|ORCHESTRA : Choral Symphony; Cotswolds Symphony; Indra; Oriental Suite; The Planets; Fugal Overture; St. Paul's Suite (for chamber orchestra).|
|OPERA : Savitri; Perfect Fool; At the Boar's Head.|
|CHAMBER MUSIC : Quintet for Piano and Wind; Fugal Concerto for Flute, Oboe and Strings.|
|CHORAL : Ode to Death; Evening Watch; The Mystic Trumpeter; Two Psalms; Hymns from Rig-Veda.|
|Holbrooke, Josef. Contemporary Brititsh Composers.|
|Chesterian, n. s. 8:225 June 1920; Music and Letters 1:181 July 1920.|
|COLUMBIA : The Planets.|
|GRAMOPHONE : Psalm no. 86.|
|VICTOR : The Perfect Fool: "Dance of the Spirits of the Earth."|
"He is one of those on whom we may rely to keep the traditions of absolute music alive . . . of music that needs for its full expression nothing but the guidance of his inspiration and his patiently acquired and unfailing craftsmanship."-- DARIUS MILHAUD
ARTHUR HONEGGER, one of the principal members of the once- potent "French-six"1 and one of the outstanding modernists of present-day musical France, was born in Havre, on March 10, 1892 of Swiss parentage. His life has not been very eventful, being merely a record of his musical growth and maturity. His first musical studies were with the violin, which taught him the backbone of chamber music--information which he utilized to such great advantage in later life. After studying at the Conservatory of Zurich, he returned to France in 1912 to complete his studies at the Paris Con
servatory under Gédalge, Widor and Vincent D'Indy. After leaving the Conservatory Honegger worked industriously for several years in order to master the technique of composition, assiduously studying the scores of Richard Strauss, Max Reger, Schönberg and Stravinsky. It is primarily due to this fact--namely that Honegger sub jected himself to rigorous technical study before attempting serious composition-- that all of his works, even the early ones, are marked by an extraordinary craftsmanship in which there is no fumbling or lack of sureness.
His early works, produced under the influence of the "French-six," are hardly indicative of the enormous originality of Honegger's later musical speech. The Sonata for Violin and Piano ( 1916) and the String Quartet ( 1917) are stilted, deficient in imagination, altho enormously competent in their technique. Not until 1921 did Honegger's style reach its ultimate perfection. Horace Victorieux, which came in that year--the first of Honegger's important works--"marks," as Roland-Manuel tells us, "the complete emancipation of Honegger's talent. With this athletic symphony, our musician becomes plainly conscious of his power." This power became especially manifest in the works that followed: Le Roi David, Pacific 231 and Judith. With these works, Honegger's stature in modern French music became imposing; and he became recognized as one of the most vigorous voices in the choir of modern composers.
"There are many sides to Honegger as an artist; but the best of his many aspects is his lyrical one--sometimes instinct with joy and praise, sometimes touched with a melancholy that expresses itself in songs of winged sweetness," according to Guido Pannain. "The vivid score of Le Roi David is steeped in the poignancy of a racial, a national heart- cry. The same motive kindles the frenzied vocalism of Judith. Honegger in this mood is a poet of the human voice raised in song, the magician who calls forth ancient modes from the chasm of tradition. In the two operas named above he has found in the reli____________________