Author Topic: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)  (Read 69123 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #320 on: November 26, 2018, 03:12:09 PM »
Picked up a recording of the five Symphonies today. I was very impressed with No. 1. Its calm ending brought to mind Copland's Appalachian Spring.

That's nice. I think that he was a very great and under-appreciated composer. Even his animated film score 'L'Idee' I find very moving.
"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 Maestro267

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #321 on: December 04, 2018, 01:57:18 AM »
Listening to the First Symphony again yesterday, and the theme that becomes prominent in the finale's coda sounds very very similar to "And did those feet in ancient time". Deliberate quotation, one wonders?

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #322 on: December 04, 2018, 07:14:13 AM »
Listening to the First Symphony again yesterday, and the theme that becomes prominent in the finale's coda sounds very very similar to "And did those feet in ancient time". Deliberate quotation, one wonders?

Interesting! Hadn't made that connection - must listen to it again.
"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 #323 on: April 16, 2019, 10:54:51 AM »
I'm very pleased to see that a new DGG boxed set features that classic performance of symphonies 2 and 3 in a miniature version of its original LP sleeve design, which I much preferred to the CD release featuring, yet another, photograph of Herbert von K.This might seem the height of CD nutterdom but that LP was one of the great musical discoveries for me so I'm glad to have this inexpensive boxed set:

« Last Edit: April 16, 2019, 12:19:24 PM by vandermolen »
"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).

Ghost of Baron Scarpia

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #324 on: April 16, 2019, 11:35:59 AM »
I'm very pleased to see that a new DGG boxed set features that classic performance of symphonies 2 and 3 in a miniature version of its original LP sleeve design, which I much preferred to the CD release featuring, yet another, photograph of Herbert von K.This might seen the height of CD nutterdom but that LP was one of the great musical discoveries for me so I'm glad to have this inexpensive boxed set:



The first CD edition I had of that recording did not have Karajan's picture.



Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #325 on: April 16, 2019, 12:23:23 PM »
The first CD edition I had of that recording did not have Karajan's picture.


That interesting - I think that was the cover design on the LP of those symphonies I first bought. The LP with the image of Honneger (above) I came across when I took it out the local record library - I never came across it in a shop, so I'm very pleased to have it now.
"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 aukhawk

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #326 on: April 17, 2019, 06:53:34 AM »
I'm very pleased to see that a new DGG boxed set features that classic performance of symphonies 2 and 3 in a miniature version of its original LP sleeve design,


I've got that LP, that sleeve, mouldering in my cellar among about 800 others.  Must be one of the best things HvK ever did on record.

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #327 on: July 22, 2019, 04:45:46 PM »


Le Roi David in its original form. It seems it has no many mentions on this thread. What I can say about it is that is much better and more original than expected. There is a nice mix of styles (gregorian chant, jazz, ancient sounds evoking that era), and all those elements work more than convincingly. The reduced orchestration Honegger used here is remarkable, I could even say it was pioneer or an early attempt to use small orchestral forces in order to express Biblical musical depictions. The work sounds solemn, sometimes rousing, and eventually affecting. My only complaint is the speaker's narration, fortunately it's not properly present in the music but to connect the several sections. And the performance is so clean, rather well done in all respects. All in all, a quite interesting find, albeit perhaps not for all tastes I guess.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #328 on: July 22, 2019, 11:42:52 PM »


Le Roi David in its original form. It seems it has no many mentions on this thread. What I can say about it is that is much better and more original than expected. There is a nice mix of styles (gregorian chant, jazz, ancient sounds evoking that era), and all those elements work more than convincingly. The reduced orchestration Honegger used here is remarkable, I could even say it was pioneer or an early attempt to use small orchestral forces in order to express Biblical musical depictions. The work sounds solemn, sometimes rousing, and eventually affecting. My only complaint is the speaker's narration, fortunately it's not properly present in the music but to connect the several sections. And the performance is so clean, rather well done in all respects. All in all, a quite interesting find, albeit perhaps not for all tastes I guess.
I remember asking my parents to buy it for me one Christmas. I enjoyed it and, like you, found some sections affecting. The double LP set was great because it also introduced me to the music of that other fine Swiss composer Frank Martin and probably my favourite work by him 'In Terra Pax':
"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 #329 on: June 25, 2020, 10:28:02 AM »
Mario Venzago's new Honegger disc is sensational IMO. My wife sent me out shopping a few weeks ago (context) and I turned on the car radio and heard the last two movements of the 'Liturgique' Symphony. There was no way I was getting out of the car until I heard who the conductor was - it was a live concert conducted by Mario Venzago. At home I rushed to the computer in a panicky search to see if Venzago had recorded the work and was delighted to see that there was a recent release. I'm happy to report that this is just as magnificent a performance. Maybe it is even the same one as I noticed that the recordings date from 2012 and 2015. The 'Liturgique' IMO is the best since Karajan and possibly even better. The moving bird-song epilogue is taken MUCH slower than usual and IMO is incredibly moving - like no other performance. If you only wanted one Honegger CD in your collection I would recommend this one without hesitation. 'Rugby' (a work new to me) makes a great start to the disc. The end of Symphony No.5, as it fades away is very poignant, reminding me, in spirit, of the end of Shostakovich's 15th Symphony and the quality of the recording is the best that I have heard:
"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 Mirror Image

