Author Topic: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)  (Read 68988 times)

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Offline The new erato

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #40 on: April 07, 2008, 09:44:18 PM »
I haven't even heard of  it!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #41 on: April 07, 2008, 11:08:28 PM »
Honegger's book "I am a Composer" is also a good read.
"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).

gomro

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #42 on: April 08, 2008, 02:25:43 AM »
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.

That's the one. I got it from the local library because I was on a Milhaud kick; it remains one of the best contemporary discs I ever ran across. Best Pacific 231 I ever heard was conducted by Ansermet, on a London disc from the 1960s. Also had Ravel (La Valse and Bolero, natch) and Dukas' Sorcerer's Apprentice.

BTW, Naxos has released a disc of music by a composer named Gregory Hutter that might interest anyone that likes "train music"; Hutter's piece Electric Traction sounds like Pacific 231 by way of Michael Nyman. Interesting stuff, though Honegger was there first and better. 

Offline Daverz

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #43 on: April 08, 2008, 05:18:29 AM »
I'll put in a vote for Honegger's Symphony No. 1.   This work is in his earlier "Les Six" style, and should delight anyone who likes that era in French music.  I don't know why it isn't recorded more often.  I have a recording by Rozhdestvensky on Olympia/Melodiya.

Also the Cello Concerto is a lovely work.  There's a good recording by Rostropovich on Erato.

And the Piano Concertino.  This one reminds me of Ravel's Left Hand Concerto.

Rugby is great.  The Bernstein recording is fantastic.

As for the choral/vocal works, I did not like Le Roi David, so I haven't explored further.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2008, 05:24:37 AM by Daverz »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #44 on: April 08, 2008, 12:36:57 PM »
You could try Joan of Arc or the late Christmas Cantata, both very moving choral works, superior I think to King David.
"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).

Hector

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #45 on: April 09, 2008, 02:57:28 AM »
You could try Joan of Arc or the late Christmas Cantata, both very moving choral works, superior I think to King David.

The Cantate de Noel is brilliant. Such a refreshing change from the usual Xmas musak!

The dark opening leading into the light is a particularly pleasing feature.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #46 on: April 09, 2008, 03:31:25 AM »
The Cantate de Noel is brilliant. Such a refreshing change from the usual Xmas musak!

The dark opening leading into the light is a particularly pleasing feature.

Yes, I agree. Honegger was very ill in hospital when he wrote it. I think that it was his last work, which makes it all the more moving. Miaskovsky's beautiful, valedictory 27th Symphony was written in similar circumstances.
"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).

pjme

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #47 on: April 09, 2008, 08:52:20 AM »
I can imagine that the particular aesthetics of French (Belgian,Dutch...) oratorios ( ca 1920-1950) isn't everybody's cup of tea. The use of a narrator, the use of biblical/religious themes or historical feats, a tendency towards the grandiose...can make these works pompous or bothersom. Honegger's Roi David and Jeanne au bûcher are still popular - as concert works, often semi-staged.



The first  performances of Le roi David were semi- professional and looked more like a cheap Cecil B.De Mille spoof...( I must have some photo's somewhere). The 1903 Théâtre du Jorat ( Mézières,near Lausanne) was a fairly simple,wooden construction - locals gave it the name "little Bayreuth".Today it is a modern theatre with awide range of productions.

From the Hong Kong Bach choir : http://www.bachchoir.org.hk

Honegger was, like his German near-contemporary Paul Hindemith, a thoroughgoing professional, and Morax's deadline held no great fears for him. He completed the music in little more than two months and, a conservatory-trained conductor, led the initial run of performances himself. Among the compositional challenges he had to confront was the limitation presented by the available forces: the local area possessed a few capable wind players and pianists, but no violinists of real ability, yet the choir – composed of enthusiastic local amateur singers – numbered about a hundred. The orchestra would only comprise seventeen musicians, with a single double-bass to represent the strings. Honegger consulted Stravinsky, who replied, “It's very simple… Go ahead as if you had chosen this ensemble, and write for a hundred singers and seventeen instrumentalists.” Honegger always regarded this advice (to treat given conditions not as something imposed but as an inner necessity) as one of the most important composition lessons he ever received.

