Author Topic: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)  (Read 68974 times)

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Online vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #80 on: June 02, 2009, 04:39:44 AM »
Say more, Jeffrey?  When did he write it? &c.

Karl will get back to you on that.

Jeffrey
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Offline not edward

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #81 on: June 02, 2009, 05:57:46 AM »
They're better (or at least; better liked by me) than no 1.
Seconded. I think they're obvious ancestors to the 2nd symphony, with similar harmonic, melodic and rhythmic features.
"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

snyprrr

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #82 on: November 14, 2009, 01:27:47 AM »
First off, excuse me, but it hasn't been 120 days since this thread was up, right? I thought,...ah,...oh, well, BUTtt!!!...

FINALLY!!

After many years, and even many more, and also in consideration of the scarcity of these pieces, I finally got the Honegger SQs 1-3/Erato Qrt. (Ermitage). Well, I don't know how many of you out there are familiar with them, but, I'm going to give all three an,... are ya ready?,...ah?,...YES!!!,...UNQUALIFIED MASTERPIECES in all capitals, fer sher!



The library has 2, maybe three of Honegger Complete Chamber Music on Timpani, but never have I heard the SQs. And, since Honegger became my, oh how do you say it?.... nizzle? hearing these has always been there, though Amazon has been dry of the Timpani SQs (Ludwig), and the Erato, in two different guises (Ermitage with the pic of the group on the cover, and Aura, with abstract painting, and I say, must they not be the same performance???), the Erato has been very expensive (currenty @$40). I thought I paid a hefty @22, but, I will tell you

GOD, in Jesus' name,... I will say yay, prompted me to bid $22 and I tell you I wouldn't have gotten it for less at the last second, so, Praise the Lord, haha! (where's the angel smilee??? :o) I know it's a total deal, but I was not expecting to pay the full, so when I "heard" the number, I gladly submitted. I DO NOT RECOMMEND tempting the Lord, however,... I'm just sayin'. :) Don't Diner me!



So, therefore, with greatest anticipation did I receive yon mail the other day. Ohhh, the cover, ahhh, the spine. We go for No.2 first. and

KA-POWWW!!!... ...
I am hearing for the first time the very closest thing to Szymanowski's first mvmts. of both of his SQs, that ecstatic, longing, plus,... and that's not all folks, but the best in Janacek, Bartok, Hindemith, Prokofiev, and the like (Pijper, especially), the very cream of early-mid 20th century SQ literature, it's all there in there in the first two mvmts. of this three mvmt. work. For me, the finale was a wee bit of a let down after the incredible first two mvmts., seeming not as focused, as if from another SQ, but, I'm warming to Honegger's choice,... right! No, this SQ shot right up into an already bulging core of masterpieces that I thought had seen it's last new member (though, also this year, Novak No.3 ). For those of you who haven't heard, I'll just let you drool, but the first two mvmts. are, I'll say it, transcendental Honegger.

I know I can ramble on, but trust me, I could go on about this music! No.3, to my surprise, was quite different. Though only written a year after No. 2 (1937),...whoop!, there's that year again!!!,... anyhow, all of the melodic appeal of No.2 is gone, and here we have a quasi Hindemithian sounding concentration (Hindemith in uber serious mode), but also Pijper really comes to mind here in the melodic/cellular-type curve appeal. It is a working out of motives SQ, as opposed to No.2's more overt lyricism. On the surface I didn't like No.3 immediately as much as No.2, but it's homogeny and concentration are more intellectually appealling.  No.3 is probably Honegger's greatest chamber work,... (thinking, thinking)... but I'd perhaps like to say the combination of the two, because they make such an excellently contrasted pair.

So, after this most delightful discovery, I made to No.1, written in 1917, in another good cluster vintage when Milhaud, Koechlin, Martinu, and such like were writing their first essays. The teen years up to 1919 are one of my favorite eras, and let me say, that I was immediately struck by Honegger's first big, great piece. I'd looove to go into some detail about the time, but, anyhow, the SQ No.1 starts of in full turmoil of motif, a Tempest, if one may, and really is put together well. The notes remind that this is the ONLY? (SQ?, any?) French music which is obviously influenced by Reger, and the such like. I'm not that familiar with the Magnard, but, I do trust that Magnard and Honegger, though both more Germanic leaning, don't sound that much alike.

After the turbulent first mvmt., the 15min slow mvmt. really is a wonder,... yea, 15mins!,... even Honegger thought hist first SQ was long (he didn't say which part, heehee),...but, no, as far as Honegger slow mvmts. go, it is certainly the masterpiece of his youth,... the seeking searching serious man, the poor man's Beethoven, haha. I do believe I just gave away quite the jewel of the crown here, but in the panoply of composers who wrote one SQ early, and then returned later, mature, and there are tons before 1919, this Honegger work must be considered very very highly, I think. I really don't want to compare to early Myaskovsky, eh, mmm, eh, but there is a certain sameness of serious purpose, oh those serious boys!

