Louisville Orchestra

Darius Milhaud

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Although Darius Milhaud's La création du monde and Le boeuf sur le toit are still frequently performed, the bulk of this composer's orchestral music has faded into obscurity since the 1970s. This 2004 reissue gives Milhaud's works a much-needed reassessment and brings together recordings that were released on various LPs from 1954 to 1974. The Louisville Orchestra, under Robert Whitney in the first four works and Jorge Mester in the Symphony No. 6, performs Milhaud's music with abundant enthusiasm and vibrant color, and the vitality of the performances is amply conveyed in the fresh remastering of the original tapes. Never the most consistent composer and possibly too prolific and hasty, Milhaud nonetheless created spontaneous works that still appeal through their wit and insouciance. The jaunty Kentuckiana and the spry Chansons (4) de Ronsard are the most immediately engaging, and their attractive melodies carry these works fairly convincingly, in spite of their loose constructions. More tightly organized and serious in mood, the Ouverture Méditerraneéne, Cortège funébre, and the Symphony No. 6 are fascinating for their imaginative orchestration and tonal experimentation. While these scores do not rival Milhaud's most popular works, they are accomplished products of a lively mind, and fully deserve their place in First Edition's catalog.

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