Le Roi David , with its hints of jazz as well as Bach and with earthy revelry as well as solemn pageantry, was an immediate hit in its first stage production. However, designed for a specific, uncommon setting, its potential for an extended life might have seemed limited. Two years later Honegger re-structured it as an oratorio, with full orchestra and with narration instead of staged action.

Oratorio, of course, was not a new idea in 1923, but its home was Anglo-German and not French. The model had been created by George Frideric Handel in the mid-eighteenth century out of necessity, when his Italian operas lost popularity to the new genre of vernacular ballad opera. While the typical opera scenarios drawn from Classical literature were favored by the aristocracy, which patronized opera and was familiar with the characters and situations, Bible stories have always been loved by the people; for many, these stories were their closest approach to literature, the Bible often being the only book in the home. While Handel and his successors such as Mendelssohn didn't draw on the traditions and motifs of the Passion Play, the stories themselves made their works approachable despite the often sophisticated music. 


Peter
« Last Edit: April 09, 2008, 09:49:55 AM by pjme »

pjme

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #48 on: April 09, 2008, 09:35:21 AM »
Here's an early photograph of "Le roi David"


Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #49 on: April 09, 2008, 09:36:20 AM »
Very interesting, Peter! Thanks! All this is whetting my appetite...
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 #50 on: April 09, 2008, 09:48:07 AM »


I think this is the second only original version of Le roi David . ( small orchestra). Michel Corboz recorded it also for Erato.

A very good recording of the full orchestra version can be found on Supraphon ,Serge Baudo conducting.

Offline The new erato

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #51 on: May 17, 2008, 07:40:15 AM »
I'm just listening to Munch/BSO in Honeggers symphony nr 5 (1952).

Not my favorite Honegger symphony, but this is probably the best recording of a Honegger symphony I've heard!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #52 on: May 17, 2008, 09:50:32 PM »
I'm just listening to Munch/BSO in Honeggers symphony nr 5 (1952).

Not my favorite Honegger symphony, but this is probably the best recording of a Honegger symphony I've heard!


It's the classic recording. Bado on Supraphon, Jarvi on Chandos and Markevitch on DGG are also outstanding in this score. I rate  Symphony No 5 highly, although I think that No 3 "Liturgique" and Joan of Arc are his greatest scores. I also really like the film score to L'Idee.
"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 #53 on: October 11, 2008, 12:49:22 AM »
I was sure that we had a Honegger thread, but evidently not (maybe it was on the old forum). Anyway, I wanted to draw attention to an interesting new Naxos release (from Marco Polo) of Honegger's film music. I mentioned this on the film music thread but thought it worth a mention on the, non-existent, Honegger thread. So, maybe this would be an opportunity to start a discussion about this rather unfashionable (but great in my view) composer. My favourite works are the Liturgique Symphony (one of the great 20th Century symphonies I think), which seems, in spirit, close to Vaughan Williams's 6th Symphony, although the beautiful bird-song Epilogue to Honegger's work is more consolatory than is the case with the Vaughan Williams work.

Other favourites are symphonies 2,4 and 5, the Oratorio Jean d'Arc, the late Christmas Cantata and the beautiful Pastorale d'ete.

On the new release, L'Idee is a very haunting, animated film score.

"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 The new erato

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #54 on: October 11, 2008, 01:51:19 AM »
My favourite works are the Liturgique Symphony (one of the great 20th Century symphonies I think), which seems, in spirit, close to Vaughan Williams's 6th Symphony, although the beautiful bird-song Epilogue to Honegger's work is more consolatory than is the case with the Vaughan Williams work.

