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Stravinsky: The Soldier's Tale (Complete) / Yang, Falletta

Release Date: 03/11/2016 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8573537   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Jared McGuireTianwa YangFred ChildJeff Biehl
Conductor:  JoAnn Falletta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Listen to the Naxos Podcast to learn more about this release

This album, featuring violinist Tianwa Yang and the Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players, contains one of Igor Stravinsky’s small-scale theatrical works, The Soldier’s Tale. Stravinsky wrote this work in collaboration with author Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz, and artist Rene-Victor Auberjonois. The work is based in a Russian folk tale by Alexander Afanasyev, and is scored for two speakers, a narrator, and a septet, as well as a non-speaking dance role. Pamela Berlin directs
Read more this production, and Joann Falletta is the conductor of the instrumentalists.


There never was much doubt about this one. Naxos lined up its “A-Team” in the persons of Tianwa Yang, violin, and conductor JoAnn Falletta, but trumpeter David Vonderheide (wonderful in the Royal March) and percussionist Robert W. Cross also deserve a hearty shout-out, and the fact that I’m not talking about everyone individually doesn’t make them any less worthy. The Soldier’s Tale is one of the fortunate pieces that (usually at least) either gets done very well, or not at all.

That said, complete performances on disc are rare. Picking a language in today’s international marketplace is one reason, while the annoyance factor of having people talk over the music comprises another. I personally loathe spoken narration over music, and so I greatly prefer the suite, which leaves out all of that talking. Still, you can’t dispute that the team assembled here of Fred Child (Narrator), Jared McGuire (The Soldier) and Jeff Biehl (The Devil) do an excellent job of story-telling; and at the end of the day if you haven’t heard the complete work, then you don’t know The Soldier’s Tale.

It only remains to be said that the sonics are excellent, the dialogue crystal clear without obscuring instrumental detail, while the purely instrumental pieces (the various marches, the Pastorale, the Three Dances) leap from the speakers with all of the rhythmic ebullience that Stravinsky intended. Logical competition comes from Stravinsky’s own Columbia recording with Jeremy Irons in the speaking role(s), but there’s a lot to be said for breaking the text up into parts for the individual characters, especially if it’s going to be adapted to a new language to begin with. So here it is: simply the best if you want the work complete, and in English. - ClassicsToday
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Works on This Recording

L'histoire du soldat by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Jared McGuire (Voice), Tianwa Yang (Violin), Fred Child (Voice),
Jeff Biehl (Voice)
Conductor:  JoAnn Falletta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918; Switzerland 

Featured Sound Samples

The Soldier's Tale: Introduction. The Soldier's March
The Soldier's Tale: This Isn't a Bad Place to Stop
The Soldier's Tale: Airs by a Stream
The Soldier's Tale: Give Me Your Fiddle
The Soldier's Tale: The Soldier's March (Reprise)
The Soldier's Tale: Hurray, Here We Are!
The Soldier's Tale: Pastorale
The Soldier's Tale: The Soldier Looks Up
The Soldier's Tale: Pastorale (Reprise)
The Soldier's Tale: He Took the Book and Began to Read
The Soldier's Tale: Airs by a Stream. Just to Stretch Out on the Grass
The Soldier's Tale: Airs by a Stream (Reprise)
The Soldier's Tale: The Soldier's March (Reprise). Down a Hot and Dusty Road
The Soldier's Tale: Now He Comes to Another Land
The Soldier's Tale: Royal March
The Soldier's Tale: They Gave the Word for the Band to Play
The Soldier's Tale: The Little Concert
The Soldier's Tale: There on Her Bed the Princess Lies
The Soldier's Tale: 3 Dances. No. 1, Tango
The Soldier's Tale: 3 Dances. No. 2, Valse
The Soldier's Tale: 3 Dances. No. 3, Ragtime
The Soldier's Tale: The Soldier Holds the Princess Close
The Soldier's Tale: The Devil's Dance
The Soldier's Tale: The Devil's Exhausted
The Soldier's Tale: The Little Chorale
The Soldier's Tale: The Devil's Song. All Right! I Shall Have to Wait
The Soldier's Tale: Grand Chorale. You Must Not Seek to Add to What You Have
The Soldier's Tale: I Have Everything
The Soldier's Tale: Triumphal March of the Devil

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