Oscar Arthur Honegger (Le Havre10 March 1892 - Paris27 november 1955) was a Swiss composer. He remained all his life Swiss citizen, although he sometimes more associated with France. He was a member of the Groupe des Six and wrote around 200 pieces, of which Pacific 231 (1923) is probably the most performed. In this work the Orchestra imitates the sound of a steam locomotive.


[hide]*1 early life

Life Course[Edit]Edit

Arthur Honegger was born in Le Havre from Swiss parents. His father was an importer of tea there. He learned to play violin and began to compose at an early age. In1909 he went violin and music theory study at the Conservatory of Zurich. In 1911 he returned to France to his studies in Paris at the famous Paris Conservatoire to prosecute at among others Charles-Marie Widor and Vincent d'Indy. He completed his studies In 1918 and he wrote the ballet Le dit des jeux du monde, which is considered his first characteristic work. On his twenty-eighth he became world famous with the oratorio Le Roi David .

In the interwar period was Honegger very productive: he wrote among other things nine ballets and three opera's. the opera Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher (1935) is considered one of his best works.

Honegger has always kept in touch with Switzerland, but when the Second World War broke out and the Nazi's invaded France, he could not leave Paris. He continued his work, but it is assumed that he became very depressed by the war. Yet he wrote between 1940 and his death some symphonies (numbers 2 to 5), which is still pretty much run.

Arthur Honegger died of a heart attack on 27 november 1955 and was interred in the Cimetière Saint-Vincent in the Montmartre district of Paris.

Although a Honegger was a member of the "Groupe des Six", his playfulness and simplicity characteristic for this group. In addition, resisted Honegger itself-in contrast to the other members-not against the romanticism of Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss, but was influenced by these composers.

Outside of this group had Honegger contact with artists like Paul ClaudelJean CocteauMax JacobPierre LouÿsPablo PicassoPaul Valéryand Erik Satie , whose work served him sometimes to inspiration.

Serge Ivanoff painted his portrait in Paris in 1944.


Works for Orchestra[Edit]Edit


  • 1930 Symphony No. 1
  • 1941 Symphony No. 2, for trumpet and String Orchestra
  • 1945-1946 Symphony No. 3 "Liturgique"
  • 1946 Symphony No. 4 "Deliciae basilliensis"
  • 1951 Symphony No. 5 "Di tre re"

Concertos for solo instrument and Orchestra[Edit]Edit

Other orchestral works[Edit]Edit

  • Aglavaine et Sélysette 1917 , prelude to Maurice Maeterlinck
  • Le chant de Nigamon 1917
  • Danse macabre 1919
  • 1919 nocturne et Entrée, berceuse, for piano and Chamber Orchestra
  • 1920 Pastorale d ' été
  • 1921 Marche funèbre
  • 1923 Chant de joie
  • 1923 La tempête, prelude to William Shakespeare
  • 1923 Pacific 231 (Mouvement symphonique No. 1)
  • 1928 Rugby (mouvement symphonique No. 2)
  • 1930 Les noces d'Amour et de Psyché, to Bach's French Suites
  • 1932-1933 Mouvement symphonique No. 3
  • 1936 Nocturne
  • 1936 Prélude, arioso et fugue (on the name BACH)
  • La construction d'une cité 1937
  • 1937 Regain, suite
  • 1943 Jour de fête de Suisse (Schwyzer Fäschttag), suite
  • La traversée des Andes 1943 , suite
  • 1943 Le vol sur l'Atlantique, suite
  • Sérénade à Angélique 1945 , for small Orchestra
  • 1948 ' fugue Prélude et postlude (from the movie Amphion)
  • Monopartita 1951
  • Suite archaique 1952
  • 1952 Toccata

Works for wind Orchestra[Edit]Edit

  • 1921 Le Roi David (King David), dramatic psalm for choir and wind Orchestra
  • 1936 Marche sur la Bastille incidental music for the 3rd Act of Bastille Day -text: Romain Rolland
  • 1940 Grad us-And avant
  • Marche des Ambassadeurs

