Arthur Honegger

By Harry Halbreich; Roger Nichols | Go to book overview
Save to active project

FIFTEEN

Honegger's Physique and Character

Apart from his outstanding musical gifts, Honegger was also blessed by Nature with physical beauty and charm, not to mention a robust constitution (at least until the catastrophe of summer 1947). Countless private and public photographs attest to these physical attributes, taking us on a journey from the chubby little boy in Le Havre to the tragic figure of his last years. He was not tall, only about five feet six inches, but he was vigorous and well-proportioned, with a rather thick neck, broad shoulders, and a powerful torso.

This "sporty" outline gradually spread with age to a certain portliness that was encouraged by an active appetite. The well-known riposte, recorded by Arthur Hoérée, made to a friend who was shocked at the manner in which Honegger was putting away chocolate cake -- "Don't worry, with me it all gets turned into music!" -- was unfortunately not entirely true. Certainly Juliette Pary's description (in her memoirs L'Amour des camarades) of Honegger's "three ample chins" in 1936 or 1937 is distinctly exaggerated, as the photographs show, but a family snapshot taken a little later, at the Thévenet's in Montquin, does reveal "spare tires" that are somewhat short of athletic. They made a healthy departure during the war and the Occupation, only to return with a vengeance in peacetime and would have an undoubted part to play in his first heart attack. As we know, even this event had no immediate effect on his silhouette, since he was determined, in the face of common sense, to return to his earlier frantic pace of living, and it is only in the photographs of the last three or four years of his life that we see the haggard body of someone seriously ill.

The photographs of him as a baby, especially the one showing him prophetically clutching a locomotive, show a singularly determined mouth under the dark gaze and darker curls. At nineteen, Turly the student has a rebellious quiff, or tuft of hair, over his left eye, which is colder and more analytical than its dreamier counterpart. The nose is well-formed, a little long perhaps (it would curve down as the years went by), and his expression is one of concentrated energy with a touch of stiffness, no doubt a result of his shyness and emphasized by his floppy bow tie.

In the photographs of the following years, however, this adolescent "skinny cat" look would gradually change as the curve of the face became fuller and more pronounced, and his expression becomes dreamy and gentle, if slightly clouded, with a hint of sensuality. We see him at Méziéres with the two Morax

-567-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Arthur Honegger
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 677

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?