Thursday, October 7, 2010

Darius Milhaud - Piano Music

1997; 26 tracks
Francoise Choveaux, piano

Darius Milhaud was a member of that group Les Six, so his style is similar to that of Satie's. That said, I think Milhaud's solo piano music is even more delightful and charming that Satie's - it has a marvelous vibrance and an... exotic-ness that Satie lacks. This is most likely due to Milhaud's travels to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1917. He went there to work in the diplomatic entourage of his friend, the poet Paul Claudel, who was serving as the French ambassador to Brazil at the time. Inspired by the country's tropical landscape and rich culture, Milhaud seemed to have been particularly intrigued by the rhythm of Brazilian popular music, and the elusive, mournful, and liquid way Brazilian performers played this music.

The piano music of Milhaud takes me to his world and transforms every one of my senses to his. Listening to Milhaud I can feel the warm sunlight, taste the cold fruit, hear the birds calling, smell the earthen ground... and it calms me.

Milhaud once remarked that while he gazed into the heavens at night he "would feel rays and tremors converging on [him] from all points in the sky and from below the ground, simultaneous musics rushing towards [him] from all directions."

He expressed this ideal of simultaneity in his music with a technique called polytonality, the superimposition of chords and melodies in different keys.This collection of his piano music, and most importantly the 12 Saudades do Brazil, or "Fond Remembrances of Brazil," is incredibly stunning.



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