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Classical Composers A-Z: Arthur Honneger

Peter Wintersgill sketches the life of Arthur Honneger, composer of the dramatic psalm King David.

18th March, 1892, in Le Havre

Studied at Zurich Conservatoire from 17 and Paris Conservatoire from 19.

Adult Life
The well known dramatic psalm King David (1921) was eclipsed by the even better known Pacific 231 (1923), the name of a particular locomotive. Another orchestral work was Pastorale d’ete (1920). He joined ‘Les Six’ in 1920 but did not share their flippancy.

A great admirer of J.S. Bach, Honneger’s later music became rather baroque in style. Also well known is the stage oratorio Joan of Arc at the Stake (1935). Among other orchestral works are five symphonies and Rugby (1928).

Nothing is heard now of sundry ballets, operas, chamber pieces and incidental music for plays and films.

He died 27th November, 1955, in Paris, aged 63.


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