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Honegger: Pacific 231, Horace Victorieux / Michel Plasson


Release Date: 10/30/1996 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 435438   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Arthur Honegger
Conductor:  Michel Plasson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This performance is polished and persuasive and indeed, Plasson and his Toulouse orchestra are on strong form throughout the disc.

Honegger's centenary year has deservedly brought his music back into wider circulation, and I welcome these pieces. While every student knows of Pacific 231, and the charming Pastorale d'ete is fairly often played, some of the others are rarities, and although La traversee des Andes and Le vol sur l'Atlantique have been recorded recently. Horace victorieux is new to the catalogue and also to my ears.

This latter work is a ''mimed symphony for orchestra'', in other words a ballet, although its first performance in 1921 was in concert and it was not staged until 1927. The story,
Read more set in ancient Rome and first told by Livy, may be an ancestor of Romeo and Juliet; it tells of the opposing Horatii and Curiatii families and features a love interest in the person of Horatius's sister Camilla, whose love for a member of the other family leads to her death at her brother's hands. On first acquaintance, I must confess that this 20-minute score seems to me undistinguished, written in an all-purpose dramatic language and rather crudely scored. I doubt if it will have lasting interest except to specialists. Yet there are better things that are typical of Honegger, such as the gently pastoral flute solo at the seven-minute mark, and the work deserves a place in the catalogue.

This performance is polished and persuasive and indeed, Plasson and his Toulouse orchestra are on strong form throughout the disc, with Pastorale d'ete wonderfully atmospheric. Although inevitably the onomatopoeic element in Pacific 231 makes this musical evocation of a steam locomotive rough-edged, Plasson's performance is musicianly and makes a good case for the work. The same is true of Rugby, which the composer identified as expressing his enthusiasm for the game's disordered and ''distressed … attacks and repulses''—though I think it unlikely that it was sung in the Lions' or All Blacks' changing rooms! La traversee des Andes and Le vol sur l'Atlantique both come from a film called Mermoz (1943): these are related miniature suites of film sequences that are effective, if not very individual.'

Christopher Headington, Gramophone 9/1993
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Works on This Recording

1.
Pastorale d'été by Arthur Honegger
Conductor:  Michel Plasson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920; France 
Date of Recording: 1991 
Venue:  Halle aux Grains, Toulouse 
Length: 9 Minutes 1 Secs. 
2.
Horace Victorieux by Arthur Honegger
Conductor:  Michel Plasson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 1991 
Venue:  Halle aux Grains, Toulouse 
Length: 19 Minutes 42 Secs. 
3.
Mouvement symphoniques (3): no 1, Pacific 231 by Arthur Honegger
Conductor:  Michel Plasson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 1991 
Venue:  Halle aux Grains, Toulouse 
Length: 6 Minutes 30 Secs. 
4.
Mouvement symphoniques (3): no 2, Rugby by Arthur Honegger
Conductor:  Michel Plasson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 1991 
Venue:  Halle aux Grains, Toulouse 
Length: 7 Minutes 54 Secs. 
5.
Mermoz: Suite no 1 "La Traversée des Andes" by Arthur Honegger
Conductor:  Michel Plasson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; France 
Date of Recording: 1991 
Venue:  Halle aux Grains, Toulouse 
Length: 8 Minutes 56 Secs. 
6.
Mermoz: Suite no 2 "Le Vol sur l'Atlantique" by Arthur Honegger
Conductor:  Michel Plasson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; France 
Date of Recording: 1991 
Venue:  Halle aux Grains, Toulouse 
Length: 7 Minutes 57 Secs. 
7.
La tempête by Arthur Honegger
Conductor:  Michel Plasson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; France 
Date of Recording: 1991 
Venue:  Halle aux Grains, Toulouse 
Length: 5 Minutes 5 Secs. 

Sound Samples

La Tempete: Prélude pour "La Tempete"
Pastorale d'été: Calme - Vif et gai - Tempo I (calme)
Horace victorieux-Symphonie mimée pour orchestre
Pacific 231: 1. Mouvement symphonique
Rugby (Mouvement symphonique No.2)
Mermoz: Suite No. 1 - La Traversée des Andes
Mermoz: Suite No. 2 - Le Vol sur l'Atlantique

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