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Arthur Honegger


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Arthur Honegger (March 10, 1892 – November 27, 1955) was a Swiss composer, who was born in France and lived a large part of his life in Paris. He was a member of Les Six. His most frequently performed work is probably the orchestral work Pacific 231, which imitates the sound of a steam locomotive.


Born Oscar-Arthur Honegger (the first name was never used) in Le Havre, France, he initially studied harmony and violin in Paris, and after a brief period in Zurich, returned there to study with Charles Widor and Vincent d’Indy. He continued to study through the 1910s, before writing the ballet Le dit des jeux du monde in 1918, generally considered to be his first characteristic work. In 1926 he married Andrée Vaurabourg, a pianist and fellow student at the Paris Conservatoire. They had one daughter, Pascale, born in 1932. Honegger also had a son, Jean-Claude (1926-2003), with the singer Claire Croiza.

Between World War I and World War II, Honegger was very prolific. He composed the music for Abel Gance’s epic 1927 film, Napoléon. He composed nine ballets and three vocal stage works, amongst other works. One of those stage works, Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher (1935), a “dramatic oratorio”, is thought of as one of his finest works. In addition to his works written alone, he collaborated with Jacques Ibert on both an opera, L’Aiglon (1937), and an operetta. During this time period he also wrote Danse de la Chèvre (1921), an essential piece of flute repertoire. Dedicated to René Le Roy and written for flute alone, this piece is lively and young, but with the same directness of all Honegger’s work.


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  • SkylineFugitive

    I really like his third symphony. Also, isn't he supposed to be more famous? I was expecting at least 20 thousand listeners.

    8 Nov 2013 Reply
  • progtrance7

    i heard this dude from babbitt's video

    17 Jul 2012 Reply
  • mattmacneil

    i really like his stuff from 'dada et la musique'

    12 Jul 2012 Reply
  • ACS360

    Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher is awesome.

    3 Feb 2011 Reply
  • SSBMeta

    I love his symphonic works, even though he wrote relatively few of them. I would love to see a live performance of Pacific 231, or any of his symphonies, really. His cello concerto is also fantastic.

    2 Dec 2010 Reply
  • rm508

    Also, antisemitism in these shoutboxes shouldn't be tolerated.

    17 Oct 2010 Reply
  • rm508

    Clearly a fan of neoclassical Stravinsky:

    17 Oct 2010 Reply
  • rm508

    Yes: nifty, quite serious little quartets.

    17 Oct 2010 Reply
  • lelusio

    L'idée ! <3 [2]

    17 Jun 2010 Reply
  • LuigiNono

    L'idée ! <3

    27 Mar 2010 Reply
  • SecretsSet-up

    second symphony is astounding.

    26 Nov 2009 Reply
  • KraeheK

    The quartets are nifty.

    8 Apr 2009 Reply
  • Artran

    He is supposed to be classic. But unfortunately not among listeners. Nevertheless, I like him very much. His cantatas, symphonies and chamber music is joy to listen.

    30 Mar 2009 Reply
  • donaldstrange

    Let it not surprise you. this composer is far more widely loved (and even liked) than you all might imagine

    16 Mar 2009 Reply
  • Artran

    I don't fully understant why this great composer has so few listeners...? His Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher is breathtaking.

    29 Sep 2008 Reply
  • phillip360

    Hello, you are warmly invited to join and expand the 'pataphysics group.

    17 Sep 2008 Reply
  • tz0d

    Hey Chriswildman, Here's a reason: Because honegger is timeless and honest. I suppose arthur isn't quite jewish enough to gain the praise of the american classical community, you twit.

    21 Apr 2008 Reply
  • Chriswildman

    any good reason for bothering to explore this guy's music?

    19 Dec 2007 Reply

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