II. Modéré

Composer : Darius Milhaud
Title : Scaramouche
Period : 20th Century

Scaramouche, suite for Alto Saxophone or Clarinet & Orchestra (piano reduction) by Darius Milhaud. 2nd Movement: Modéré.

The original conception for the Scaramouche suite was for piano duo, and Milhaud found writing for this medium particularly troublesome.  Within a few years, Milhaud rearranged the piece for saxophone and orchestra and later for clarinet and orchestra which was performed by the alleged king of swing, Benny Goodman. A scaramouch was a stock character in such commedia dell arte, the character being a boastful coward.  There is a light-heartedness about this music, but it is well crafted and the infectious rhythms and simple melodies made it one of Milhaud's most popular works.

The second movement is notable for little other than its simplistic beauty.  The well-crafted melody is strong and provides an appropriate platform for dialogue with the piano.  The B section switches to compound time before the return of the main melody, this time with more contrapuntal accompaniment.