Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Dash of Honegger

I'm currently listening to some small-scale Honegger to get the taste of the Baltimore Symphony's performance tonight of Honegger's turgid Jeanne d'Arc au bucher out of my mouth. The problem was not the performance, which was fundamentally excellent with a marvelous actress who played Jeanne. I'm afraid the blame must rest squarely on Honegger himself. I remember this piece being more exciting when I once listened to it during college. This feels like a dull propaganda piece for a soon-to-be wartime France. Honegger's incredible musical vision and craftsmanship is subordinated to a long-winded and heavy-handed script. The piece has an assortment of exciting moments, but the overall effect unfortunately feels like simple-minded bombast. It's a disappointing piece of music which I worry could turn people off from one of the great masters of the 20th century. Honegger is still thought of by specialists as a minor master. He is not a minor master, he is a giant.

Here is a post I did almost two years ago about the Honegger Symphonies.

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