The song oeuvre of Darius Milhaud is vast, and 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.
The texts are 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 contemporary Steinway.
Holger Falk (baritone) is an avid concert and lieder singer, and regularly perfomrs at major houses throughout Europe and the USA, working with renowned conductors and directors. Falk has a great passion for contemporary music theatre, and several new scores were composed especially for him: he sang the world premières of The Golden Dragon by Peter Eötvös at the Oper Frankfurt and at the Bregenz Festival along with Ein Brief by Manfred Trojahn at the Oper Bonn. He has performed at the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Staatsoper Hamburg, the Theater an der Wien, the Theater Basel, the Théâtre de la Monnaie amongst others. Holger Falk's range of CD productions, including a four-part series of songs by Hanns Eislers (MDG), the complete recordings of the Me´lodies et Chansons by Erik Satie and all 115 mélodies by Francis Poulenc (MDG)
Steffen Schleiermacher (piano) has performed with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Deutsche Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Münchner Philharmoniker, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and other orchestras under Vladimir Ashkenazy, Friedrich Goldmann, Ingo Metzmacher, Wladimir Jurowski and Fabio Luisi. Schleiermacher's recordings amount to more than 80 CDs (e.g. the first recording of the complete piano works by John Cage) with different labels such as MDG, Hat Art and Wergo. Schleiermacher's numerous prizes and fellowship awards include the Gaudeamus Competition (1985), Eisler Prize (1986), Kranichstein Music Prize (1986), Christoph and Stephan Kaske Foundation Prize, Munich (1991), Fellowship of the German Academy at the Villa Massimo in Rome (1992), Japan Foundation Fellowship (1997), Fellowship of the Cité des Arts in Paris (1999) and Chevalier des artes et letters (2010), 6x Echo Classic Awards, 2021 scholarship for "Villa Concordia" Bamberg.
Milhaud: Trois Poemes de Jean Cocteau, Op. 59
Dans les rues de Rio, Op. 44a
Poemes Juifs, Op. 34
Les Soirees de Petrograde, Op. 55: L'ancien regime