Author Topic: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)  (Read 63251 times)

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Offline quintett op.57

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #20 on: September 01, 2007, 02:56:25 AM »
The jazzy little cello concerto is a gem. I know versions by Milos Sadlo on Supraphon, as well as a version by Slava on the 10 CD Brillian Rostropovich Collection.
My favourite Honegger's work so far

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #21 on: September 01, 2007, 04:33:03 AM »
Well a good start are the SQ 1-3.
The Violin Sonates and the Piano Trio.
He has written many small scaled Chamber music, very attractive, but the above mentioned works are in my opinion essential.


Thanks  :)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #22 on: September 01, 2007, 04:35:13 AM »
Jarvi's recording of Honegger 5 on Chandos is remarkable.  The dreary grinding chords of the first movement have just the right feel of strain without harshness, which facilitates the transition the more playfully ironic second movement.  The other version I've recently listened to, the Plasson, fails miserably in my view because the first movement is overdriven, making the second movement seem like a pathetic twittering in the distance.


I agree about the Jarvi No 5. I also like the Markevitch version on DGG Originals.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2008, 11:19:05 PM »
I strongly recommend the following inexpensive CD of "Honegger conducts Honegger"  The recordings are from 1929-1943 but Dutton has done wonders with them.  The "Prelude to The Tempest" is the stormiest performance on disc and the performance of Pastoral D'ete is most eloquent. I hope that Dutton do a transfer of Honegger's own recording of the "Liturgique Symphony", which has a warmth, power and eloquence unlike any other recording on disc. This composer should be much better known.  He is one of the giants of the 20th Century.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Honegger-conducts-Arthur/dp/B000ECWY8U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1207555828&sr=1-1
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #24 on: April 07, 2008, 12:34:48 AM »
I treasure the Karajan recording with symphonies 2 & 3 too. Great works, both of them. (And that 'bird ending' is indeed magical.)

But I have still much Honegger to discover.
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Harry

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #25 on: April 07, 2008, 12:39:39 AM »
I treasure the Karajan recording with symphonies 2 & 3 too. Great works, both of them. (And that 'bird ending' is indeed magical.)

But I have still much Honegger to discover.

And there is a lot to be discovered, Johan! :)

gomro

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #26 on: April 07, 2008, 03:35:08 AM »
Not much on Honegger so far. He is one of my favourites composers. Last night I heard, on the car radio, what sounded like a great performance of the "Liturgique" Symphony from the Proms in London. Actually I only heard the last movement but the performance (by Maris Jansons and the Bavarian RSO) was wonderful, taken very slowly. The bird-song type epilogue is one of the most moving things I know in classical music.

I like all the symphonies, especially the bleak No 5 as well as the oratorio "Joan of Arc" and also some of the film music on Marco Polo; "L'Idee" and "Les Miserables" in particular. "Pastorale d'ete" is another beautiful, inspiriting score.
The primary theme of Eric Ewazen's Ballade (which seems to exist in a thousand orchestrations; I haven't found one for rubber band and motorcycle engine yet, but I fear it's out there) reminded me so much of Pastorale d'ete that I wrote Ewazen about the similarity, being very careful to say I was not accusing him of plagiarism. Turned out he had never heard the Honegger. That's amazing to me; Honegger was one of my first discoveries in classical music (Pacific 231, on a disc with Varese's Ameriques and Milhaud's L'homme et son desir) and, though he was not a innovator, he was an outstanding composer and his music stands the test of time.

pjme

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #27 on: April 07, 2008, 09:32:38 AM »
And there is a lot to be discovered, Johan! :)

Indeed, there's a lot of music to be discovered : his catalogue counts more than 200 scores, ranging from  large scale oratorios and operetta to the symphony and  simple "chansons" .

I have Harry Halbreich's 1992 ( Fayard/Sacem ) excellent biography ( French only, I fear). As can be expected, success and failure were Honegger's due.
Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher and Le roi David were (and still are) hugely popular, he wrote many scores for plays and films , experimented with the "bouteillophone" ( tuned bottles ( filled with water)as used in "Le dit des jeux du monde", ondes Martenot, the Dynaphone ( another obsolete electronic instrument),the score is lost..), wrote beautiful chambermusic,ballets and some very interesting pianopieces.

