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Label:
  Musicaphon - http://www.cantate.de/
Serial:
  M56942 (2 discs)
Title:
  Honegger: Complete Symphonies - Brogli-Sacher
Description:
  Honegger: Complete Symphonies

Philharmonisches Orchester der Hansestadt Lübeck
Roman Brogli-Sacher
Track listing:
 
Genre:
  Classical - Orchestral
Content:
  Stereo/Multichannel
Media:
  Hybrid
Recording type:
 
Recording info:
 

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Related titles: 1


 
Reviews: 1

Review by Jonalogic April 1, 2013 (7 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I see this set seems to have attracted some bad press even before folk bothered to listen to it! After actually doing so, however, I feel they are mistaken - and, what's more, they are missing what I suspect will prove the only complete set of Arthur Honegger's symphonies ever to be released on SACD.

After hearing Mravinsky's searing account of the Symphonie Liurgique (no 3) on the 'Art of Mravinsky' set I reviewed a few weeks ago, I decided to find a more modern recording that felt a bit less like having knitting needles stuck in my ears.

Honegger's five symphonies span his entire musical career, from the early no 1 (1929/30) to his last number 5 (1950). The best known is no 2, for strings and obligato trumpet, immortalised by a very fine performance from Karajan and the BPO, and the Liturgique, which quite a few conductors have tackled over the years. The symphonies are, IMHO, of variable quality - the formative no 1 and lightweight no 4 (Delights of Basle) are difficult to get to grips with; it seems that the much darker and despair-filled 2,3 and 5 contain by far his most gripping music! Something about the devil having the best tunes...?

The Lubeck Orchestra is not a top-end German band, of course, but - on the evidence of these two discs - it's a decent enough municipal grouping. It certainly does NOT sound to be full of trainees, as alleged. Its playing is consistent, professional and idiomatic, if not spectacular. More than good enough for the job, in fact.

And then we come to the sound. Being my first Musicaphon recording, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. To my delight, the sound is very good indeed - and very consistent over the recording period of 2007-2010. In fact, the sound (engineered by Cybele) puts some big-name labels to shame. It's very clean, detailed, transparent and natural, with excellent stage depth, focus and air. And the acoustic of the Kongresshalle sounds simply gorgeous.

Geohominid, in his informative review of the Honegger 2/ Strauss Also Sprach Zarathustra coupling, got the sonics spot-on.

So, if you already like or wish to further explore Honegger's sound world, this set hits the spot. Of course, you could alternatively pick and choose from the five Musicaphon recordings which couple these symphonies individually with Richard Strauss works. But the current set is more economical, of course.

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Works: 5  

Arthur Honegger - Symphony No. 1 in C, H 75
Arthur Honegger - Symphony No. 2 in D for Strings and Trumpet, H 153
Arthur Honegger - Symphony No. 3, H 186 "Liturgique"
Arthur Honegger - Symphony No. 4 in A, H 191 "Deliciae basiliensis"
Arthur Honegger - Symphony No. 5 in D, H 202 "Di tre re"