Magazine article Gramophone

Honegger: Symphonies-No 2

Magazine article Gramophone

Honegger: Symphonies-No 2

Article excerpt

Honegger

Symphonies--No 2; No 4, 'Deliciae basiliensis'

Basle Symphony Orchestra / Dennis Russell Davies

Solo Musica [F] SOB05 (57' * DDD)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

These two fine Honegger symphonies make for an invigorating coupling, the gritty and muscular Second for strings and trumpet from 1940-41 (composed in Nazi-occupied Paris) forming a bold contrast with the altogether more sanguine, luminously scored Fourth from 1946. The latter bears the subtitle Deliciae basiliensis in heartfelt tribute to the city that provided its Swiss creator with wartime sanctuary.

Honegger's great friend and tireless champion Charles Munch was the dedicatee of the Second Symphony, and the second of his five recordings, with the Boston SO from March 1953, evinces a hair-raising intensity not equalled by Munch's 1968 swansong with the Orchestre de Paris (EMI, 12/69). Karajan's famous DG recording remains one of the highlights of his vast discography and I also have a lot of time for Ansermet, Baudo, Jansons and Zinman with the OSR, Czech PO, Oslo PO and Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich on Australian Eloquence, Supraphon, EMI and Decca respectively. …

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