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Program Notes

Suite Française

(1945)

Darius Milhaud, composer

Suite Française was commissioned by the publishing firm Leeds Music in 1945, and all five movements are named after French provinces where American and allied armies joined forces with the French underground to liberate France. Darius Milhaud used French folksongs in the movements and writes, “I wanted the young Americans to hear the popular melodies of those parts of France where their fathers and brothers fought.” Milhaud was associated with a group of young French composers known as “Les Six,” determined to break the impressionistic chains surrounding French music. In 1940, when the Germans overran his native country, Milhaud moved to the United States and served as composer-in-residence at Mills College in Oakland, California.

—Band Music Notes, Norman Smith and Albert Stoutamire

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