header Notes Collection

20 Franken 2005, Switzerland

in Krause book Number: 69
Years of issue: 2005
Signatures: Le président du Conseil: Dr. Hansueli Raggenbass, Un membre de la Direction générale: Dr. Philipp Hildebrand
Serie: Eighth series
Specimen of: 1994
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 137 х 74
Printer: Orell Füssli, Zürich

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

20 Franken 2005




Arthur Honegger.


20 Franken 2005

Honegger Honegger

Arthur Honegger (10 March 1892 - 27 November 1955) was a Swiss composer, who was born in France and lived a large part of his life in Paris. He was a member of Les Six. His most frequently performed work is probably the orchestral work Pacific 231, which was inspired by the sound of a steam locomotive.

Born Oscar-Arthur Honegger (the first name was never used) to Swiss parents in Le Havre, France, he initially studied harmony and violin in Le Havre. After studying for two years at the Zurich Conservatory he enrolled in the Paris Conservatoire from 1911 to 1918, studying with both Charles-Marie Widor and Vincent d'Indy. He made his Paris compositional debut in 1916 and in 1918 wrote the ballet Le dit des jeux du monde, generally considered to be his first characteristic work. In 1926 he married Andrée Vaurabourg, a pianist and fellow student at the Paris Conservatoire, on the condition that they live in separate apartments because he required solitude for composing. They lived apart for the duration of their marriage, with the exceptions of one year from 1935 to 1936 following Vaurabourg's injury in a car accident, and the last year of Honegger's life, when he was not well enough to live alone. They had one daughter, Pascale, born in 1932. Honegger also had a son, Jean-Claude (1926-2003), with the singer Claire Croiza.

In the early 1920s, Honegger shot to fame with his "dramatic psalm" Le Roi David (King David), which is still in the choral repertoire. Between World War I and World War II, Honegger was very prolific. He composed the music for Abel Gance's epic 1927 film, Napoléon. He composed nine ballets and three vocal stage works, amongst other works. One of those stage works, Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher (1935), a "dramatic oratorio" (to words by Paul Claudel), is thought of as one of his finest works. In addition to his pieces written alone, he collaborated with Jacques Ibert on both an opera, L'Aiglon (1937), and an operetta. During this time period he also wrote Danse de la chèvre (1921), an essential piece of flute repertoire. Dedicated to René Le Roy and written for flute alone, this piece is lively and charming, but with the same directness of all Honegger's work.

Honegger always remained in touch with Switzerland, his parents' country of origin, until the outbreak of the war and the invasion of the Nazis made it impossible for him to leave Paris. He joined the French Resistance and was generally unaffected by the Nazis themselves, who allowed him to continue his work without too much interference. He also taught composition at the École Normale de Musique de Paris, where his students included Yves Ramette. However, he was greatly depressed by the war. Between its outbreak and his death, he wrote his last four symphonies (numbers two to five) which are among the most powerful symphonic works of the 20th century. Of these, the second, for strings, featuring a solo trumpet which plays a chorale tune in the style of Bach in the final movement, and the third, subtitled Symphonie Liturgique with three movements that evoke the Requiem Mass (Dies irae, De profundis clamavi and Dona nobis pacem), are probably the best known. Written in 1946 just after the end of the war, it has parallels with Benjamin Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem of 1940. In contrast with this work is the lyrical, nostalgic Symphony No. 4, subtitled "Deliciae Basilienses" ("The Delights of Basel"), written as a tribute to days of relaxation spent in that Swiss city during the war.

Honegger was widely known as a train enthusiast, and once notably said: "I have always loved locomotives passionately. For me they are living creatures and I love them as others love women or horses." His "mouvement symphonique" Pacific 231 (a depiction of a steam locomotive) gained him early notoriety in 1923.

Many of Honegger's works were championed by his longtime friend Georges Tzipine, who conducted the premiere recordings of some of them (Cris du Monde oratorio, Nicolas de Flüe).

