Darius Milhaud's Sacred service: a historical, textual, and theoretical analysis

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Robert Harold Matthews (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Welborn Young

Abstract: Darius Milhaud (1892-1974) was a French composer whose prolific musical output includes a wide variety of genres: operas, ballets, film and radio scores, orchestral and choral works, solo vocal and instrumental works, and chamber music. Grove Music Online lists 44 works in Milhaud's choral oeuvre, many of which consist of multiple movements. They range from short a cappella pieces to major works with orchestral accompaniment. Milhaud set both sacred and secular texts from a variety of sources, including the Bible and famous writers such as Paul Claudel, Rainer Maria Rilke, Paul Verlaine, and Elie Wiesel. Milhaud's choral works include a number of pieces inspired by his Jewish heritage. Outstanding among them is a piece that San Francisco's Temple Emanu-El commissioned him to write in 1947, the Service sacré pour le samedi matin (Sacred Service for Sabbath Morning). This work is a setting of the Saturday morning Jewish liturgy in Hebrew and English or French written for baritone solo, narrator, mixed chorus, and orchestra or organ and is approximately 55 minutes in length. Milhaud's Sacred Service is a relatively unknown work in the standard western canon of choral literature. Three probable reasons for this lack of knowledge are the absence of scholarly inquiry into the choral music of Milhaud, unfamiliarity with the Jewish liturgy, and unfamiliarity with the Hebrew language. The purpose of this document was to provide a greater understanding of Milhaud's Sacred Service in the context of the Jewish liturgy through a historical, textual, and theoretical analysis. Chapter I includes the introduction and purpose of this document and discusses specific aspects of Milhaud's biography and musical style as related to the Sacred Service. The second chapter includes information on the commissioning, composition, and reception of this work. Chapter III is an explanation of the Reform Jewish liturgy and the text of the Sabbath Morning Service. The fourth chapter is a theoretical analysis of the Sacred Service focusing on form, melody, harmony, texture, and timbre. Chapter V contains a summarization of this document's findings and suggestions for future research. The appendices include a letter from Milhaud to Reuben Rinder, Cantor of Temple Emanu-El, and the reviews of the work's premier performance from the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2011
Darius Milhaud, Jewish choral music, Jewish liturgy, Sacred Service, Service S
Milhaud, Darius, $d 1892-1974. $t Service sacré pour le samedi matin
Synagogue music $x History and criticism $y 20th century
Choral music $y 20th century

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