Sunday, 28 November 2010

Arthur Honnegger Train Man

Tonight at the Wigmore Hall, Arthur Honneger's Symphony no 2. But first the complete film of Honneger's Pacific 231. It's a study in forward movement created by steady tempi that resembles the orderly chugging of a vast machine, slowly changing gears.  Gradually the gravitas lightens, as the huge mass takes flight. Perhaps the high wind instruments suggest, well, wind, and speed. Perhaps the brass resembles the whistling of  a train?  The idea of parallel themes also suggests wheels in formation, moving independently, but in conjunction. Or railway lines, which start in a condensed huddle but spread out as the line heads out into open country.  Honneger's music was conceived as abstract music, but Pacific 231, because of its title, now means locomotives as well as locomotion. Honneger himself conducts in this 1949 film by Jean Mitry.

"Ce film n'est pas un Documentaire. Soutenues par de bruits qui nous sont familiers puis intiment liées à la musique suivre se proposent seulement de créer une ambiance"

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