I can recommend :

The early (1922) Cantique de Paques (for women's chorus & orch.) A very short ( ca 6 mins) fragment from " Mystère de Pâques" ,that never got realised. It is lovely however, influenced by Debussy, but one recognises Honegger's own style clearly ( the gorgeous Alleluia's from le Roi David!!).

Phaedre - suite d'orchestre ( with 8 alto voices). Once available on an Olympia disc ( Rozhdestvensky)
. Very mysterious and dark music . The fragments are quite long and form a satisfying whole .

Judith - a biblical oratorio. Shorter than Le roi David and Jeanne d'Arc. It derives from a "serious" opera with the same name. Quite  "cinematic" ( with a reciter telling the story in short,evocative scenes) and thrilling. Two good recordings : Abravanel/Utah (1964 -) with Madeleine Milhaud as reciter - some "strange "French from the Utah chorus...), Michel Corboz/Gulbenkian on Cascavelle.

Antigone( 1924-1927 - text by Jean cocteau) : a real opera,lasting 45 mins. and possibly, with Horace victorieux, Honnegger's most expressionistic work. (It was available in a live 1960 version on the BOURG label ( Geneviève Serres, Janine Collard, Jean Giraudeau etc. The French National Orch/Maurice Le Roux)
We're very far removed from the gentle Pastorale d'été! Antigone is atonal for most of the time and quite violent. ( Think of Strauss' Electra, and, possibly, Schoenberg's Erwartung - Halbreich is not sure if Honegger knew that work).
It is a difficult work and asks for real concentration. The performance I mentioned is not perfect, but still a wonderful reminder of great style and perfect French prosody!

The Timpani label has issued all the chamberworks and some rarities (always interesting, often a bit "weird" and fragmentary)

Le dit des jeux du monde
Amphion - a melodrama for Ida Rubinstein ( of Bolero and Jeanne d'Arc fame),coupled with an orchestral suite from l'Impératrice aux rochers
Sémiramis - a ballet-pantomime ( another work for Rubinstein!) with soprano solo, 2 ondes Martenots and chorus).,coupled with several "inédits" : Fantasio, suite from La tempête, Blues from roses de métal etc.

The oratorio "Cris du monde" can be found on a Praga CD ( OOP,I suppose)( Serge Baudo with Czech forces). It is a pessimistic work that reflects both the uncertain times of its composition ( 1929!) and Honegger's own existential fears. The performance is only OK - sung in Czech, and clearly showing its age.

Michel Corboz conducts also a good performance of Cantate de Noël and La danse des morts on Erato/Cascavelle/Musiifrance (1990). Idiomatic and stylish and..OOP.

Peter






Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #28 on: April 07, 2008, 09:47:02 AM »
Peter, I'll use your post for easy reference in future. Excellent work!

Johan
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

pjme

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #29 on: April 07, 2008, 10:34:38 AM »
Graag gedaan! Johan. I love Honegger's music and have been collecting quite a few recordings ( Charles Munch, Ansermet, Charles Dutoit).
I find the contrast between the "roaring Twenties Paris/France" and the seriousness of "protestant Switzerland" very interesting as reflected in Honegger's life and work .

It would be good to have (new) versions of "Cris du monde" , Judith (as opera), Antigone and the ballet "Le cantique des cantiques" written in 1936-37 for Serge Lifar. ( soloists, chorus & orchestra).



Serge Lifar
« Last Edit: April 07, 2008, 10:47:05 AM by pjme »

Drasko

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #30 on: April 07, 2008, 10:52:30 AM »

The oratorio "Cris du monde" can be found on a Praga CD ( OOP,I suppose)( Serge Baudo with Czech forces). It is a pessimistic work that reflects both the uncertain times of its composition ( 1929!) and Honegger's own existential fears. The performance is only OK - sung in Czech, and clearly showing its age.

There should be another recording of Cris du monde, under Georges Tzipine on EMI Les Rarissimes de Honegger, but I believe it shows even more age.

