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Honegger was born in Le Havre, but he was Swiss by parentage and nationality and began his studies at the Zurich Conservatoire. He undertook further study in Paris, however, and spent much of the rest of his life living in Montmartre, becoming closely identified with developments in French music between the Wars. He was one of the circle of young composers who clustered round the venerably eccentric figure of Erik Satie, and before long he was identified—along with his friend Milhaud and Poulenc, Auric, Tailleferre and Durey—as a member of ‘Les Six’, the notorious group of iconoclastic bright young things of 1920s musical Paris.
Under the guidance of Satie and Cocteau, Les Six are best remembered for an output of flippantly satirical ‘entertainment music’ and the cultivation of a ‘Franco-American’ jazz style; but the weightier creative personalities among them soon began to go their separate ways, and Honegger (arguably the least flippant of them all) did so earliest, with works of such clearly serious import as the ‘mimed symphony’ Horace victorieux and the dramatic oratorio King David, both premiered in 1921. Honegger was much concerned with the union of music with the other arts, and made significant contributions to stage, radio and cinema (including the original score to Abel Gance’s film Napoléon). He had a son by the singer Claire Croiza, but in 1927 married the pianist Andrée Vaurabourg, and they toured widely in Europe and the USA. During World War II he remained in Paris; in 1947 he taught in the USA at Tanglewood, Massachusetts, where he suffered a heart attack that left him an invalid for the remainder of his life.
Much of Honegger’s œuvre has retreated into obscurity since his death in 1955. However, even his most ‘notorious’ works, for instance the symphonic movements Pacific 231 (1923) and Rugby (1928), manifested a serious symphonic intent behind their surface effects of orchestral onomatopoeia, and it was in fact in the forms of symphony, oratorio and chamber music that he achieved his most lasting successes.
from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2008
|Honegger: Une Cantate de Noël, Cello Concerto & other orchestral works|
Honegger’s Une Cantate de Noël is a Christmas number with a difference. It is his last work and one of his most popular compositions. A notable feature is the intertwining of traditional carols in French and German: perhaps symbolizing peace a ...» More
|A Matthay Miscellany – Rare and unissued recordings by Tobias Matthay and his pupils|
This final volume of 'The Matthay Pupils' presents most of his remaining students who left recordings, as well as the few discs Matthay himself made. Of particular interest is a selection from the almost unknown AFMC label which was affiliated to ...» More
|Hommage à Chopin|
2010 sees the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth, and among the many celebratory recordings, this disc will stand out as an historic record of the composer’s extraordinary influence and legacy. A fascinating selection of hommages are represented ...» More
'This generously-filled disc will afford many, many quarts d'heure of pleasure' (Gramophone)» More
|L'Album des Six|
Emily Beynon’s captivating performance of Poulenc’s popular and melodic Flute Sonata forms the centrepiece of works by the radical early 20th-century group of composers known as ‘Les Six’, in this acclaimed collection of their complete music for f ...» More
|Chanson de folStephen Varcoe (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano)» More|
|Concertino for piano and orchestraEunice Norton (piano), Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy (conductor)» More|
|Danse de la chèvreEmily Beynon (flute)» More|
|Horace victorieuxBBC National Orchestra of Wales, Thierry Fischer (conductor)» More|
|Prélude, Fugue et PostludeBBC National Orchestra of Wales, Thierry Fischer (conductor)» More|
|RomanceEmily Beynon (flute), Andrew West (piano)» More|
|SarabandeAndrew West (piano)» More|
|Souvenir de ChopinJonathan Plowright (piano)» More|
|Une Cantate de NoëlBBC National Orchestra of Wales, Thierry Fischer (conductor)» More|
|Cello Concerto (Honegger)|
|Cello Concerto (Honegger/Maréchal)|
|Chanson de fol (Honegger)|
|Concertino for piano and orchestra (Honegger)|
|Danse de la chèvre (Honegger)|
|De profundis clamavi|
|Horace victorieux (Honegger)|
|Joie et Paix sur Toi Israël!|
|Les sorciers et les fées dansent sur le côteau|
|Prélude, Fugue et Postlude (Honegger)|
|Souvenir de Chopin (Honegger)|
|Une Cantate de Noël (Honegger)|