In 1945, the publishing firm of Leeds Music commissioned Darius Milhaud to write an extended work for band as part of a proposed series of new works by contemporary composers. The result was Suite Franaise. The composer provided the following words about the work: "The five parts of this suite are named after French provinces, the very ones in which the American and Allied armies fought together with the French underground for the liberation of my country -- Normandy, Brittany, Ile-de-France (of which Paris is the center), Alsace-Lorraine, and Provence. I used some folk tunes of the provinces. I wanted the young Americans to hear the popular melodies of those parts of France where their fathers fought." Suite Franaise was so successful that Milhaud was asked to rescore it for orchestra, in which medium it was first performed by the New York Philharmonic. Suite Franaise will be repeated in June as part of the Yale Concert Band's three-concert series in Normandy, France, commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Allied landing on June 6, 1944.
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