Holger Falk sings Darius Milhaud – Mélodies & Chansons Vol. 1
The song oeuvre of Darius Milhaud is almost unmanageable. Holger Falk and Steffen Schleiermacher approach this huge convolute with a first selection that already shows the entire breadth of Milhaud’s compositions – from humorous cabaret pieces to serious songs, from extended cycles to occasional works “thrown down” with a nimble hand.
Throughout his long life, Milhaud remained faithful to tonality. He followed atonality and twelve-tone music of his contemporaries with interest, without ever applying it even on a trial basis. Nevertheless, the simultaneous sounding of different tonalities became almost a trademark of Milhaud – along with his preference for exciting borrowings from distant peoples and exotic rhythms.
The “Vocalise-Étude” in 5/8 time sounds more like a South American dance than a vocal exercise; “Dans les Rues de Rio” contains a variety of acoustic memories of a stay in Brazil’s capital; the “Soirées de Pétrograd”, based on recordings by Russian emigrants, seems almost cartoonish-cabaret-like.
And the text is always in the foreground. Milhaud leads the words with his music to a new sphere – to be observed especially well in the “Poèmes juifs”. Holger Falk, with his highly flexible voice, knows excellently how to shape this expansion of meaning, and he is supported by Steffen Schleiermacher, who is as sensitive to sound as he is expressive on the kontemporäre Steinway.