New London Orchestra, Ronald Corp (conductor)
Although Darius Milhaud is regarded today solely as a composer, it should be remembered that before the onset of the crippling disease which eventually confined him to a wheelchair for the final thirty or so years of his life he was a performing musician of no mean repute. Milhaud always deprecated his pianistic technique, but he was a fine pianist. He premiered his own Piano Concerto No 2 (with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra) and several other of his works for piano and orchestra – including Le carnaval d’Aix with the New York Philharmonic – and his recording with Marcelle Meyer of Scaramouche has never been equalled, let alone surpassed. He was also a splendid violinist. In this capacity he premiered his Violin Sonata No 2 and Sonata for two violins and piano, as well as his first two string quartets as a member of the Soëtans Quartet. Milhaud was also a noted viola player: he was invited by the publisher Durand to participate in the premiere of Debussy’s Sonata for flute, viola and harp in December 1915.