Oratorios, cantatas[Edit]Edit

  • 1918/1922 Cantique de Pâques, for soprano, mezzo soprano, contralto, 3 voices women choir and Orchestra-text: by the composer
  • 1921 Le Roi David (King David), dramatic psalm for choir and wind Orchestra-premiere: 11 June 1921Mézières (Vaud), Théâtre du Jorat
  • 1930-1931 , Cris du Mondeoratorio-premiere: may 3, 1931Solothurn
  • 1935-1937 Rev.1944 , Jeanne d'Arc au bûcheroratorio dramatique with Prologue and 11 scenes for two Sopranos, Alto, tenor, speaking voices, mixed choir, children's choir and Orchestra [H 99][112 may 1938,1st perf.: Basel (Switzerland)13 June Zurich 1942 on the scene – libretto: Paul Louis Charles Marie Claudel
  • 1938 La Danse des Morts, Cantata for soprano, contralto, baritone, sacrée, mixed choir and Orchestra-libretto: Paul Louis Charles Marie Claudel
  • Nicolas de Flue1939 dramatic legend about the Swiss national Saint in 3 acts-lyrics: Denis de Rougemont -premiere: 26 October 1940, Solothurn
  • 1952-1953 Une Cantate de Noël, Cantata for baritone, mixed choir, children's choir and Orchestra

Music Theatre[Edit]Edit


Completed in title acts Premiere libretto
1903 Philippa, op. 1 not run of the composer
1904 Sigismond not run
1907 La Esmeralda unfinished not run to Victor Hugo, «Notre-Dame de Paris»
1918 La Mort de sainte Alméene 1 Act, 2 scenes 30 October1920Paris Max Jacob
1924-1927 Antigone 3 acts 28 december1927BrusselsThéâtre Royal de la Monnaie Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau to Sophocles
1926 Judith 3 acts 13 February1926Monte Carlo (Monaco) René Taken Part
1936-1937 L'Aiglon (The Eagle)

joined by: Jacques Ibert

5 acts 10 March1937 Monte Carlo (Monaco), Opéra Henry Cain, to Edmond Rostand
1943-1944 Charles le téméraire may1944, Mézières


Completed in title acts Premiere libretto choreography
1918 Le Dit des Jeux du Monde Paul Méral
1920 Vérité-mensogne
1920 Horace victorieux-symphonie mimée
1921-1922 Skating Rink-Symphonie chorégraphique
1922 Fantasio 3 scenes
1924-1925 Sous-Marine (scene mimée)
1928 Roses de métal
1929 Amphion 23 June1931ParisOpéra Garnier Paul Valéry Léonide Massine
1933-1934 Sémiramis 3 acts and 2 among games Paul Valéry
1936-1937 Le Cantique des Cantiques Gabriel Boissy
1937 Un oiseau blanc s'est envolé
1940 La naissance des couleurs
1941 Le fat the rêves
1943 L'Appel de la Montagne R. Favre le Bret
1946 Shota rustaveli (L'homme à la peau de léopard);

cooperation with Tcherepnin

1950 De la musique


Completed in title acts Premiere libretto
1929-1930 Les aventures du Roi Pausole 3 acts 12 december1930, Paris, Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens Albert Willemtz, based on the novel by Pierre Louÿs
1931 La Belle de Moudon 5 acts 30 may1931Mézières (Vaud), Théâtre du Jorat René Taken Part
1937 Les Petites Cardinal;

joined by: Jacques Ibert

2 acts, 10 scenes 13 February1938, Paris, Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens Albert Paul Brach, Willemetzen to Ludovic Halévy

Spectacle and works[Edit]Edit

Radiophonic work[Edit]Edit

  • 1935 Radio Panoramique (mouvement symphonique), for soprano, tenor, mixed choir, organ and Orchestra
  • Christophe Colomb 1940 , for tenor solo, mixed choir and Orchestra-text: William Aguet morning
  • Musique pour Pasiphaé1943 for two Oboes, two Clarinets, alto saxophone and two Bassoons
  • 1944 Battements du Monde, for Narrator, soprano, children's voice, women's Chorus and Orchestra-text: William Aguet morning
  • 1948-1949 Saint François d'Assise, for Narrator, tenor solo, mixed choir and Orchestra-text: William Aguet morning
  • 1949-1950 Tête d'or, for Orchestra
  • 1951 La Rédemption de François Villon, for two male voices and Orchestra-text: José Bruyr

Chamber Music[Edit]Edit

  • 1912 H 3 Sonata for violin and piano No. 0 in d minor
  • 1917 H 15 String Quartet nr. 1 in c minor
  • 1918 H 17 Sonata for violin and piano No 1 in c-sharp minor
  • 1919 H 24 Sonata for violin and piano No. 2 in B-flat major
  • 1921 H 39 Danse de la chèvre for solo flute
  • pour violon 1929 H 214 Arioso et Piano
  • 1935 H 103 String Quartet No. 2 in D
  • 1937 H 114 String Quartet nr. 3 in E
  • 1940 H 143 Sonata for violin in D minor
  • 1945 Morceau de concours pour violon et piano H 179


Honneger's is the statement: "the public want no new music: the most important thing that the audience of a composer requires, is that he is dead."


