Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Honegger Conducts his "Symphonie Liturgique"

Last year, I was able to offer, in time for Bastille Day, the first recording of a symphony by Honegger, the Second, in a riveting performance by Charles Munch. I'm afraid I'm a little late for Bastille Day this year, but here's the other Honegger symphony to be recorded on 78s, his very powerful and equally war-weary Third, called "Liturgique" on account of the titles of its three movements, each named after a part of the Requiem Mass. These titles are actually announced on this recording conducted by the composer, who, presumably, is the announcer as well:

Honegger: Symphony No. 3 ("Liturgique")
Symphony Orchestra conducted by Arthur Honegger
Recorded c. 1947
French Decca A-15004 through A-15007, four 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 78.55 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 51.95 MB)


  1. Alternate links:



  2. Exceptional in every way. Many thanks, Bryan.

  3. The MP3 file containing the third movement was reported as corrupted and could be not be unpacked. I tried downloading from both MediaFire and FileFactory -- same results.

  4. Superb performance, very intense! I'd never heard it - thank you so much! Interesting that they announced movements (not records, as c.1900, but still...). Some French recordings of the 1930s included 'composer autographs', but to do this post-War is quite old-fashioned - do you know of other examples? Thanks again and best wishes, Grumpy

  5. Honegger's 3rd is a masterpiece.
    This historical recording is very interesting about style and timbers.
    Sounding here as real 'contemporary' music with all commitments from musicians as well as the conductor.
    Thanks so much for this post and your beautiful transfer.
    As far as autographs are concerned I remember that of d'Indy, F. Schmitt, H. Rabaud.......all so touching.

  6. Always wanted to hear this. Glad you transfered it so clearly!

  7. By a strange coincidence, just yesterday a friend alerted me to this Timpani transfer of Pathé Art 'Autographes vocaux' by d'Indy, Widor, Roussel, Schmitt...


  8. Not to complain unduly (since it's a gift) but I have the same comment as Uri Golomb, namely that the mp3 version of the third movement is somehow corrupted and cannot be unzipped, at least anyway I can manage. The flac file is fine and the music is an interesting composition by a composer who should be heard more often, especially when conducted by the composer himself. Thanks, anyway,

  9. Hello! What a fabulous find -- I am eager to hear it, indeed I never knew it existed.

    The 2nd symphony, one of my favorite pieces, never really pleased me in the early Munch recording, I'm afraid. In my defunct blog I posted a really fine and exceptionally rare 10" disc of Bretislav Bakala conducting it with the Brno orchestra. I'm sorry I didn't keep the blog up and running or else I'd point you that way. If anyone is interested in it, let me know. All best - S

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  10. Hello and many thanks. Fantastic performance and great transfer.
    - A mass in film noir. I was quite struck by the cinema style any conductor but the author tries to avoid since 70 years; it is a revelatory performance. Thanks again.