November 18, 2011 10:24 pm

Honegger: Symphony No 4 etc

A performance with the wit and subtlety that the jaunty piece deserves

Paul Sacher, the Swiss music patron who died in 1999, often said his compatriot Arthur Honegger’s time would come. Maybe that time is now: this disc comes on top of Marin Alsop’s Joan of Arc project on both sides of the Atlantic. Honegger (1892-1955) never lacked champions – Karajan and Jansons recorded the Third Symphony – and here we have Jurowski and the LPO in music that shows a more seductive side than the dark depths of the wartime symphony and the Joan oratorio.

All three works on this unexpectedly satisfying CD communicate a joie de vivre without ever sounding lightweight. The jaunty Symphony No 4 is performed with the wit and subtlety it deserves, bringing out the song-like character of its three movements. Pastorale d’été is a dreamy orchestral summerscape, Une Cantate de Noël a radiant choral celebration of the human and the divine.

Honegger

Symphony No 4 – Une cantate de Noël

Vladimir Jurowski

(London Philharmonic Orchestra)

4 stars

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