Unfortunately oratorios (Honegger or otherwise) aren't the genre that works for me much. But that opera Antigona sounds positively mouthwatering. Any info on availability?

Kullervo

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #31 on: April 07, 2008, 11:39:51 AM »
But that opera Antigona sounds positively mouthwatering. Any info on availability?

Seconded, I'd love to hear it.

Has anyone heard his operetta, Les Aventures du Roi Pausole? I just noticed it is available on Amazon.

Offline The new erato

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #32 on: April 07, 2008, 11:45:24 AM »
Another composer mostly neglected by what used to be the majors (but are now more or less the minors), except for a few of the symphonies....

Need to buy some of those Timpanis.

Offline edward

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #33 on: April 07, 2008, 11:47:38 AM »
There should be another recording of Cris du monde, under Georges Tzipine on EMI Les Rarissimes de Honegger, but I believe it shows even more age.
Yes, it's in somewhat murky mono, and it's not a work I've ever come to love. But at least it's reasonably available (plus it comes with the incredibly rare Nicolas de Flue and the glorious Cantate de Noel).
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

pjme

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #34 on: April 07, 2008, 01:34:17 PM »
There should be another recording of Cris du monde, under Georges Tzipine on EMI Les Rarissimes de Honegger, but I believe it shows even more age.

Unfortunately oratorios (Honegger or otherwise) aren't the genre that works for me much. But that opera Antigona sounds positively mouthwatering. Any info on availability?

Hi Drasko, do check "La chaumière à musique" in Paris. It's a 2nd hand shop- plenty of Honegger recordings ( but not Antigone...for the moment)
http://www.chaumiereonline.com

Peter

Drasko

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #35 on: April 07, 2008, 02:09:17 PM »
Hi Drasko, do check "La chaumière à musique" in Paris. It's a 2nd hand shop- plenty of Honegger recordings ( but not Antigone...for the moment)
http://www.chaumiereonline.com

Peter

Thanks, I'll check them from time to time, hopefully a copy will surface. Though french shipping rates tend to be pretty annoying.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #36 on: April 07, 2008, 03:09:32 PM »
Can I put in a word for some of Honegger's rarer shorter orchestral pieces.

I am thinking of the early powerful Symphonic Poem "Le chant de Nigomon", the Prelude, Fugue and Postlude and the late Monopartita-which dates from around the same time as the 5th symphony. All three of these pieces used to be available on an Erato double CD with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo(Marius Constant) coupled with Dutoit's version of 'Le Roi David'. 'Horace Victorieux' is a wild and noisy piece but worth hearing too.

There is also the delightful Prelude, Arioso and Fughette on the name of Bach for strings(Chandos-Vasary) and the Suite Archaique(First Edition Records-Robert Whitney) and the Concerto da camera for flute, english horn and strings.

As has been noted Honegger did write a very great deal of ballet music and incidental music for films, little of which is heard today.

I have 'La danses des morts" in a version on the Calliope label with the Orchestre de Picardie(Edmon Colomer) coupled with Milhaud's "L'homme et son desir"
« Last Edit: April 07, 2008, 04:26:20 PM by Dundonnell »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #37 on: April 07, 2008, 03:45:09 PM »
There were three interesting Marco Polo CDS of Honegger's film scores.  Les Miserables and L'Idee stood out as fine scores.  Worth seeking out.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Earthlight

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #38 on: April 07, 2008, 04:32:51 PM »
(Pacific 231, on a disc with Varese's Ameriques and Milhaud's L'homme et son desir)

Yeah, on Vanguard, right? Was that Abravanel and the Utah Symphony? Varèse got a bit of cult play at school because Frank Zappa gave him a shout-out in some liner notes. I guess that not many people who bought that record because of Zappa paid much attention to Milhaud or Honegger, but I always liked those two works more.

Kullervo

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #39 on: April 07, 2008, 04:57:36 PM »
Has anyone heard his operetta, Les Aventures du Roi Pausole? I just noticed it is available on Amazon.

Shall I take silence to mean "no"?  :-\