Born of Swiss-French parents, Arthur Honegger spent much of his life in Paris, though his music is far removed from the gaiety and whimsicality frequently evoked by the group of French composers known as Les Six. He is now best remembered for a sequence of vivid and increasingly dramatic orchestral works, including the Third Symphony, which gives voice to the composer’s horror at the new levels of barbarity and inhumanity perpetrated by mankind during the war. While Honegger’s Pacific 231 is a graphic musical depiction of a train in motion and the tone poem Pastorale d’été describes summer in the Alps above Berne, Rugby is less a graphic depiction of the sport than an effervescent scherzo that can be enjoyed purely as music.
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