Hyperion Records

L'apothéose de Molière, Op 286

'Milhaud: Le Carnaval d'Aix & other works' (CDH55168)
Milhaud: Le Carnaval d'Aix & other works
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55168  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
Movement 1: Tumulté dans l'Olympe précédant l'arrivée de Molière
Track 13 on CDH55168 [2'21] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 2: Molière reçu par les Muses
Track 14 on CDH55168 [2'22] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 3: Hommage de Lully et des Violons du Roy
Track 15 on CDH55168 [1'15] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 4: Molière welcomed by his characters 1
Track 16 on CDH55168 [2'07] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 5: Molière welcomed by his characters 2
Track 17 on CDH55168 [0'42] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 6: Allegresse générale
Track 18 on CDH55168 [1'05] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)

L'apothéose de Molière, Op 286
After the Nazi invasion of France in 1940, it was clearly only a matter of time before capitulation would follow. Milhaud, with his wife and young son, had managed to escape to the USA by July of that year. He spent the war years in exile travelling, teaching and performing in America, and composing sixty-four ‘Opus Americanum’ works between 1940 and 1947.

The Milhauds left America in August 1947 and arrived in France the following month. They spent almost a year in Europe, during which time Milhaud composed his tenth ballet, ’Adame Miroir, and his most personal response to his return home, the suite for four pianos, Paris (not premiered until 1962). However, in July 1948 Milhaud was back in the USA to participate at that year’s Tanglewood Festival. There he composed L’apothéose de Molière for small orchestra with harpsichord, a suite in five movements on themes by Baptiste Anet, along the lines of Richard Strauss’s Dance Suite after Couperin. The first year following Milhaud’s return to Europe set the pattern for his life for some time to come: several months of teaching, composition and performances, based in California (where, at Mills College, he had taught throughout the war), followed by a similar period in France. Consequently, Milhaud found himself writing music in one continent for performance in another. This was the case with L’apothéose de Molière, commissioned by Italian Radio for a chamber ensemble of the RAI Orchestra who were to participate in the 1948 Capri Festival under their then chief conductor Carlo Maria Giulini, who gave the first performance on 15 September that year.

Baptiste Anet (c1676–1755) was a noted French violinist and composer, a pupil of Corelli and, like his father Jean-Baptiste, a member of the ‘24 Violons du Roi’ (the ‘king’ being Louis XIV). He published three sets of sonatas for violin and continuo in 1729, among other works, and in 1935 Milhaud had made a ‘free transcription’ of the tenth of these sonatas, for violin and piano, which he catalogued as his Op 144. The violinist Yvonne Astruc, the soloist in the premiere of Milhaud’s Concertino de printemps in March 1935, gave the first performance of the ‘transcription’ of the Anet sonata the following November with Milhaud accompanying.

The resultant L’apothéose de Molière is a captivating work of the greatest refinement and elegance, an essence of Gallic charm expressed through the coming-together of four great French artists – Lully (court composer to Louis XIV), Anet, Molière and Milhaud. Such expression is achieved through but one aspect, exemplified by all four works on this album, of Darius Milhaud’s multi-faceted creative genius.

from notes by Robert Matthew-Walker © 1992

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDH55168 track 16
Molière welcomed by his characters 1
Recording date
24 January 1992
Recording venue
Blackheath Concert Halls, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Christopher Palmer
Recording engineer
Tony Faulkner
Hyperion usage
  1. Milhaud: Le Carnaval d'Aix & other works (CDA66594)
    Disc 1 Track 16
    Release date: November 1992
    Deletion date: June 2004
    Superseded by CDH55168
  2. Milhaud: Le Carnaval d'Aix & other works (CDH55168)
    Disc 1 Track 16
    Release date: June 2004
    Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
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