Milhaud, Darius. (1892–1974)
"Concerto for Marimba, Op. 278" - SIGNED SCORE
Paris: Enoch et Cie, 27, boulevard des Italiens.. 1954. First.
Printed score of the important French avant-garde composer's Concerto for Marimba, Op. 278 signed and inscribed by Milhaud to the front cover, "À Giovanni Pellegrini / Souvenir bien cordial / Milhaud / 1954." Upright folio. 45 pp. [PN] 9492. Wrappers toned around the edges, a few small nicks and creases, internally in fine condition and overall fine. 11 x 14.5 inches (27.2 x 37.5 cm).
The Concerto for Marimba, Op. 278 includes a vibraphone and was composed in 1947. Commissioned by Jack Connor, it had its premiere with Connor as soloist and Vladimir Golschmann conducting the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra on February 12, 1949. In 1952, Milhaud revised the work for solo piano (and orchestra) and re-named it “Suite Concertante, Op. 278b.” Comparison of both scores reveals the original marimba/vibraphone score essentially intact as the right hand piano part; the remainder of the solo part is derived from newly composed left hand material, added octaves and expanded or re-voiced chords. Concerning the circumstances of the commission, Connor selected Milhaud because he liked the composer’s music and knew that he had previously written individual concerti for percussion, harmonica and clarinet, and he believed Milhaud would be receptive to the idea of writing a work for marimba. In response to Connor’s written request, Milhaud replied that “he didn’t think that the marimba would be well received in a concerto or other performing context" but Connor persisted and eventually traveled to Mills College in Oakland, California, where Milhaud was teaching. There heplayed both the marimba and vibraphone for Milhaud, performing Bach, some jazz and other examples that Milhaud requested. After hearing Connor play, Milhaud agreed to write a work for him, the result of which was the “Concerto.” Connor described the style as being, “a sort of French version of Latin jazz,” which was, in Connor’s view a distillation of what he had played for the composer at Mills College.