  • Jozef Joris: Milhaud and Honegger, contemporaries, rivals, friends, antagonists..., breath 28: 33-6 + N1 1992
  • Jean-Noël von der Weid: La musique du xxe siecle, Paris: Hachette Littératures, 2005., 720 p., ISBN 978-2-01-235948-2
  • Mario Moreau: Concertos, in: O teatro de Sao Carlos: dois seculos de historia, vol. II, Lisboa: Hugin Editores, 1999, 713-1424 p.
  • Gabor Halasz: Perspektivenwechsel, Opernwelt N7: 51 Jul 1996
  • Stewart Gordon: French Keyboard Music of the Early Twentieth Century, in: A History of Keyboard Literature. Music for the Piano and its Forerunners, New York: Schirmer Books, 1996, 566 p., ISBN 978-0-534-25197-0
  • Peter w. Cute: "Jazz" in der Kunstmusik. Studien zur Funktion afro-amerikanischer Musik in Kompositionen des 20. Jahrhunderts (= Perspektiven zur Musikwissenschaft und Musikpädagogik BD. 18, hg. v. w. Gieseler, s. Helms und r. Schneider), Regensburg: Gustav Bosse Verlag, 1995. 228 p. ISBN 3-7649-2476-4
  • Gerhard Schepelern: PersonregisterOperaens historie i Danmark, in: 1634-1975, Kobenhaven: Rosinante, 1995, 366 p., ISBN 978-87-16-14112-5
  • Alain Lacombe, Francois Porcile: Les musiques du cinema français, Paris: Bordas, 1995, 328 p., ISBN 2-04-019792-3
  • Pierre Hugli: Musique et cinema, Revue Musicale de Suisse Romande N3: 19 + Sep 1995
  • Jane f. Fulcher: Musical style, meaning, and politics in France on the eve of the Second World War, Journal of Musicology: 13: 425-53 N4 1995
  • C. Capacci: 100 ans de cinema: Honegger, Jaubert, Kosma le jour se leve and musique!, Diapason (France) N414: 36 + Apr 1995
  • Leighton Kerner: Music 50 years on-American Symphony's concert honoring 50th anniversary of end of World War II and founding of United Nations, Village Voice: 40: 75 May 30 1995
  • R. Fellows: Performing Honegger's "Danse de la Chevre", Flute Talk 14: 15-16 Sep 1994
  • Susanne Rode-Breymann: That Zwischenkriegsjahren-Ihr Beitrag zum Wiener Staatsoper zeitgenössischen Musiktheater in den, Tutzing: Hans Schneider, 1994, bei, 485 p., ISBN 978-3-7952-0772-4
  • Jean Roy: Le groupe des six, Solfeges, Seuil, 1994, 222 p., ISBN 2-02-013701-1
  • Jean Roy: 1992: le centenaire d'un musicien europeen, Revue Musicale de Suisse Romande 45: 75-86 N2 1992
  • Jean Roy: Le role du choeur dans les oratorios d'Arthur Honegger, Dissonanz/dissonance N34: 15-17 Nov 1992
  • Wolfgang Suppan, Armin SuppanDas Neue Lexikon des Blasmusikwesens, 4. Auflage, Freiburg-Tiengen, Blasmusikverlag Schulz GmbH, 1994, ISBN 3-923058-07-1
  • Wolfgang Suppan: Das neue Lexikon des Blasmusikwesens, 3. Auflage, Freiburg-Tiengen, Blasmusikverlag Schulz GmbH, 1988, ISBN 3-923058-04-7
  • Wolfgang Suppan: Lexikon des Blasmusikwesens, 2. eränzte und erweiterte Auflage, Freiburg-Tiengen, Blasmusikverlag Fritz Schulz, 1976
  • Walter Labhart: Dissonanz/dissonance Disques Schallplatten, N38: 42-3 Nov 1993
  • J. Loskill: Anklage wider den Krieg, Opernwelt 34: 39 Jun 1993
  • Konrad Vogelsang: Alphabetisches Namensverzeichnis der Filmkomponistenim Dritten Reich, in: Filmmusik: eine Dokumentation, vollstandig uberarbeitete und erweiterte Auflage, 2., Pfaffenweiler: Centaurus-Verlagsgesellschaft, 1993, 235 p., ISBN 978-3-89085-800-5