In 1953 he wrote his last composition, A Christmas Cantata. After a protracted illness, he died at home in Paris of a heart attack on 27 November 1955 and was interred in the Saint-Vincent Cemetery in the Montmartre Quarter.

The principal elements of Honegger's style are: Bachian counterpoint, driving rhythms, melodic amplitude, highly coloristic harmonies, an impressionistic use of orchestral sonorities, and a concern for formal architecture. His style is weightier and more solemn than that of his colleagues in Les Six. Far from reacting against German romanticism as the other members of Les Six did, Honegger's mature works show evidence of a distinct influence by it. Despite the differences in their styles, he and fellow Les Six member Darius Milhaud were close friends, having studied together at the Paris Conservatoire. Milhaud dedicated his fourth string quintet to Honegger's memory, while Francis Poulenc similarly dedicated his Clarinet Sonata.

On the top is short silver cross, as Swiss emblem. The cross reminds us that Switzerland's sovereignty is inviolable. For many centuries, the logo has remained virtually unchanged.


20 Franken 2005


At the top is again short silver cross, as Swiss emblem.

The banknote shows the elements associated with Honegger's work "Pacific 231":

Trumpet valves, locomotive wheel, compressor, piano keyboard, score.

Pacific 231G 558

Pacific 231 is an orchestral work by Arthur Honegger, written in 1923.

As for his friends, for Honegger, defining trends in the creative pursuits of the twenties are urbanism, constructivism and jazz. Honegger has loved cars since childhood, especially steam locomotives. He collected a collection of photographs of locomotives of all types; going on a trip by rail, he would definitely walk along the platform to the locomotive that was supposed to drive the train. In an interview on the occasion of the Paris premiere, Honegger told:

“I have always loved locomotives; for me they are living beings, and I love them, as others love women or horses.

In Pacific I did not want to imitate the noises of a locomotive, but I tried to convey with my musical means visual impressions and physical pleasure with a quick movement. The writing begins with calm contemplation: even breathing of the machine at rest, increased launch, a gradual increase in speed, and finally - a condition that penetrates the train of 300 tons, flying at night at a speed of 120 kilometers per hour.

I chose a Pacific-231 type locomotive as a prototype for a heavy-duty high-speed train. ”

Initially, in his own words, he was "guided by a very abstract plan to evoke the impression of such an acceleration of movement, which seemed to be done with mathematical precision, while its pace gradually slowed down" and "only wanted to experiment." Only after the end of the play, originally called the “Symphonic Movement,” did he have the idea to name it “Pacific 231”.

It is one of his most frequently performed works.

On banknote are the musical notes of "Pacific 231".

The popular interpretation of the piece is that it depicts a steam locomotive, an interpretation that is supported by the title of the piece alongside film versions. Honegger, however, insisted that he wrote it as an exercise in building momentum while the tempo of the piece slows. He originally titled it Mouvement Symphonique, only giving it the name Pacific 231, a class of steam locomotive designated in Whyte notation as a 4-6-2, with four pilot wheels, six driving wheels, and two trailing wheels (the French, who count axles rather than wheels when describing locomotives, call this arrangement 2-3-1) after it was finished.

The orchestration consists of the following: 2 flutes, piccolo flute, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon – 4 French horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, – 4 percussionists (tenor drum, cymbal, bass drum, tam tam) – strings.

Pacific 231 is the first in Honegger's series of three symphonic movements. The other two are Rugby and Mouvement Symphonique No. 3. Honegger lamented that his "poor Symphonic Movement No. 3 paid dearly for its barren title." Critics generally ignored it, while Pacific 231 and Rugby, with more evocative titles, have been written about in depth.


Graphic artist: Jörg Zintzmeyer.

There are 2 signatures:


Dr. Hans Ulrich Raggenbass (31.07.1948 - ). President of the Bank Council from 26.4.2002 till 27.4.2012.


Dr. Philipp Michael Hildebrand (19.07.1963 - ). Member of a Bank Council from 2005 till 2012.