In the finale we can hear the seeds of future Honegger allegros. I said, Oy!, there you are! I can't place it, but it's there, haha! This might be my fav finale of the three, though, since No.3 is so different, they can co-chair.



As to the production, all I can say is that the Erato play with undoubted passion, which is quite on display everywhere, from the Edgar Allan Poe of No.1, to the soaring surreality of No.2, to the zip-it/shut-up, rigorous concentration of No.3. I can't imagine how the Ludwig on Timpani could be much better, though it would be quite the match-up, no? Mmmm...yes! The 1992 recording cushions Honegger's sometimes harsh sonorities for an excellent listening experience, immediate and full, yet just enough away to congeal in warmth.



I've gotta tell ya, I've listened to this cd twice whilst writing. These mvmts. go by pretty fast, wow! Well, for any Honeggerian, this is a great moment, and I just hope someone gets the fire. Like I said, if you've wondered about them, they are truly in the same class as your favs. I was very very surprised; I was not expecting Honegger to show this particular type of depth in these pieces, but he certainly appears to have lavished some attention on them. All I can say is, they're perfect. Honestly, with my personal history with Honegger, this is quite a day. I proclaim it National Honegger Appreciation Day, buh-buh!!

I feel a Honegger Love Fest coming on! :P :-* :P :-* :P :-* :P :-* :P :-* :P :-* :P

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #83 on: July 08, 2010, 11:12:29 AM »
I haven't spent much time with Honegger. I just love that last movement of "Symphony No. 2" my God those rhythms!!! That is one thing that really attracted me to his music, but a closer look into the music will reveal a very disturbed man. His music is violent and dark, but it also has a very lyrical side. I'm going to try and listen to more Honegger over the next couple of days.
“Competitions are for horses, not artists.”



Scarpia

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #85 on: July 08, 2010, 11:50:50 AM »
First off, excuse me, but it hasn't been 120 days since this thread was up, right? I thought,...ah,...oh, well, BUTtt!!!...

FINALLY!!

After many years, and even many more, and also in consideration of the scarcity of these pieces, I finally got the Honegger SQs 1-3/Erato Qrt. (Ermitage). Well, I don't know how many of you out there are familiar with them, but, I'm going to give all three an,... are ya ready?,...ah?,...YES!!!,...UNQUALIFIED MASTERPIECES in all capitals, fer sher!
I have that release and agree that it is superb.

Online vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #86 on: August 01, 2010, 12:42:50 AM »
My inclination and my effort have always been to write music which would be comprehensible to the great mass of listeners and at the same time sufficiently free of banality to interest genuine music lovers.

So wrote Arthur Honegger, and I think that he achieved his aim. I have just managed to find the CD below. I bought it when first released (1991) but the CD got damaged and it wouldn't play without jumping. I was very pleased to find a second hand copy (reasonably priced for once) on Amazon UK. I think that it is perhaps my favourite Honegger CD, even though it does not feature the Sinfonie Liturgique, which is perhaps Honegger's greatest work. I had not listened to the wartime Second Symphony in a long while and had forgotten how good it is, especially the compassionate slow movement. I love Ansermet's performance of Symphony No 4 'The Delights of Basel' - perhaps the most underrated of Honegger's symphonies. It is a really lovely, charming work, which reminded me once or twice of Martinu's 6th Symphony. If you do not know this work I strongly recommended it. It is a really inspiriting and life-enhancing work. The CD concluded with Honegger's final work the 'Christmas Cantata' written for his friend Paul Sacher, when Honegger was already very ill. It is a dark and sombre work but ends, very movingly, on a note of affirmation and hope as Honegger quotes tunes from christmas carols. This is the best CD I have heard in a long while.
"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 CaramelJones

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #87 on: August 01, 2010, 03:00:51 AM »
Quote
I am hearing for the first time the very closest thing to Szymanowski's first mvmts. of both of his SQs, that ecstatic, longing, plus,... and that's not all folks, but the best in Janacek, Bartok, Hindemith, Prokofiev, and the like (Pijper, especially), the very cream of early-mid 20th century SQ literature, it's all there in there in the first two mvmts. of this three mvmt. work.

You are probably referring in part to Honegger's Parisian influences in his three quartets, which have an eclectic edge - way more interestingly woven than all of Milhaud's stuff. He holds a kind of eclecticism, dissimilar from Martinu's rich imagination, or even Szymanowski's opulently rich textures of soundscapes.   Martinu had an incredibly rich verve in the world of imagination; he transposes this brilliantly in the short cycle of his 7 string quartets: Honegger is more focussed in the impressionistic energy of his 3.    It is fair to say that Martinu often uses a wavering line, undeciphered in a labyrinthine way, to weave the string quartet towards its closing movements: Honegger - has less room for ambiguity. 

