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The pieces on disc 2 are handled with great vitality. Marius Constant projects the monolithic power and momentum of Prélude, Fugue et Postlude with a sure grip on the music's architecture, and points up the expressive variety of Monopartita with equal vividness. The Monte-Carlo players evidently relish the colourful inventiveness of Honegger's orchestral writing in the Prelude to The Tempest.

Pastorale d'été, from 1920, by far the best-known piece on the second disc, receives a performance of winning delicacy and freshness [listen -- CD2 track 9, 0:00-1:40]. Mouvement Symphonique No 3 forms a group with Pacific 231 and Rugby. After the misunderstandings that arose concerning the extent of any programmatic intentions in those two pieces (though his contradictory comments on Pacific 231 didn't help), Honegger left the third with just its deliberately neutral sub-title, with the result that it is hardly ever performed. But it's a lively, invigorating piece that deserves to be heard, especially in a performance as sharply pointed as this [listen -- CD2 track 10, 2:00-3:43].

The Monte-Carlo recordings were made in a noticeably drier acoustic than those featuring Dutoit.

Copyright © 9 September 2006 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK


Honegger: Le Roi David; Monpartita; Le Chant de Nigamon etc

2564 62033-2 ADD/DDD Stereo REISSUE (2 CDs) 71'42"/73'20" - TT 145'02" 1973,1986,1992 Erato Disques; 2005 Warner Classics

Le Roi David:
Christiane Eda-Pierre, soprano; Jeanine Collard, alto; Éric Tappy, tenor; Bernard Petel, treble (the boy David); Simone Valère, speaker (the Witch of Endor); Jean Desailly, narrator; Chorale Philippe Caillard; Ensemble Instrumental; Charles Dutoit, conductor

Pastorale d'été and Mouvement symphonique No 3:
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks; Charles Dutoit, conductor

Other works:
Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo; Marius Constant, conductor;

Arthur Honegger (1892-1955): Le Roi David; Prélude, fugue et postlude; Monopartita; Prélude pour 'La Tempête' de William Shakespeare; Napoléon - Suite d'orchestre de l'illustration du film d'Abel Gance; Le Chant de Nigamon; Prélude pour la 'Phædre' de Gabriele d'Annunzio; Pastorale d'été; Mouvement symphonique No 3


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