Arthur Honegger and His Relation to Jean Cocteau and Les Six

Mateusz Melski


The purpose of this article is to present a broad spectrum of relations between Arthur Honegger—a composer, and Jean Cocteau—a poet and playwright. They are often associated with the group under the patronage of Cocteau called Les Six, to which Honegger undoubtedly belonged. The poet gathered young composers around himself and became the initiator of artistic meetings and concerts. Most of them took place between 1917 and 1921. Cocteau wanted to show the path French music should follow. In accordance to that, his aesthetic manifesto Le Coq et lArlequinwas published in 1918.

In the first section, Honegger’s and Cocteau’s aesthetic views concerning music, its elements expression are presented and confronted. Next, the composer’s as well as poet’s work is presented by the example of their cooperation.

The analysis of mutual relations leads to the conclusion that, despite many different views, Honegger and Cocteau respected each other and were very kind. The composer significantly departed from the ideals of Cocteau and developed his own individual style resulting from a wide range of musical inspirations. Les Sixwas a short-lived group and Cocteau himself was gradually moving away from his controversial and radical views.

Słowa kluczowe: Arthur Honegger, Jean Cocteau, Les Six, Neoclassicism, 20th-century French music

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