top of page
Третьяковская галерея
Vivarte Online / Fourth  part
at the State Tretyakov Gallery

The fourth part of the Vivarte Online project is dedicated to one of the central themes in the work of Mikhail Vrubel, which played a big role in his fate - the theme of the demon. A peculiar result of reflections on it is the work "Demon Defeated" (1902).

  "Demon Defeated" is a key work in the creative and earthly fate of Vrubel. Already contemporaries were amazed at what magical power this picture had over Vrubel. The artist continued to painfully work on the "Demon" even at the exhibition, rewriting it many times, losing his mind, unable to express the elusive beauty of the image. One of the reasons that the "Demon" was "spoiled" by the artist, contemporaries considered Vrubel's use of bronze powders. And indeed, the paints of the "Demon Defeated" shining with myriad shades of golden tone faded when the work moved from the artist's studio to the exhibition space and the lighting of the work changed dramatically. But it turns out that the colors themselves have retained their magical brilliance to this day. One has only to direct a beam of light at the picture at the right angle, and the canvas flares up with millions of colored shiny grains of sand - shades of gold. The wings of the Demon shimmer, flutter, live. This incredible life of Vrubel's form is most naturally described by resorting to musical analogies,  using the laws of music already in the twentieth century. The works of Vrubel, shown by Diaghilev at the exhibition of Russian art in Paris, made a strong impression on the French public with the shocking novelty of their form. Therefore, the choice of music by Darius Milhaud, one of the most unpredictable and shocking  French composers invited by S.P. Diaghilev to participate in the Russian Seasons (Irina Shumanova (Tretyakov Gallery)).

M. Vrubel, Downcast Demon, 1901. Sketch


M. Vrubel, Demon defeated, 1901-1902

Program 4 parts

Darius Milhaud (1892–1974)

Suite for violin, clarinet and piano

from music to Jean Anouilh's play Passenger Without Luggage, Op. 157b (1936)

I. Ouverture / Overture

II. Divertissement / Divertissement

III. Jeu / Game

IV. Introduction et final

The Suite from the Music to Jean Anouilh's Passenger Without Luggage , written by Milhaud in Paris in 1936, absorbed a wide variety of musical influences, from baroque and classicism to Latin American rhythms and jazz. In the Vivarte Online project, the suite is performed by brilliant musicians: the virtuoso violinist Graf Murzhi, one of the few concert clarinet soloists in the world Igor Fedorov, and the paradoxical pianist with a real gift for improvisation Andrey Gugnin.


Ludmila and Georges Pitoev in Passenger Without Baggage (Théâtre des Mathurins, 1937)


Poster for the play Passenger Without Baggage (Théâtre des Mathurins)

The representative of the French community of composers "Six", who advocated the national specifics of the musical language and simplicity as opposed to the radicalism of the avant-garde, Darius Milhaud loved to write music for theater and cinema. He did this extremely skillfully, avoiding primitive illustrativeness and fragmentation, which allowed him to compose small suites from large film and theater scores, which easily found a place in the concert repertoire. Among them there are also genuine masterpieces.

In the 1930s, Milhaud began to collaborate with the theater of Georges Pitoev, which opened in 1922 in Paris, a Russian and French actor and theater figure, born in Tiflis (Tbilisi) in an Armenian family, who was educated and began his career in St. Petersburg, and then successfully continued her in Europe. Miyo's wife Madeleine also played in the Pitoev Theater for some time. For this theatre, the composer wrote music for several plays, including Jean Anouilh's anti-war drama Passenger Without Luggage, dedicated to the tragic fate of the "unknown hero". The premiere of Anouilh's play with music by Milhaud in 1937 brought the playwright his first real success and fame. The plot of the play is based on real events from the life of a soldier Antelma Manzhin, who was seriously wounded at the front during the First World War and lost his memory. Milhaud uses a variety of sources of inspiration for the musical setting of the production, finding them both in the academic environment (baroque, classicism), and in folklore, and in the popular music of that time - Latin American rhythms and jazz. All of them are intertwined in a four-part suite composed of music for the play.


Commonwealth of Composers "Six", 1921 Le Groupe des six, 1921 painting by Jacques-Emile  Blanche.  Center: pianist Marcel Meyer. From bottom left to top: Germaine Taillefer, Darius Milhaud, Arthur Honegger, Louis Durey. Right: Francis Poulenc, Jean Cocteau and Georges Auric.

at the State Tretyakov Gallery

A fragment of the text about musical works was prepared by musicologist Tatyana Davydova.

bottom of page