Composer Silvan Loher has long been transfixed by both music and poetry. For Loher, the two worlds are strongly connected; the poetry with which he connects strikes a musical chord in him, and the music he loves most possesses a poetic quality. It was inevitable, then, that Silvan Loher would channel these dual passions into his own compositions. These songs include some of the only music he has written not to commission, but for the sheer pleasure and necessity of setting these poems. They are performed on this disc by mezzo soprano Silke Gäng and pianist Marco Scilironi. All three musicians were educated at the prestigious Basel Musikhochschule before embarking on their respective musical careers.
Silvan Loher has chosen to set poetry by two very distinct but complementary voices: Mascha Kaléko and Walt Whitman. Loher focusses on those poems by Kaléko which conjure up the smoky cabaret era of Berlin in the 1930s, and his music reflects this atmosphere perfectly. The poet’s themes of introspection and unease, set to dark-hued, richly evocative music, are balanced with moments of wistful nostalgia, when Loher’s love of Grieg and Brahms becomes audible.
In contrast, Walt Whitman’s famously direct and brilliant poetry draws from Loher music as wide-ranging as the texts themselves, reflecting a wealth of emotions from longing, to agitation, to loneliness, to the rapturous celebration of nature. Throughout the collection, Loher’s sensitivity to and understanding of these texts is evident; this is an essential new release for poetry and music lovers alike.