Six, Les (lā sēs) [key], a short-lived group of six young early 20th-century French musicians. They were united by their adverse reactions to the extravagant impressionism of French composers such as Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel and the overwrought romanticism of Germans such as Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss. The group's name was coined in 1920 by the music critic Henri Collet. Inspired by the cool, abstract, and relatively unadorned compositions of Erik Satie and by the works of Jean Cocteau, their literary prophet and spokesman, Les Six attempted to write in a more simplified, sophisticated, and often jazzily rhythmic fashion. Nonetheless, all of the composers maintained their own distinctive styles. Les Six consisted of Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc, Georges Auric (1899–1983), Louis Durey (1888–1979), and Germaine Tailleferre (1892–1983), the group's only woman.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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