Skip to content Skip to navigation
Skip to global navigation Menu

January 19, 1923

Darius Milhaud, French composer and member of Le Groupe des Six, gave a lecture-recital on “The Evolution of Contemporary Music in Paris and Vienna.” “Warning us,” reported the Miscellany News, “against hasty judgment he said that because the critics are lost and bewildered does not mean tha the music itself is lost. They will not admit that they do no understand but merely say the author is crazy. It is not true that any modern composer has reinvented music for there is nothing in modern music which is not the logical outgrowth of the past.” M. Milhaud contrasted the modern work of the school of Paris with that being done in Vienna, citing the earlier French composer Erik Satie as “the sleeping beauty who guessed at what was to come” and declaring his contemporary colleaague Francis Poulenc “music itself, simply expressive.”

Impressed by Milhaud’s explanation, the writer for the Misc was more dubious about the music: “Mr. Milhaud played a number of compositions by Satie, Poulenc and himself. He played expressively and with excellent technique though most of the numbers were simple as to technique. As a whole the music seemed to put dissonance upon dissonance, and left an impression of incoherence. The human ear will have to accustom itself before it finds them acceptable.” When, six years later, on January 23, 1929, the avant-garde French composers’ leader, Arthur Honegger—assisted by his wife, the pianist Andreé Vaurabourg and American coloratura soprano Cobina Wright—gave a recital of his compositions, the Miscellany News reviewer observed that “the devices used,” in Honegger’s music, “to produce a feeling of continuity were either too subtle for perception at the first hearing or the material was too thin.”

The Years