Arthur Honegger is a composer you want to hear more of, the minute you hear him. (Note the French pronunciation: ohn-egg-AIR) Honegger is likely the greatest Swiss composer of modern times, though he is counted among the French modernists, such as Poulenc and Milhaud. I happened to encounter him twice in my brief French horn career, the first with Pacific 231, which emulates the sounds and presence of a locomotive. Then I had the delight of getting to know Pastorale d’été (Pastorale of Summer).
The genius is in the scoring: woodwind quintet and string orchestra. The effect is graceful, lightweight, but entrancing like good conversation over a summer meal. Around 3:19 the clarinet starts a tune you’ll be whistling until summertime, and juicy horn solos abound. It’s over before you know it, and leaves you wanting more. A little early in the year for more summer music? Yeah, but there’s no good music out there for spring, right?
Played by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, which could use a thaw about now.