28 Jun 2015

Composer of the Week - Les Six

From Composer of the Week, 9:00 am on 28 June 2015

Les Six Tableau by Jacques-Émile Blanche

Les Six: Louis Durey, Georges Auric, Germaine Tailleferre, Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud and Francis Poulenc were a group of French composers who were friends in Paris around 1920.

They were seen as reacting against the establishment composers, but they weren’t necessarily heading in the same directions in their work as William Dart points out in this programme.  

“By 1920, for better or worse, the group had been given their name by composer and critic Henri Collet, as the Gallic equivalent of Russia’s famous Five or Mighty Handful... From the beginning, Les Six was a tenuous entity. Summing up its significance in 1968, Aaron Copland saw its main achievement as ending forever the 19th century conception of composers as long-haired geniuses living and starving in garrets.”

Image: Les Six by Jacques-Émile Blanche