Arthur Honegger, classical music composer

Arthur Honegger image

Arthur Honegger

Biography

Rivaling Francis Poulenc as the most famous member of Les Six was Arthur Honegger. The least swayed by the group's reactionary aesthetics against Impressionism and Wagner, Honegger's compositional style was more cosmopolitan than French and his mature works betray an influence of German Romanticism.

Born to Swiss parents in Le Havre, France on March 10, 1892, Honegger showed an early interest in music. He became a proficient violinist at a young age, and displayed a talent for composition, composing his first work in 1903. During his teenage years, he enrolled in the Zurich Conservatory, studying violin and composition. However, after two years, he left for the prestigious Paris Conservatoire, where he studied with Widor, d'Indy, and Gédalge.

In 1916, Honegger's made his debut as a composer and his works began gaining attention. Further exposure came in the 1920s with his associations with fellow students Milhaud, Auric, and Tailleferre. With Poulenc and Durey, the young composers became known as Les Six. In these years between the two World Wars, Honegger composed prolifically, and several works became quite popular. Pacific 231, inspired by the sounds of a steam locomotive, was composed in 1923 and is his most well-known composition today. The dramatic psalm, Le roi David, was also successful and remains a fixture of the choral repertoire. Like his colleagues in Les Six, he also composed for film, including the epic 1927 film, Napoléon. In the 1930s, he made several concert tours with his wife, pianist Andrée Vaurabourg.

During World War II, Honegger taught at the École Normale de Musique and traveled frequently to Zurich. His work was largely unaffected by the Nazi occupation of France and he continued to compose with little interruption. Honegger composed his last work, A Christmas Cantata, in 1953. His health greatly deteriorated in his final years, which severely limited his ability to work. During his final year, his wife tended to her ailing husband, who died on November 27, 1955.


Composer Title Date Action
Arthur Honegger Sonata for Viola and Piano, H. 28 08/10/2012 Play Add to playlist
Arthur Honegger Le château du Bartas, from Saluste du Bartas 02/07/2013 Play Add to playlist
Arthur Honegger Tout le long de la Baïse, from Saluste du Bartas 02/07/2013 Play Add to playlist
Arthur Honegger Le depart, from Saluste du Bartas 02/07/2013 Play Add to playlist
Arthur Honegger La promenade, from Saluste du Bartas 02/07/2013 Play Add to playlist
Arthur Honegger Nérac en fête, from Saluste du Bartas 02/07/2013 Play Add to playlist
Arthur Honegger Duo, from Saluste du Bartas 02/07/2013 Play Add to playlist