Honegger: Une Cantate De Nol; Horace Victorieux

Honegger: Une Cantate De Nol; Horace Victorieux

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Although a cursory glance at the front cover might give the consumer the impression of being an album of Arthur Honegger's choral music, or even a Christmas album, it is neither: Hyperion's Une...More

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Although a cursory glance at the front cover might give the consumer the impression of being an album of Arthur Honegger's choral music, or even a Christmas album, it is neither: Hyperion's Une Cantate de Noël is a selection of Honegger's orchestral music performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales under Thierry Fischer. The chorus belonging to the BBC National Orchestra of Wales joins the orchestra in the title work, presented last, as does cellist Alban Gerhardt in Honegger's Cello Concerto (1929). However, this is a well-considered survey of Honegger's orchestral music without resorting to his oft-repeated Mouvements Symphoniques Pacific 231 and Rugby. The first work on the program, the mimed symphony Horace victorieux (1920-1921), was the very piece that first brought Honegger to international prominence, though it hasn't managed to get a foothold into the repertoire as his slightly earlier Pastorale d'été has; this Hyperion release is only the fourth recording ever made of it. Horace victorieux does get off to a slow start, with Honegger roaming through a thicket of post-Straussian gestures trying to get his game on, but the excitement definitely picks up with the battle scene and carries the work forward. The Cello Concerto was composed for Maurice Maréchal, who recorded part of it with Honegger and the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra in 1943; here, Maréchal's cadenza is used. The Prélude, Fugue and Postlude (1948) were originally three cues from the ballet Amphion (1929), which Honegger arranged as stand-alone pieces after the war; this is quintessential Honegger, interfacing his unique harmonic blend with some vestige of neo-classical texture and a very rare work on recordings, recorded only twice before. Une Cantate de Noël (1952-1953) is quite literally the last thing Honegger put his pen to before illness deprived him of the ability to work on anything; it doesn't feel particularly Christmas-y but it is a deeply moving cantata completely characteristic of its composer.These are dedicated and professional performances; the recording is a bit quiet, but represents Honegger's preference for large instrumental bodies well, one only need turn it up a notch. For the newcomer to Honegger, the lack of his hits may prove a bit off-putting, but this is a valuable disc for those who know a little Honegger already and are looking for the second phase of exposure. During his lifetime, Honegger was reckoned as one of the greats, but just after he died, his reputation took a nosedive. That interest in his work is germinating among twenty first century audiences is an exciting development, as -- no matter how you cut the deck -- there was no other Arthur Honegger. ~ Uncle Dave Lewis , Rovi

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GenreClassical
Release Date2008-11-11

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