Darius Milhaud (1892 – 1974) was a French composer, conductor, and teacher. He was one of the most prolific composers of the 20th century. His compositions are influenced by jazz and Brazilian music and make extensive use of polytonality. Harmony that contains chords belonging to several different keys is described as polytonal.
Milhaud’s Scaramouche is a three-movement work based on incidental music written for a play. It is named after the Theâtre Scaramouche on the Champs Elysées in Paris, where the play was performed. In today’s piece, listen out for the offbeat rhythms (syncopation) and fast, energetic tempo typical of the samba music style from Brazil.
Find out more about the saxophonist Jess Gillam here: http://www.jessgillamsax.co.uk/