I totally agree in your assesment of this symphony, and your likening of this to the V-W 6th is very perceptive even if I'd never thought of it before.

I have noticed that the Christmas Cantata, which I've never heard, is available on a brand new Hyperion release. I will have to buy that, as well as the 4CD Chamber Music set on Timpani, currenly discounted on mdt. It has been on my wish list far too long. I have a Supraphon LP of the 2nd string quartet which I remember liking a lot, but since my LP player is disconnected I haven't heard it for years.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #55 on: October 11, 2008, 04:11:36 AM »
I totally agree in your assesment of this symphony, and your likening of this to the V-W 6th is very perceptive even if I'd never thought of it before.

I have noticed that the Christmas Cantata, which I've never heard, is available on a brand new Hyperion release. I will have to buy that, as well as the 4CD Chamber Music set on Timpani, currenly discounted on mdt. It has been on my wish list far too long. I have a Supraphon LP of the 2nd string quartet which I remember liking a lot, but since my LP player is disconnected I haven't heard it for years.

Thank you. I need to investigate the chamber music and will also look out for the new Hyperion disc. 'L'Idee' on the new Naxos CD is well worth exploring. I have a great old recording of Honegger conducting the Liturgique 'Honegger conducts Honegger' on the Music and Arts label. It is a scratchy old recording but this 1949 version won a 'Grand Prix du Disque' and, much as I admire recordings by Jansons and Karajan, this version with Honegger speaking the superscriptions between the movements is, in many respects, the most deeply felt of all. Some of the couplings on the CD (Pastorale d'ete, The Tempest Prelude etc) are available on a super-budget Dutton CD, but sadly not the symphony.
"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 #56 on: October 11, 2008, 04:20:45 AM »
Here is your earlier Honegger thread, Jeffrey...

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,3180.0.html
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #57 on: October 11, 2008, 07:40:36 AM »
Here is your earlier Honegger thread, Jeffrey...

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,3180.0.html

Well, perhaps one of our mods can combine these two threads - just reviewed the older one which has plenty of good information, already on this composer!

A set mentioned in the previous thread and which I own is the 2-CD one on Apex - just $7 on Amazon; but the other day, the single disc below (right) on BIS arrived in my mailbox! Cello Concerto & other Cello Chamber Works w/ Christian Poltera on cello, other soloists, and the Malmo SO - received a great review in the May-June issue of Fanfare & superb comments on ClassicsToday (reprinted on the ArkivMusic site); I've listened to this recording just once in the basement while excercising, so need to give the disc a better hearing in the den & w/ my fuller attention!  :D

 

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #58 on: October 11, 2008, 07:51:22 AM »
Here is your earlier Honegger thread, Jeffrey...

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,3180.0.html

Oops...thanks Johan. I was sure that there was one but it didn't appear when I did a search under his name. Hohum, never mind.
"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).

Kullervo

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Re: Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
« Reply #59 on: October 11, 2008, 08:20:26 AM »
I was sure that we had a Honegger thread, but evidently not (maybe it was on the old forum). Anyway, I wanted to draw attention to an interesting new Naxos release (from Marco Polo) of Honegger's film music. I mentioned this on the film music thread but thought it worth a mention on the, non-existent, Honegger thread. So, maybe this would be an opportunity to start a discussion about this rather unfashionable (but great in my view) composer. My favourite works are the Liturgique Symphony (one of the great 20th Century symphonies I think), which seems, in spirit, close to Vaughan Williams's 6th Symphony, although the beautiful bird-song Epilogue to Honegger's work is more consolatory than is the case with the Vaughan Williams work.

Other favourites are symphonies 2,4 and 5, the Oratorio Jean d'Arc, the late Christmas Cantata and the beautiful Pastorale d'ete.

On the new release, L'Idee is a very haunting, animated film score.



Ah! I had just downloaded this on a p2p network because it was out of print, now I can buy the real thing. :D