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Soldier's Tale, Octet etc./Adagio/Chamber Sym No.1
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Top Customer Reviews
This set is great value with a second CD containing some other Stravinsky pieces for small ensemble and very good sleeve notes are provided. My only (very minor) gripe is that the striking cover art of the original DG vinyl issue has not been used here.
If you loved the original vinyl recording then this is an absolutely essential purchase.
The musicians and actors were recorded three years apart. That sounds like a recipe for disaster but fear not: The drama was assembled by Douglas Cleverdon who made a reputation in assembling fine radio dramas on the BBC and others. It shows here. This isn't meant to sound like a concert hall reconstruction (recording in an empty concert hall would sound awfully depressing); this is a drama to play out in your own living room or headphones if you like.
The Boston Chamber players are in excellent form producing a most polished but suitably spiky rendition of the work. What might astonish is that the actors, separated from their playing by three years get their timing spot on. Ron Moody's "Devil's Song" hits the beat from start to finish - it's a real star turn and tremendous fun to hear. Stravinsky's music displays a dark, dry and often comic book sense of humour. Ron Moody's devil is histrionic (a cartoon villain)but his startling performance makes this a piece I can enjoy with my ten year old son - this is a fairy tale after all.
Tom Courtenay sounds sufficiently young as the naive soldier but perhaps sounds a little aloof. John Gielgud really holds the work together as the narrator sounding very conscious of the music's beat and mood in his own speech - it's not simply a case of speaking to the rhythm of the music but more responding to the spirit of Stravinsky's music.Read more ›
There have been other recordings with text, but this version beats the lot, by some margin. The variety of the voices here is a major asset.
Sir John Gielgud is a wonderful narrator, with pathos as well as drum-tight speech rhythms and lofty attack.
Tom Courtney is suitably "ordinary-sounding" as the simple soldier, who sells his soul to the devil, in a gambling game, stupid boy!
Ron Moody is a fabulous devil, pantomime enough to stress the origins of the tale, but not too pantomime, in my view.
The playing of the Boston musicians is acute, totally accurate and committed, but it is the combination of music and speech which marks this recording out as a must-have, a classic of the genre.
No other cd version can match this one, buy it while it is on release. The other works, though masterpieces in their own right, finely performed, will not be what causes this disk to sell, it is the Stravinsky.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic, Deutsche Grammophon under the Eloquence label have at long last reissued this recording. I have a rather scruffy original vinyl but lack the means to play it now. Read morePublished on 15 May 2013 by moominmum
I remember listening to this recording of "The Soldier's Tale" when I was a student nearly 40 years ago and I was delighted to be reacquainted with it all these years later and,... Read morePublished on 1 July 2012 by M. Joyce