  • Serge m. Zuber: Musique d'un siècle à Genève 1893-1993-Association des artistes musiciens de Genève (AAMG), Geneva: Editions Ariana, 1993, 149 p.
  • Schweizer unserer Zeit Composers; Biographien; Werkverzeichnisse mit Discographie und Bibliographie, Winterthur: Amadeus, 1993, 470 p., ISBN 3-905049-05-8
  • Jacques-Emmanuel Fousnaquer, Claude Glayman, Christian Leble: Musiciens de notre temps depuis 1945, Paris: Editions Plume, 1992, 542 p., ISBN 978-2-7021-2083-5
  • Harry HalbreichArthur Honegger: l'homme des contrastes, Diapason-Harmonie (now Diapason (France)) N383: 38-46 Jun 1992
  • Harry Halbreich: Arthur Honegger, un musicien dans la cité des hommes, Fayard, 1992. ISBN 2-213028370
  • Harry Halbreich: L'Oeuvre d'Arthur Honegger: chronology, catalogue raisonné, analyses, discographie, Fayard, 1994. ISBN 2-852032821
  • Harry Halbreich: Arthur Honegger: album in the series Les grands Suisses, Slat kine, Geneva 1995.
  • Lennart Hedwall: Musikrevy Orkesterkomponisten Honegger, 47: 295 + N7-8 1992
  • Bernard Gavoty: Comment you give me justice, Revue Musicale de Suisse Romande 45: 87-86 N2 1992
  • Theo Hirsbrunner: Arthur Honegger -Ein Groupe des SixAussenseiter im, Dissonanz/dissonance N31: 19-23 Feb 1992
  • I. a. Alexandre: "Jeanne d'Arc au bucher" à l ' Opéra de Paris, Diapason-Harmonie (Currently Diapason (France)) N388: 20 December 1992
  • S. Henry: "Jeanne d'Arc au Bucher"-A collaboration between Arthur Honegger and Paul Claudel, Choral Journal 32: 7-14 N8 1992
  • S. Henry: The choral music of Arthur Honegger, Voice of Chorus America: 15: N2 between 1991-1992, p. 12-13
  • Peter Jost: Den Anspruch ästhetischen in seiner ganzen Schwere und erfüllen: Arthur Honeggers Strict Way zur Symphonie, Das Orchester, 40: 430-35 N4 1992
  • Paul e. Bierley, William h. Rehrig: The heritage encyclopedia of band music: composers and their music, Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press, 1991, ISBN 0-918048-08-7
  • Gerhard Kappner: Gottesdienst und Raritäten Aufführungen kirchenmusikalischer, Kirchenmusik N3: 66-70 May-Jun 1991
  • Robert p. Morgan: Twentieth-century music-A history of musical style in modern Europe and America, New York: W.W. Norton, 1991, 554 p., ISBN 978-0-393-95272-8
  • H. Stephen Wright, James l. Limbacher: Keeping score: film and television music, 1980-1988 (with additional coverage or 1921-1979), Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1991, 928 p., ISBN 978-0-8108-2453-9
  • M. Parouty Hilton: Les aventures du Roi Pausole (a) Lausanne, Diapason-Harmonie (Currently Diapason (France)) N368: 30 Feb 1991
  • Sequined, Domenico Giovanni Danzuso: Indice Dei Nomi e Dei Titoli della Parte Storica e Appendici Delle, in: Musica e musicisti teatri, a Catania (dal mito alla cronaca), 3rd edizione, Palermo: Publisicula Editrice, 1990, 660 p.,
  • Robert Brecy: Florilege de la chanson révolutionnaire de 1789 au front popular, Edition revue et corrigee, Condé-sur-noireau, France: Les Editions Ouvrieres, 1990, 305 p., ISBN 2-7082-2872-2
  • John l. Holmes: Composers on Composers, New York: Greenwood Press, 1990, 189 p., ISBN 978-0-313-26602-7