Search - Arthur Honegger, Igor Stravinsky, Herbert von Karajan :: Honegger: Symphony No. 2 for String Orchestra and Trumpet; Symphony No. 3 "Liturgique" / Stravinsky: Concerto in D for String Orchestra

Honegger: Symphony No. 2 for String Orchestra and Trumpet; Symphony No. 3 "Liturgique" / Stravinsky: Concerto in D for String Orchestra
Arthur Honegger, Igor Stravinsky, Herbert von Karajan
Honegger: Symphony No. 2 for String Orchestra and Trumpet; Symphony No. 3 "Liturgique" / Stravinsky: Concerto in D for String Orchestra
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

Herbert von Karajan liked to think of himself as the great conductor of the German classical repertoire: Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms. Perhaps out of insecurity, he recorded and recorded that music incessantly--there ar...  more »

      
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Herbert von Karajan liked to think of himself as the great conductor of the German classical repertoire: Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms. Perhaps out of insecurity, he recorded and recorded that music incessantly--there are four complete Beethoven symphony cycles, for instance. But he really was at his best in other things, and everyone agrees that these performances of Honegger symphonies are among his finest recordings. Part of their allure lies simply in the quality of the playing, for no one could deny that he cultivated a technical standard with the Berlin Philharmonic that was second to none. But he also seems to respond to the music's savagery, its melancholy, and ultimate message of hope. In short, the music really turned him on, and it'll do the same for you. --David Hurwitz

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CD Reviews

The Greatest Honegger Disc of all Time!!!
10/24/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Karajan's account of both the second and third of the Honegger symphonies has never, and in my mind, will never be surpassed. In the second symphony Karajan gives us an intense, and extremely poetic version, of this most dark yet beutiful of the Honegger symphonies. The ending is particularly moving. Every detail comes out crystal clear, and we really see just what the composer was going for. The third is just as good. Karajan draws ravishing, and once again intense (I don't think that the word "intense" can be overused when reviewing this disc) playing from the Berlin Philharmonic. I believe Karajan really prized this music, and he seems to pour his heart and soul into it, showing us, as it seems ha already knew, that Honegger is truly one of the greatest composers of the 20'th century. Great sound quality,too, when listening to this CD you feel as if the orchestra was right in front of you. This disc can not be recommended enough; it's priceless."
A CD Worth All the Raves
D. C. Cannon | Rockville, MD USA | 07/24/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"These recordings of Honegger's best symphonies have always received rave reviews, and for once the praise is worth it. The Second has ravishing string writing, often dense and mysterious but finally triumphant. The Third for full orchestra is more brutal but the slow movement and final coda shows off some of the most poetic writing of any 20th century composer. These are symphonies of the war years and are serious meditations of the times. Why Honegger is so little played these days is beyond me - he is modern yet definitely tonal. Most listeners will have little trouble entering this soundscape."
Neglected Masterpieces, a Very Special Recording
M. De Sapio | Alexandria, VA | 08/31/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In his book THE SYMPHONY, Michael Steinberg says something to the effect that if you mention the name "Arthur Honegger" to most music lovers you will probably get "Hmm...Didn't he write the piece about the locomotive?". (Indeed, Honegger did write PACIFIC 231, a sonic impression of a steam locomotive and hardly one of his deepest pieces.) Sadly, this composer's notoriety today is wildly out of proportion with his worth and importance. I discovered Honegger largely through my interest in French music and LES SIX (the French "Group of Six"), of which Honegger was a part. Upon hearing the powerful LITURGIQUE symphony for the first time, I was amazed. Everything about the music - its polyphonic depth, its architecture, the incandescence of the instrumental colors, the amplitude and expressiveness of the melodic line - proclaimed its composer one of the neglected geniuses of 20th-century music. Honegger's music synthesizes the shaded delicacy of Debussy, the kinetic energy and dissonance of Stravinsky, and the polyphonic chorale tradition deriving from Bach into a dense, rich musical language of solidity, integrity, and eloquence. I vastly prefer Honegger to Bartok or Shostakovich (two composers that another reviewer mentioned as possibly preparatory to these symphonies), and I find it a scandal that he is not better known. It is fortunate that an important conductor such as Karajan chose to record these works. The church acoustic lends a spacious airiness to the recording, and the playing is of undeniable commitment, fullness, passionate virtuosity, and expressive depth. Karajan's readings of the magnificent adagio and the final andante of the LITURGIQUE stretch out their breathtaking, marmoreal beauty. Symphony #2 for strings, which was new to me upon hearing this recording, is a moody, haunting work and every bit as fine as Symphony #3. No one should call himself well-rounded in 20th-century music without knowing Arthur Honegger's rich blend of French sensibility and German self-expression. I simply cannot recommend this CD enough.

As excellent a work as it is, the Concerto in D by Stravinsky feels like an an unwelcome intrusion. In my opinion, these powerful Honegger symphonies need no makeweight!

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