Although Arthur Honegger’s Pacific 231, composed in 1923 and dedicated to Ernest Ansermet, is more modern and has a more complex structure, here too a great arc of tension determines the progress of the music until shortly before the end. The orchestra accelerates in tempo and then decelerates – due to the motivic writing – towards the end thus evoking the sound of a locomotive: the Pacific 231 namely.
The great success of the first performance of Paul Dukas’s L’Apprenti sorcier (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice) in 1897, a scherzo composed in 1895 and based on a ballad by Goethe, certainly comes as no surprise when one listens to this recording by the OSR under Ansermet. The composition is filled with a wealth of surprising moments which are presented here with exactitude and subtlety in even the tiniest detail.
2. Pacific 231 (Honegger)
2. La Valse (Ravel)