The Milhaud Project: Geographical outreach of French versus German newspapers

As we were conducting research on Darius Milhaud, we figured out that even though he seemed to have attained a worldwide popularity, Milhaud was for the most part famous in France and in Germany.

Among the many reasons why we supported this claim, including previous research conducted by Professor Epstein, newspapers seemed to be a pretty decent indicator of Darius Milhaud’s popularity in these two European countries.

In order to analyze the popularity of Darius Milhaud in France and in Germany, we decided to look through a handful amount of French and German newspapers in which his performances were often times mentioned.

One interesting thing that we found out is that even though Milhaud was pretty popular in both countries, each of these newspapers had a pretty different coverage of his performances.

In order to demonstrate this, we made a map that displays the geographical outreach of the French and German newspapers in which the music of Darius Milhaud was mostly mentioned.

Name of Newspaper/Periodical

Amount of Milhaud’s performances mentioned

Le Ménestrel


Le Guide du Concert






Note: The “number of performances mentioned” on this table is according to our data and year range (1922-1937) . Milhaud’s music has been referenced a lot more in each of these newspapers.

On the French side, we picked Le Guide du Concert and Le Ménestrel and on the German side we picked Anbruch and Melos.

As the map below demonstrates it, French newspapers (in blue), as opposed to German newspapers (in red), had a pretty centralized coverage of Darius Milhaud’s performances.

In fact, as we zoom in this map, we can see that Le guide du concert and Le Ménestrel were more likely to mention Milhaud’s performances when they took place in France.

Le guide du concert in particular was entirely focused on performances that occurred in Paris.


Le Ménestrel’s sections on Le Mouvement Musical en Province (The musical movement in French Provinces) and Le Mouvement Musical à l’étranger (The musical movement abroad)

Le Ménestrel, at times, covered performances that took place in French Provinces and various European countries.

However, if the performances of concern did not take place in Paris, very little details were provided, as opposed to performances that would have taken place in the Parisian landscapes.

In contrast to French newspapers, German Newspapers had a broader coverage of Milhaud’s performances.

In fact, as we can see from the map below, German newspapers not only mentioned performances of Milhaud that took place in Germany but also a multitude of performances that took place elsewhere.

If we zoom in the map below, we can also see that although German newspapers had a broader geographical coverage of Milhaud’s music, the majority of the performances that they mentioned were those that took place in Germany.

Moreover, a closer look at this map reveals that German newspapers failed to cover performances that took place in France. Nonetheless, this could also be due to the fact that because we already had a pretty decent coverage of performances that took place in France from French-language sources, we may have not searched deep enough for these performances through German newspapers.

However, despite these small differences, the geographical outreach of Melos and Anbruch seemed more realistic as compared to that of Le guide du concert and Le Ménestrel.

German newspapers were more successful at capturing the popularity of Darius Milhaud, whether it be across various cities in Germany or across the globe as a whole. French newspapers, in contrast , were more likely to cover Darius Milhaud’s performances if they had occurred in Paris.

As you can see in this blog post , in the 20th century, French nationalism began to take a completely new tournure.  There was a growing need for French musicians to produce “de la musique Francaise de France” (in English, a French music from France), which then became a symbol of authenticity and frenchness. 

Various associations, such as La Ligue Nationale pour la Défense de la musique Francaise, were even created to serve as a propaganda for French artists to become more patriotic and produce “French” music.

Could this map of the geographical outreach of French versus German newspapers be a coincidence with the growing French nationalist sentiment that began in the 20th century ?

Could the French newspapers have purposely chosen to focus on Milhaud’s music in France as a way to make a propaganda for his success in France?

On the other side, could the German newspapers’ intensive display of Milhaud’s music across German cities (as compared to other places) be a way for Germans to now claim Milhaud as one as their artists?

All these hypotheses could certainly be true.

Most importantly, this is one of the ways that maps can tell us so much about something and invite us to dig more into research, in the hope of finding answers to the questions that they generate.

Finally, it is important for us to remember that this comparative analysis of French and German newspapers is based on a small sample. For instance, if we were to make stronger claims about our findings, we would need to do a larger study of distributions of international performances by journal.