Dream of the effervescent spots where the sun warms the earth, sultry melodies come from a window and enchanting rhythms entice people in the streets to dance. That is the power of music, the magic that occurs when creative spirits – such as Darius Milhaud and Camille Saint-Saëns – sharpen their senses, combine their impressions with skill, and provide us with delightfully new and sunny music.

Drawing on sonorities from Brazil, for example, where Darius Milhaud first encountered the Afro-American sound. Later, in chilly New York, he experienced ‘true’ jazz and was completely won over by the free rhythms, the improvisations, the blues. The task of composing a new ballet spectacle came at just the right time, and for La Création du Monde, he drew on all those new impressions. Jazzy rhythms and blue notes were used, for the first time, not as an exotic touch within a classical work, but as its refreshing basis.

“The Creation of the World emerges not as a flirtation but as a real love affair with jazz.” - Leonard Bernstein

Saint-Saëns also loved travelling to sunspots, and conceived of his 5th Piano Concerto as a sea voyage along southerly regions – including Egypt, where he was enchanted by a Nubian love song. This concerto is also marked by occasional musical reminders of gamelan music from Indonesia, Balinese gong effects and whimsical Arabic rhythms – a challenge for which the pianist has to pull off not inconsiderable technical fireworks.

And that is precisely wat Nicholas Angelich is able to do like none other. His native talent (he began playing at the age of five) gave him an early start, but it was his perseverance, sharp intellect and unfailing intuition that earned him a great many awards.


Darius Milhaud
La création du monde op. 81

Camille Saint-Saëns
Concerto pour piano et orchestre no 5 en fa majeur, op. 103 ‘L'Égyptien’

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BBC podcast

In this episode of BBC's Discovering Music, Stephen Johnson explores Brahms's Symphony No. 1.

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fast fingers

Apart from being a great composer, Camille Saint-Saëns was apparently a talented pianist as well. Just look at his fingers that move over the keys in a swift and virtuous but elegant manner.

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Madeleine Milhaud, widow of Darius, gives a rare insight into the private live of herself and her late husband.

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This concert will take place in the concert hall without a live audience: you can watch the concert via the livestream.