The Creation of the World by Darius Milhaud - Wednesday's free Ensemble Monterey Download

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Darius Milhaud was a 20TH Century French composer and teacher. The World War I years and early 1920s were a time of extensive traveling for Milhaud, and his first American experience followed quickly on the heels of visits to Brazil, Denmark, and Sardinia. He had first heard jazz in a taxi-dance hall in London. Like Kurt Weill and Igor Stravinsky, Milhaud had gone outside the concert hall for inspiration. In New York in 1922 he derived strong inspiration from two quite different types of jazz, both of which filtered directly into La Création du Monde: Leo Reisman’s Hotel Brunswick orchestra, which impressed him with its timbral subtlety, and the strident New Orleans jazz he encountered in Harlem. On that first American visit in 1922, Milhaud told the journalists who interviewed him that European music was much influenced by American music. “But whose?” they asked, “MacDowell? Carpenter?” “Non,” said the composer, “du jazz.” The director of Paris’ Les Ballets Suédois had asked Milhaud for a ballet score centering around jazz and African creation folklore. The result, La Création du Monde, opened in Paris in 1923 and created a scandal which, when it subsided, had established Milhaud as a “jazz composer” – which he emphatically was not. Milhoud was the first of many 20TH Century composers who incorporated the complexity and spontaneous creativity of jazz into the "classical" vocabulary. Our performance here is from October, 2016. The alto saxophone solo at the beginning, which depicts the void before creation, is played by here by jazz great Paul Contos. This is one of the few compositions wherein I actually told the players to "lose control". You will have no difficulty telling where.

Until Friday - Yours in Music - John Anderson