20 Swiss Francs

Switzerland Banknotes 20 Swiss FrancsSwitzerland Currency 20 Swiss Francs
Banknotes of Switzerland 20 Swiss Francs note
Swiss National Bank
Schweizerische Nationalbank - Banque Nationale Suisse - Banca Nazionale Svizzera - Banca Naziunala Svizra

The portrait on the front of the 20 franc banknote shows Arthur Honegger (1892-1955), one of this century's greatest composers. The broad-ranging work of this Swiss composer includes two operas, five symphonies, several orchestral works, various dramatic oratorios and a large body of chamber music. In addition to his famous symphony for the steam locomotive «Pacific 231» (the elements on the reverse of the banknote refer to this work), Honegger wrote extensively in a lighter vein for the ballet, stage and film. The strict formalism and clarity of his musical idiom, with which he hoped to reach a very wide audience, is an important bridge between German and French speaking culture.

Reverse side of the 20 Swiss francs is showing:
the orchestral works — the three trumpet valves symbolize the crucial role played by brass instruments in Honegger’s orchestral works. Together with the locomotive wheel and compressor, the piano keyboard and the score, they evoke Honegger’s famous composition about a locomotive.
„Pacific 231”, a locomotive in music — with his symphonic work „Pacific 231”, Honegger created a musical monument to this wonder of technology. The wheel symbolizes rhythm, power and motion, and the compressor stands for technology mastering power. The two elements conjure up the composition's recurrent themes of acceleration and deceleration.
the work instrument — the piano is the composer’s work instrument. Together with the trumpet valves, the piano keyboard represents two fundamental principles of Honegger’s composition: rhythm as a vital, defining structure and harmony, which aims at immediate effect.
the score — typical parts of the score of „Pacific 231” are reproduced. The musical notation reflects an intense rhythmic texture and evokes both the composer as creator and the typical sound of „Pacific 231”.

Banknote of 20 Swiss francs has dimensions 137×74 mm and main colors are tuscan red, caput mortuum, turkish rose, deep chestnut and opera mauve. Date of issue of 20 Swiss francs banknote was 1 October 1996.
Watermark: Portrait of Arthur Honegger.
Printer: Orell Füssli Arts Graphiques S.A.

Banknotes of the Swiss franc
Switzerland Currency - 8th series of Swiss Franc banknotes

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20 franc banknote: Arthur Honegger, 1892-1955 Composer
Arthur Honegger was one of the most multifaceted composers of his generation. Schooled in the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, Max Reger and Richard Strauss and influenced by elements of early 20th century French music, he developed a musical idiom of his own which combined Germanic rigour and modern Parisian artistry in a fruitful synthesis. Honegger was a mediator between the worlds of German and French music. He acquired a mastery of nearly all musical forms, and his impressive achievements in the fields of symphonic music, chamber music, oratorio and opera placed him firmly among the very greatest composers working in the first half of the 20th century.

Le Roi David, 1921
Honegger's early years were marked by rigorous study and a prolific flow of compositions. Classical and romantic composers alike, Richard Strauss, Max Reger, Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, his friend Darius Milhaud and - all his life - Richard Wagner influenced his development. His most productive period began after the First World War. He was a member of the informal group of musicians known as theGroupe des Six who - under the influence of Jean Cocteau - strove to achieve a specifically French mode of aestheticism and championed antiromanticism as a state of mind. Honegger's first great success was Le Roi David, an oratorio in 23 scenes composed at the urging of Ernest Ansermet and Igor Stravinsky and first performed in 1921 at the Théâtre du Jorat in Mézières in the Swiss canton of Vaud. Further works in this genre included Cris du monde (1931) and La Danse des Morts (1940), a composition inspired by Paul Claudel. Even such an early work as Roi David demonstrated an important precondition for Honegger's lasting influence - his determination to compose music that in its lucidity appealed to a broad public and to connoisseurs alike.

Music for the stage
Much of Honegger's work was intended for staging - operas, melodramas, ballets, and dramatic oratorios and cantatas. His stage music includes the two pioneering operas Judith (1925), whose wild musical utterances evoked German expressionism, and Antigone (1927), which are regarded today as both the starting point, and representative examples, of modern music for the stage. Two of Honegger's major dramatic oratorios are the masterpiece Jeanne d’Arc au Bûcher (1935), set to a text by Paul Claudel, and Nicolas de Flue (1940), a dramatic legend composed on the occasion of the Swiss National Exhibition.

Pacific 231, 1923
Honegger's works for orchestra include five symphonies and a number of symphonic pieces such as Horace
Victorieux (1920/21) and Chant de joie (1923), which were also performed at the Théâtre du Jorat. As a modernminded man who followed contemporary developments with interest he also conveyed his love of sports and technology in his music. Particularly in his depiction of things technical - even machines - the feeling, humanism and sensitivity that were the cornerstones of his creativity are most evident, for instance in the orchestral tone poems Pacific 231 (1923) and Rugby (1928).

From chamber music to films
In addition to works for the stage, Honegger composed a large body of chamber music, including three string
quartets, several sonatas for violin, viola, cello and clarinet, and a number of pieces for piano. He also composed many choral works, e.g. Cantique de Pâques (1918), Les Mille et Une Nuits (1937) and his last work Une Cantate de Noël (1953) for baritone, mixed-voice choir, organ and orchestra, which shows the composer's growing concern with religion, already evident in his Symphonie Liturgique of 1946. Honegger's interest was not, however, confined to serious music, and he composed a large number of lighter works for the stage, radio, ballet and films.  Although his work created strong ties with France, Honegger never lost sight of his Swiss origins. Even in later years, he composed many works for Swiss ensembles, some of them on specifically Swiss subjects. A number of his oratorios and orchestral works had their first performance in Switzerland and later acquired a worldwide reputation, thanks in no small part to the Swiss conductors Paul Sacher in Basel and Ernest Ansermet in Geneva.

1892 - Arthur Honegger was born on 10 March, the son of a Zurich family resident in Le Havre.
1909-1911 - Studies at the Zurich conservatory (violin and theory of music).
1911-1913 - Studies in Paris (violin, orchestration, composition, conducting, counterpoint and the fugue).
1919 - First performance of first string quartet.
1920 - Member of the Groupe des Six. Arthur Honegger became a close friend of Darius Milhaud, Francis
Poulenc, Georges Auric, Germaine Tailleferre and Louis Durey. The group's spiritual father was Jean Cocteau.
1921 - First performance of Le Roi David Mézières (canton of Vaud), Switzerland.
1927 - Married the pianist Andrée Vaurabourg, who became well known as an important interpreter of his
1947 - Concert and lecture tour of the United States and South America.
1948 - Awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Zurich.
1955 - Arthur Honegger died in Paris on 27 November.