Post-war Ethos in Darius Milhaud's Violin Concerto No. 2



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This study examines Darius Milhaud’s Violin Concerto No. 2, op. 263, within the context of Milhaud’s middle stylistic period and the post-World War II years. The essay highlights the effect of World War II on the composer and how his experience is musically conveyed in the Violin Concerto No. 2. Milhaud’s thoughts on the distinction between the Latin and Germanic compositional styles are discussed; both styles are incorporated into the concerto. Milhaud’s writings reveal the personal impact of the war on the composer’s life and his thoughts on the war. Each movement of the concerto demonstrates how this work was influenced by the composer’s experience with the war. The study proposes a narrative interpretation informed by Milhaud’s compositional choices. I suggest that the dotted rhythms, military fanfares, and choice of percussion instruments contribute to forging a war-themed background. Furthermore, Milhaud’s use of modal mixture and chromaticism portray the combination of Latin and German influence. Lastly, the opposition between the soloist and orchestra further support the narrative of a protagonist fighting against larger forces.



Milhaud, Violin Concerto No. 2