Quote
I know I can ramble on, but trust me, I could go on about this music! No.3, to my surprise, was quite different. Though only written a year after No. 2 (1937),...whoop!, there's that year again!!!,... anyhow, all of the melodic appeal of No.2 is gone, and here we have a quasi Hindemithian sounding concentration (Hindemith in uber serious mode), but also Pijper really comes to mind here in the melodic/cellular-type curve appeal. It is a working out of motives SQ, as opposed to No.2's more overt lyricism. On the surface I didn't like No.3 immediately as much as No.2, but it's homogeny and concentration are more intellectually appealling.  No.3 is probably Honegger's greatest chamber work,... (thinking, thinking)... but I'd perhaps like to say the combination of the two, because they make such an excellently contrasted pair.

This is the nature of a string cycle although can we call 3 SQs a string quartet cycle?  The best string cycles, carry a development and innervation drawn from the very life spring of the composer's own being.  Honegger achieves this in SQ3, albeit imperfectly, compared to his Myaskovsky, Bartok, Shostakovich.  His language is eclectic, pushing beyond the conventional Group des Six, although his direction is unique in the Frenh field: Magnard and Franck (not really French of course) are compulsory Franco-Belgian quartets for reading, as much as Debussy/Ravel on the other hand, and a stream of enjoyable post-romantic efforts in between.

Quote
...but in the panoply of composers who wrote one SQ early, and then returned later, mature, and there are tons before 1919, this Honegger work must be considered very very highly, I think. I really don't want to compare to early Myaskovsky, eh, mmm, eh, but there is a certain sameness of serious purpose, oh those serious boys!
Quote

in the case of Myaskovsky (as with the 'S' composers from the Soviet -  Shostakovich, Salmanov, Schnittke and Shebalin)  - the string quartet form was an interior form of expression, of an intense psychological dimension unfettered from politics and state control or censor.   Myaskovsky and Shostakovich persisted to write 13 and 15 string quartets respectively; had Myaskovsky not died early from cancer, it is  likely he would have written more: his complete confidence in the 'interior form' of the string quartet, writing unbridled introspective music is really exemplary.  He isn't the balls out kind of bells and whistles composer.  Myaskovsky majors on the lyrical and pastoral intensity; Honegger's intensity in SQ 3 focusses on a more rhythmic and intellectual plane for me. 
 

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #88 on: October 15, 2010, 05:58:18 PM »
BUMP! :D
 
I've been revisiting some of Honegger's music lately. One of my favorite Honegger works is called Monopartita and it's an orchestral work. The only performance I own of this work is a David Zinman recording on Decca that is sadly out-of-print. Has anyone else heard this work? It some beautiful melodies and the harmony is very intriguing as is the orchestration.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #89 on: October 16, 2010, 03:31:49 PM »
I am not Honegger's greatest fan & therefore perhaps not the fairest judge of his music. The Monopartita is from 1951 and appears to be the last among his symphonic work. Sounds like a rather German-inspired neo-classicsim to me, somewhat reminiscent of Albert Roussel.

Regardless of what it sounds like or what the style is reminiscent of, it's still a fine work in my opinion.
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karlhenning

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #90 on: October 16, 2010, 03:41:19 PM »
Regardless of what it sounds like or what the style is reminiscent of, it's still a fine work in my opinion.

Right; unclear to me, too, what would be intrinsically objectionable to "German-inspired neo-classicism," or to a piece "somewhat reminiscent of Albert Roussel."

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #91 on: October 16, 2010, 03:44:58 PM »
Right; unclear to me, too, what would be intrinsically objectionable to "German-inspired neo-classicism," or to a piece "somewhat reminiscent of Albert Roussel."

Exactly, I'm not sure what Toucan's intentions were with those comments, but they fail to convey any kind of logic.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #92 on: October 16, 2010, 05:43:25 PM »
I fail to see why my lack of enthusiasm for this minor composer should have provoked a flaming; but I am beginning to see why Mirror Image should have gotten himself banned from talkclassical.com: it's his aggressive posting style.

And as far as the so-called composer, Karl Henning, is concerned, well, if he'd reign in his lynch mob mentality, perhaps activity on this site would pick up.

It is not because Honegger's composing style is German-inspired, neo-classical or neo-romantic that it does not enthuse me; it is because it does not enthuse me. Intelligent people sure wouldn't have taken exception to that as intelligent people understand tastes vary as individuals do.

(I am beginning to regret I pushed the Honegger Cello Concerto; perhaps I should have saved it for a more enlightened crowd)

You said it yourself "you're not the fairest judge of his music," so why throw vague descriptions around about his music if you don't have the listening experience that is required to make a logical judgment?
 
