Darius Milhaud (1892 – 1974) was a French composer and teacher. He was a member of Les Six—also known as The Group of Six—and one of the most prolific composers of the 20th century. His compositions are influenced by jazz and make use of polytonality. Darius Milhaud is to be counted among the modernist composers.
Born in Marseilles to a Jewish family from Aix-en-Provence, Milhaud began as a violinist, later turning to composition instead. Milhaud studied in Paris at the Paris Conservatory where he met his fellow group members Arthur Honegger and Germaine Tailleferre. He studied composition under Charles Widor and harmony and counterpoint with André Gedalge. He also studied privately with Vincent d'Indy. On a trip to the United States in 1922, Darius Milhaud heard "authentic" jazz for the first time, which left a great impact on his musical outlook. The rise of Nazism forced the Milhauds to leave France in 1940 and emigrate to the United States, where he was professor at Mills College in Oakland. His students include, jazz pianist Dave Brubeck and songwriter, Burt Bacharach.
"Pastorale" was composed in 1941, and is a lovely and distinctive work, which is not nearly as "hard" as I first thought it was... ;-)
It was published as No. 9 in the H.W. Gray "Contemporary Organ Series."