Note on Recordings
By agreement between the author and Librairie Arthème Fayard, publisher of the original French edition of this volume, in order to ensure that this book would conform with the other books in the same series, it was decided to not provide a discography. It is no doubt true that nothing becomes dated quite as quickly as a discography, and this is particularly so in the case Honegger, especially since the arrival of the compact disc. Recently there has been a heartening increase in the number of published recordings of his music -- clearly a sign that his reputation is healthy, given that recording companies generally bring out music they expect to be able to sell.
Honegger's discography has always been large -- some works, like Pacific 2.3.1 and the Symphony for Strings, have even been recorded more than twenty times in all -- but it became much sparser during the "barren" years of the 1960 and 1970s, and many older recordings have indeed never been reissued. The large number of new recordings has only partially compensated for these gaps, and some large Honegger works that used to be available are not so any longer. Others have never had the honor of being recorded. It is to be hoped that such gaps will soon be filled.
Meanwhile, most of Honegger's major works are well represented in the catalogs. His chamber music is there complete, and his best-known oratorios, his symphonies, and his other large pieces of orchestral music are, with rare exceptions, even available in several excellent versions. Recent interpretations aside, important classic versions by artists such as Charles Miinch, Ernest Ansermet, and Herbert von Karajan have sensibly been brought out on compact disc, with an improvement in quality that is sometimes startling.
The same has been done with some of the all-too-few recordings of the composer conducting his own music. These recordings are revelations in terms of the quite amazing energy they display, and it is to be hoped that we shall soon have access to everything that survives in this field. This hope applies equally to the rare recordings of Claire Croiza's exceptional voice, both as singer and actress. They are a lesson in vocal technique, in diction, in beauty, in nobility, and in emotion. Then there is the long conversation between Honegger, Paul Claudel, and Bernard Gavoty on Jeanne d'Arc am bûcher. This is a fabulous document (what beautiful French they all speak!) and it should be reissued. There are other recordings of the same kind, which should also be brought out.