D. Milhaud, L'Orestie d'Eschyle, T. Mumford, L. Phillips, B. Rae, University of Michigan Choirs and Symphony Orchestra, K. Kiesler
(released on September 9, 2014)
Naxos 8.660349-51 | 141'24"
The influence of Stravinsky is heard, especially in the little choral scene of Agamemnon, with its motoric melodic cells repeating over and over again. Much of the music sounds cut from the same cloth as Satie's Socrate, composed around the same period, but more daring sounds come into play in the second and third parts. Milhaud calls for a form of rhythmic speaking, pulsed by percussion, in the creepy Omens section of Les choéphores, something that might seem boring or weird but is riveting when realized. To capture the immortal sound of Athena's voice in Les euménides, Milhaud writes the part for three women singing simultaneously, performed memorably here by soprano Brenda Rae, mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford, and contralto Jennifer Lane. The performance is good, if not quite great, at its best in large textures.