By Arthur Honneger
Composed in 1920
Pastorale d’Eté (Summer Pastoral), written in 1920 during a vacation in the Swiss Alps and subtitled “Poème Symphonique,” was inspired by a quotation from Arthur Rimbaud: J’ai embrassé l’aube d’été (“I’ve embraced the dawn of the summer”).
Honegger expresses his impression of this summery idyll in Switzerland with pastoral and shepherd airs that often recall Beethoven’s “Pastoral Symphony”. The happiness is never disturbed. The three parts – calm, lively and gay, calm – merge into one another, the third combining and superimposing the musical elements of the first two.