Music: Goliath in Milan

Composer Darius Milhaud's urge to giantism began 40 years ago, at a time when he was intriguing the world's musical taste buds with a potage of polytonality sweetened by a dash of essence-of-jazz. His first large work was a musical setting for Aeschylus' Orestes, and it used whistling winds, human groans and shouts along with percussion accompaniment. Since then, whether acting as French Minister to Brazil or teaching composition at California's Mills College, Milhaud has turned out a compulsive stream of music ranging in quality from excellent to insufferable and in gimmicks from a "spectacle with...

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