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I am glad you decided to write me about your problem (with Wagner's theories); here is my point of view, if you want it. I had a marvelously happy childhood. My wife is my companion, my collaborator; we are the best of friends, and this gives me great happiness. My son is a painter who works incessantly, and he is sweet and loving to his parents. Thus I can say that I've had a happy life, and if I compose, it's because I am in love with music and I wouldn't know how to do anything else. Your Wagner quote proves to me once again that he was an idiot.
Milhaud after receiving a letter from a fan discussing Wagner's theory that all art springs "from suffering, unhappiness, and frustration".

Milhaud, born in Aux-du-Provence 1892, shows his affection for music when he is young. As a child he starts improvising on the piano and soon he picks up the violin. In 1909 he enters the Conservatory of Paris to study violin with Berthelier, ensemble with Lefèvre, harmony with Leroux, counterpoint with André Gédalge, composition and fugue with Charles-Marie Widor, and conducting with Vincent d'Indy.
From 1917 to 1919 he accompanies the French minister for Brazillian affairs Paul Gaudel (who was also a wellknown poet) to Brazil and here he discovers the typical Brazilian music, South American folklore and its associated exotic rhytms. Back in Paris, he becomes one of most notable members of Les Six, a group around the poet Cocteau. In 1921, after visiting America, he discovers Jazz music and, back in Europe, probably his most known work La création du monde (1923): a ballet full of Jazz rhythms and polytonality.
His Modernistic composing makes him also famous in the other European Center of Avant-Garde, Berlin. As an often invited guest on different festivals in Germany, he meets other contemporary composers like Paul Hindemith, Hanns Eisler and Kurt Weill. Especially with the last composer, Milhaud becomes good friends with.
Like all Jewish artists and composers, Milhaud is forced to flee in 1940 when the Germans invade France. Milhaud settles in California and becomes professor in composition at Mills College in Oakland. In 1947 he accepts the Conservatory of Paris's request to become a honourary professor in composition, and until 1971 he travels forth and back between California and Paris.
Milhaud dies in 1974, June 22 in Geneva, Swiss.

Milhaud was a productive composer. He composed over 450 compositions, including several short operas and miniature symphonies. His works range from conservative to modern, from polytonal to atonal. Besides composing he's also known as a conductor: Milhaud (as a proponent of atonal) music, mainly conducted works from Alfred Schoenberg.
The list underneath is a sample of his most famous works.

Film Music
  • La P’tite Lilie
Opera Ballet Orchestral music
  • 13 Symphonies (1940-1965)
Chamber music
  • 18 String Quartets
Piano music Choral works
  • Orestes Trilogy (1913)
  • Pacem in terris (1963)

Darius Milhaud - 'My Happy Life' - Autobiography

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