle Meyer , the young virtuoso also favoured by Satie. Recording information as tracks 1. Caramel mou Shimmy 3. Adieu, New York 6. The event was organized by Pierre Bertin, husband of the pianist Marcelle Meyer, and also included amiable fox-trots by two members of Les Six. Darius Milhaud contributed Caramel mou Soft Caramel , a shimmy dedicated to his friend Georges Auric, while Auric himself provided incidental music for a one-act play by Raymond Radiguet.
This may well have been the same fox-trot published as Adieu, New York , composed by Auric between and and dedicated to Jean Cocteau. Les Biches 5. The title contains several nuances in French, but translates best as The Does or The Darlings, although when performed in London in the s a more banal title was chosen: The House Party.
They had to give eight curtain calls, something that is extremely rare for Monte Carlo. The scenery, the curtain, the costumes are completely successful as for the music, although it's immodest to talk to you about it, I won't hide from you the fact that I'm very pleased with my orchestration.
It's very striking and I think the colouring very personal. I think he was very pleased if I can judge from his excellent mood during his short stay'. However, Les Biches would trigger a rift between Poulenc and Satie.
While the light, carefree music has become well-known as an orchestral score, the two extracts featured here - No. First issued on Columbia D , LX Le Bestiaire 3. Gershwin: Concerto for piano in F; Cuban Overture. Hommage a Adolphe Sax. Daniel Gauthier. Warner Classics RCA Red Seal Erato Channel Classics CCS Dutton Vocalion The Art of Saxophone Mario Marzi.
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