Holger Falk releases new album with Mélodies and Chansons of Arthur Honegger on MDG Records
As a Swiss composer, Arthur Honegger was probably the bird of paradise among the Paris composers of the “Groupe des Six”. The fact that he managed to combine the simplicity and plainness demanded above all by Jean Cocteau with his fascination for Wagner and Debussy indicates a strong personality. It is also reflected in his numerous song compositions and can be experienced wonderfully in the selection that Holger Falk and Steffen Schleiermacher have made for their latest album – including many a surprise.
As with the other Five of the “Groupe des Six”, Honegger preferred to set contemporary poems to music; Apollinaire and Claudel were particularly popular. But older texts also seem to fascinate him: The wonderfully purring stories by Saluste du Bartas and Pierre de Ronsard transport us into a baroque world in which biting irony and the most serious passion can hardly be distinguished.
Honegger – unlike his colleagues – was also fond of the large symphonic form, including some stage successes. Some of this can be found in his songs; the early “Quatre Poèmes” surprise with harmonic opulence, far from any neo-classical attitude. Even at a ripe old age, the composer still counted these pieces among his best.
The works presented here by Falk and Schleiermacher with an unerring sense for fine nuances spanan entire composer’s life. The consistently demanding piano part remains a constant and creates
an atmosphere with sometimes almost endless, yet never obtrusive ostinati, on which Holger Falk’s supple baritone can unfold most beautifully.