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  • Honegger: Summer Pastoral / Symphony No. 4 / Christmas Cantata
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Honegger: Summer Pastoral / Symphony No. 4 / Christmas Cantata

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Audio CD, November 15, 2011
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Pastorale d'eteLondon Philharmonic Orchestra 7:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Symphony No. 4, "Deliciae basiliensis": I. Lento e misterioso - AllegroLondon Philharmonic Orchestra10:51Album Only
listen  3. Symphony No. 4, "Deliciae basiliensis": II. LarghettoLondon Philharmonic Orchestra 5:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Symphony No. 4, "Deliciae basiliensis": III. Allegro - Adagio - Tempo I - Adagio - AllegroLondon Philharmonic Orchestra 8:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Une cantate de Noel: De profundis clamaviChristopher Maltman 8:43Album Only
listen  6. Une cantate de Noel: Ne craignez pointChristopher Maltman 7:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Une cantate de Noel: Laudate Dominum omnes gentesChristopher Maltman 6:12$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Performer: New London Children's Choir
  • Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir
  • Conductor: Vladimir Jurowski
  • Composer: Arthur Honegger
  • Audio CD (November 15, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: LPO
  • ASIN: B005OZDXY6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,751 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 13 customer reviews
Like Munch, Jurowski adopts a brisk Allegro and sticks to it.
Sound engineering is quite good, with the children's choir, adult choir, organ and full orchestra of the Oratorio well balanced.
R. Gregory Capaldini
Conductor Vladimir Jurowski exhibits sure command of this material, and clearly has a deep affinity for Honegger's music.
Digital Chips

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dean Frey on December 13, 2011
Format: Audio CD
This new disc fom the LPO illustrates Honegger's journey from his modernist period as a member of Les Six in 1920s Paris to his less ironic and more expressive maturity in the 1940s and 50s. The earliest work on the disc, the 1920 Pastorale d'Ete, is a sometimes jaunty and jazzy trip into the countryside. It has a pastoral feel, but it's often slightly off-centre. This is a fascinating, and for me immensely appealing, seven minutes of music.

Honegger, like Villa-Lobos who took a similar journey during the same years, was swimming upstream in the post-WWII period. His 4th Symphony was designed to be just the opposite of the fashionable music of the day: accessible and expressive. In 1946 Honegger wanted to give his audience, and perhaps himself, some relief from the austerities of the post-war world. This music might have seemed old-fashioned and even banal at the time, but I appreciate its directness and simplicity.

Honegger's final composition is the 1953 Christmas Cantata, which was written during his final illness. The first movement is very dark - sombre seems too light a word for the oppressive mood Honegger creates. But of course darkness is part of many Christmas stories, from the Massacre of the Innocents to the depressing first draft of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. When Honegger lets the light in, the effect is magical. This is deeply spiritual music, well-crafted and very moving.

So much credit for this excellent disc goes to the conductor Vladimir Jurowski. As he explains at the LPO website, he believes that Honegger deserves a much higher reputation than his present quite modest ranking. Jurowski seems to have communicated this passion to the musicians who performed at the Royal Festival and Queen Elizabeth Hall concerts recorded for this CD. And he's convinced me!
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Format: Audio CD
Big Names. At least, they have the merit, when they tackle unusual repertoire, of attracting to the neglected composer and work a whole new segment of the public, who wouldn't have bothered with interpreters more associated with them but less glamorous and popular. It happened with Karajan when he started recording Mahler in 1973 and introduced to the beauties of the Adagietto European audiences for whom Bernstein was Broadway defaming High Art and Solti could be countenanced only in Wagner's Ring. And judging from the number of reviews posted under Karajan's 1969 recording of Honegger's Second and Third Symphony (and the scarcity of reviews under the classic recordings of Munch, Ansermet, Mravinsky or Baudo, and all the more recent ones of Plason, Dutoit, Järvi, Jansons, Yuasa - the list is not limitative), it happens still with the French/Swiss composer (Honegger: Symphony No. 2 for String Orchestra and Trumpet; Symphony No. 3 "Liturgique" / Stravinsky: Concerto in D for String Orchestra). And it seems to have happened again with Honegger and Jurowski. It is permissible to consider that the many reviews that this entry has benefited were occasioned more by the conductor's rising aura than by a particular interest for the composer and the works here recorded - as witnessed, again, by the paucity of reviews published under the competing recordings.

The risk, of course, is that, tackling a repertoire totally unfamiliar even to him, the Big Name will have no idea of the style, give a badly distorted view of the work(s) and lead his new audience astray - some leveled the criticism at Karajan's Mahler (I don't agree). It can be either a case of "you like it?
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 15, 2011
Format: Audio CD
This CD suggests an attempt at rehabilitation. Although Swiss by parentage, Honegger was born in France and holds his place there as a member of Les Six, while elsewhere he is mostly forgotten. His two dramatic oratorios, King Davd and Joan of Arc at the Stake, still had currency when I was young; they manage to be religious, popsy, and lurid all at once. Two fellow members of Les Six, Poulenc and Milhaud, Honegger's modernism wasn't shy of popular culture, and the last toehold he has in the standard repertoire is probably Pacific 231, which depicts a modern locomotive; Honegger had another tone poem dedicated to rugby.

To bring him closer to English tastes, Vladimir Jurowski has cannily chosen diffuse, easy-listen pastoral music that will remind English audiences of familiar sounds from Delius and that ilk. French modernism tended toward the breezy as well, another kind of easy-listen sound to be found in the nostalgic Sym. #4. Unless you were a real Honegger devotee, it would be hard not to believe that these works aren't generically like Roussel, Ibert, or Jolivet. So it's surprising to go to the London Phil's website and listen to a clip of Jurowski placing Honegger on much the same level as Stravinsky; his defense is eloquent but seems misplaced to me.

The postwar era and the threat of the Bomb turned the composer somber, and in addition he knew he was dying when he composed the grave, soul-searching Cantate de Noel in 1953, surely the most cheerless Christmas music I can imagine (it begins in the bowels of the orchestra with a De prfundis). We aren't gamboling in pastures here; the composer draws out some searing, harmonically jagged passages of souls pleading for release from suffering.
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