[Milhaud, Darius. (1892–1974)] [Monteux, Pierre. (1875–1964)]
Collection of Letters
Seven autograph letters and notes written by Madeleine Milhaud, wife of the French composer, to Doris and Nancie Monteux, the wife and adoptive daughter, respectively, of important conductor Pierre Monteux. Four short letters are undated but evidently ca. 1940–44 on letterhead of l'Enclos, the Milhaud Family country home, and contain a mixture of friendly correspondence and concern over the present political environment ("quelle affreusement, chérie, et pourtant il faut du courage," "Travail envers et contre tout même Hitler."). Later letters postmarked 1964 (Mill's College, Oakland, CA), 1980 (Paris), and 2002 (Paris) mix friendly content ("J'irai en Californie en Avril pour de manifestation 'Milhaud'") and attest to a long friendship. Together with two transmissal envelopes postmarked 1964 and 2002. All in fine condition.
The celebrated musician husbands of the two correspondents, Darius Milhaud and Pierre Monteux, were close friends and collaborators throughout their lives. Milhaud was a frequent guest conductor at the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra during Monteux's tenure there and also composed a special piece for Monteux's eightieth birthday in 1955. Madeleine Milhaud had a long career as an actress, and wrote the libretti for her husband's operas, Médée, Bolivar, and La mère coupable.
The great conductor Pierre Monteux was known for conducting the premiere of the Rite of Spring and for his tenures with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Orchestre Symphonique de Paris, and the San Francisco Symphony. Pierre and Doris Monteux met in 1922, during Monteux's time with the BSO. Though he was married (to his second wife, Germaine) and she had two children from a previous marriage, their attraction was immediate. They became a couple, although they could not marry until Germaine granted Monteux a divorce, and Monteux legally adopted Doris' children. They remained devoted to each other for the rest of their lives, frequently traveling together and together founding the Pierre Monteux School for conductors in Doris' native Maine.