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #330 on: June 25, 2020, 10:39:36 AM »
Excellent to read, Jeffrey. I’ll have to revisit that Venzago recording. I recall it being really good. I believe I bought it when it was released, but have only listened to it once. I’ll rectify this soon.
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Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #331 on: June 25, 2020, 03:23:11 PM »
I remember posting a few impressions from me on that Venzago recording.  :-\

Ahh, I just remembered the crash negative effects.  :(
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #332 on: June 25, 2020, 09:25:41 PM »
Thanks Cesar and John. Yes, I was puzzled that there had apparently been no posts on this thread, before my one about the Venzano recording of the 'Liturgique' Symphony, for about a year, although I remembered some recent discussion about it. Then, thanks to Cesar's post, I remembered 'the GMG crash'
"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 #333 on: June 25, 2020, 09:29:07 PM »
Excellent to read, Jeffrey. I’ll have to revisit that Venzago recording. I recall it being really good. I believe I bought it when it was released, but have only listened to it once. I’ll rectify this soon.
I don't think you'll regret doing so John.  I think it's a most extraordinary disc - one of my CDs of the year (along with Schnittke's 8th Symphony  ;)) I'm sure.
"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 Mirror Image

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #334 on: June 26, 2020, 05:46:30 AM »
I don't think you'll regret doing so John.  I think it's a most extraordinary disc - one of my CDs of the year (along with Schnittke's 8th Symphony  ;)) I'm sure.

Very nice, Jeffrey. I’ll try to give the Liturgique from that Venzago recording a listen tonight.
“Competitions are for horses, not artists.”


Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #335 on: June 26, 2020, 08:24:54 AM »
Very nice, Jeffrey. I’ll try to give the Liturgique from that Venzago recording a listen tonight.
Excellent John. I'll be interested to hear your views.
"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 Mirror Image

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #336 on: June 26, 2020, 08:27:30 AM »
Excellent John. I'll be interested to hear your views.

Will do, Jeffrey. 8)
“Competitions are for horses, not artists.”


Offline aukhawk

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #337 on: June 26, 2020, 11:24:00 PM »
My mini-review of that Venzago recording fell into the black hole.   ???



As I recall I descibed the Liturgique as 'muscular' and 'weighty' or some such and also commented on the very fine recording with plenty of bottom-end heft.  I also commented that this vigorous approach was unexpected (by me) from Venzago, who I associate with a restrained, even underplayed, style.  (Which I happen to like very much, in Bruckner - putting me in a minority of one  :D )
On further listening I don't really enjoy the hard braking midway through the last movement - transitioning from 'slightly quicker than Karajan' to 'much slower than Karajan'.  But that'a a minor quibble.  And of course re-listening to Karajan just confirms what a wonderful performance and recording that is.
I also very much like this recording of the 5th - bringing to life a symphony I haven't really enjoyed before.
I don't find much to interest me in Rugby (which I also have as part of the Dutoit symphony set).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #338 on: November 10, 2020, 11:19:05 AM »
From WAYLTN thread:
This is one of the most profoundly moving performances I have heard of Honegger's 'Liturgique' Symphony (1955 recording). The first movement is taken very fast with a relentless momentum. I'm not sure that I have ever been so moved by the slow second movement as on this recording. I'm delighted to have this recording and the Chausson Symphony on the same disc makes it even more special. As with Vaughan Williams's contemporaneous and spiritually not dissimilar (IMO) 6th Symphony any performance stands or falls by the performance of the closing pages. There is a tremendous rhythmic urgency about Denzler's performance and the closing bird-song ending is the best I have heard since Karajan and just as, if not more, moving; above all you can hear the background strings much more clearly than in many more modern recordings, creating a poetic, eerie and magical atmosphere. It interests me that two of the greatest interpreters (Denzler and Karajan) on Honegger's meditation on the barbarity of war and the nature of suffering were former Nazis. My only complaint is that Honegger's perky and upbeat 'Chant de Joie' comes on much too quickly after the symphony; it would have been better placed before the Symphonie Liturgique:




"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).
"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 Herman

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #339 on: November 11, 2020, 02:47:47 AM »
I would love to be at a recital with a good string quartet performing Honegger's SQ nr 3.