I'm not sure what my banning on another forum has to do with this argument, but quite frankly it's a cheap shot. Also, I think your attack on Karl was unjust. He has done nothing to you. If anything, you should apologize to him.
 
 
“Competitions are for horses, not artists.”


karlhenning

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #93 on: October 16, 2010, 05:44:33 PM »
Quote
(I am beginning to regret I pushed the Honegger Cello Concerto; perhaps I should have saved it for a more enlightened crowd)

Oh! How unworthy we are! LOL

karlhenning

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #94 on: October 16, 2010, 05:45:15 PM »
Psst: you want rein in, not reign in.  NCFTS.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #95 on: October 16, 2010, 06:33:13 PM »
My, my, my, there we go again, a failing composer and a banned reject from a competing site, compensating for their incapacity to discuss serious subjects seriously, with adolescent flamings and displays of second-ratedness.

Do you two bozos have informed opinion to share on Honegger?

Obviously not...

And yet the personal attacks continue...
 
I have many opinions regarding Honegger, but I'm just wondering how you can reach the conclusions you have about Honegger's music when you contradict your "serious opinion" with statements like "I'm not the fairest judge of his music"?
“Competitions are for horses, not artists.”


karlhenning

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #96 on: October 16, 2010, 06:44:49 PM »
Quote
My, my, my, there we go again, a failing composer and a banned reject from a competing site, compensating for their incapacity to discuss serious subjects seriously, with adolescent flamings and displays of second-ratedness.

Do you two bozos have informed opinion to share on Honegger?

Obviously not...

LOL

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #97 on: October 16, 2010, 06:53:28 PM »
Mirror Image is neither capable of formulating an opinion of his own than of tolerating the opinion of those who have kindly responded to his query concerning Honegger.  What a jerk...  ::)

You never responded to my question, which is why I continue to ask it. I suppose it takes a jerk to know a jerk.

So allow me, the jerk, to reiterate my question:

How can you reach the conclusions you have about Honegger's music when you contradict your "serious opinion" with statements like "I'm not the fairest judge of his music"?
« Last Edit: October 16, 2010, 06:59:16 PM by Mirror Image »
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snyprrr

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #98 on: October 16, 2010, 07:21:18 PM »
BUMP! :D
 
I've been revisiting some of Honegger's music lately. One of my favorite Honegger works is called Monopartita and it's an orchestral work. The only performance I own of this work is a David Zinman recording on Decca that is sadly out-of-print. Has anyone else heard this work? It some beautiful melodies and the harmony is very intriguing as is the orchestration.

The Monopartita, his last piece, relates to the Symphony No.5. The same post-war, shell shocked brass open both pieces.

I'm a Honegger Convert,... I find him uniquely,...mmm,..."tragic". Either way, I find many beautiful moments,... Symphony No.4, and my favorite of all, the slow mvmt. from the late Concerto de Camera. That ranks up there with Finzi and Pettersson for me, in the beautiful epiphany.

The Cello Concerto is languid indeed, and I especially have a weakness for the Concertino for piano and orchestra, a very beautiful Bugs Bunny does Mozart.

I give Honegger extra points for being "oh, such a serious young man" (in that doomed way), and his very brief Late Period. The accusations of him being a bitter pill have melted away for me, and I have grown to love his unique ruggedness,... well, manliness (and here the comparisons with Roussel hold true), coupled with a broken innocence (the bitter bits) that certainly mark the teacher of Pettersson.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #99 on: October 16, 2010, 07:27:01 PM »
The Monopartita, his last piece, relates to the Symphony No.5. The same post-war, shell shocked brass open both pieces.

I'm a Honegger Convert,... I find him uniquely,...mmm,..."tragic". Either way, I find many beautiful moments,... Symphony No.4, and my favorite of all, the slow mvmt. from the late Concerto de Camera. That ranks up there with Finzi and Pettersson for me, in the beautiful epiphany.

The Cello Concerto is languid indeed, and I especially have a weakness for the Concertino for piano and orchestra, a very beautiful Bugs Bunny does Mozart.

I give Honegger extra points for being "oh, such a serious young man" (in that doomed way), and his very brief Late Period. The accusations of him being a bitter pill have melted away for me, and I have grown to love his unique ruggedness,... well, manliness (and here the comparisons with Roussel hold true), coupled with a broken innocence (the bitter bits) that certainly mark the teacher of Pettersson.

Why do I have to give my opinion of Honegger when snyprr has written such a great post that sums up how I feel?
 
Honegger's music is indeed angry and tragic, but there is light at the end of the tunnel as the last movement from Symphony No. 2 suggests. I think his association with Les Six was a good thing for him at that time. It afforded him more exposure that he, otherwise, might not have received had he embarked on his own. Every member of that group were their own person, but I think their associations with each other were an important part of each of their artistic lives.
“Competitions are for horses, not artists.”