Sunday, November 1, 2009

'Les Six' - Another "Mighty Heap?"

Some of you may remember my blog centering on what was called derisively by opponents in Mother Russia the Mighty Heap, which included such a "second - rater" as Mussourgsky.
Well , another "heap" was launched in 1920 in Paris; a group of composers which included Auric, Milhaud, Poulenc, Honegger, Durey, and Tailleferre. These post-impressionists were the rage among the avant-garde for a short period, and each went his own way, with Poulenc and Milhaud, arguably, becoming the better-known of the group.
I'm writing about this group after seeing a British movie recently, called "The Dead of Night," and was rather interested in noting that the music for the film was written by George Auric. I then recalled that he also had written the music for the fictionalized account of the artist Toulouse -Lautrec in the movie "Moulin Rouge", with that music becoming quite popular in America for quite some time, and a pop ballad laced with words remaining on the scene for many months after the movie had been released.
I might add that one of the other 'Six,' Darius Milhaud became the teacher of one of America's best known pop musicians, Dave Brubek, who described Milhaud as an elemental influence upon his musical thinking.
And so another "heap" was given us to examine, appraise, and enjoy. America had a literary "heap," called "The Algonquin Table," which has provided the inveterate reader with many enjoyable and brilliant moments. Several brilliant people would meet regularly in New York for lunch; almost daily, and some of the luminaries included such minds as Edna Ferber, Robert Benchley (grandfather of Stephen Benchley, who wrote "Jaws"), George S. Kaufman, Robert Sherwood etc., and this went on for about ten years - imagine being a fly on the wall of THAT restaurant!!
So: hats off to "The Heaps!"

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