The New Yorker: On Site Opera Takes on a Rare, Dark Work
A great work by Darius Milhaud (1892-1974) is like a blast of complicated sunshine. The composer, a scion of one of the most ancient and distinguished Jewish families of Provence, produced a brand of Gallic savoir-faire that was a multicolored phenomenon. The “Suite Provençale” for orchestra may be a light-classics favorite, but its jubilant mood has a scorching intensity. Even ostensibly simple moments, like the wistful, gently pulsing slow movement of the Seventh String Quartet, seem to echo an immemorial past. An early adopter of polytonality (music that suggests multiple keys simultaneously), he charged his basically melodic style with a power that could sometimes overwhelm.