The Second World War inspired a wave of immigration to the United States which had a profound impact on American culture. Arnold Schoenberg settled in Los Angeles in 1934 and was followed, a few years later, by Igor Stravinsky. In 1940, Darius Milhaud arrived in California and began teaching at Mills College, a position which he held for more than three decades. This recording featuring performances by members of the Mills Music Department is a celebration of Milhaud’s thirty-year association with Mills.
Milhaud enjoyed many rich interactions with writers and poets; it is not surprising that he composed more than 250 songs. But the real reason behind his attraction to this genre lies in a crucial feature of Milhaud’s artistic personality. For, as Paul Collaer observed, "the entire significance of his music depends on the indispensable presence of melodic line" (Paul Collaer, Darius Milhaud, 34). The selections on this recording provide the listener with a comprehensive survey of Milhaud’s contributions to the art song tradition. It presents the full range of styles characteristic of his vocal music and documents the work of a creative artist whose outstanding compositional craft is fully matched by his versatility.