Arthur Honegger

"Rugby". Mouvement symphonique Symphonie liturgique Symphonie "Di tre re"


"Rugby. Mouvement symphonique Nr. 2; Symphonie Nr. 3 "Symphonie liturgique"; Symphonie Nr. 5 "Di tre re"..


As a regular attendee of rugby matches in Paris in the 1920s, Honegger was passionate about the “wild, abrupt, disordered, despairing rhythms” of matches, and for the whole spectacle bound up with it: “I like: 1) this kind of euphoria, of hope, of the overwhelming, baseless joy that the game engenders; 2) at the same time the fateful, unforeseeable phases of the game, the dribbling of the forwards, the thrusts of the wings and centres, the confusion of the scrums, the break-outs, the zigzags; 3) finally, the open-air atmosphere, vibrant with enthusiasm”. But the composer was not just concerned with composing illustrative programme music, rather with translating into sound the “abstract” dynamism, athleticism and energy of a game moving back and forth between the opposing teams. This work endeavours “quite simply”, said Honegger, “to express the attacks and counter-attacks of the game, the rhythm and the colour of a match in the Stade de Colombes”. If we cast a glance of the whole of Honegger’s life, including his later years, then we can see that he belonged to the generation that experienced both the First World War, then – after a brief, bright respite – the subsequent economic collapse and the indescribable horrors of the Second World War that resulted from that chaos. So his was doubly a “war generation”. This left its mark on Honegger, and might well have made a contribution to his increasingly dark, pessimistic view of the world. This view was perhaps given most concrete expression in his oratorio from 1930, Cris du monde (“Cries of the world”). Further such “confessional” works followed on from this, and they include both his Symphonie liturgique and his Fifth Symphony.


Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)


Berner Symphonieorchester; Mario Venzago, Dirigent.

CD order number

MGB CD 6287

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