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Soldier's Tale, Octet etc./Adagio/Chamber Sym No.1

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (9 Sept. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Australian Eloquence
  • ASIN: B0043WBZP0
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 87,521 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. The Soldier's Tale
  2. Octet for Wind Instruments
  3. Pastorale
  4. Ragtime
  5. Concertino for Twelve Instruments
  6. Septet
  7. Chamber Symphony No. 1
  8. Adagio

Product Description

ELOQUE 4803300; ELOQUENCE - AUSTRALIA; Classica da camera

Customer Reviews

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I attended a performance of Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale in the early `80's. I was so taken with the piece that I rushed out to buy a copy on vinyl and this was the only version I could get hold of at the time. The original DG recording was issued in 1975 and this is the first time to my knowledge that it has been remastered to CD. It sounds marvellous. The sound is dynamic and detailed with little noticeable hiss. The spoken parts were actually recorded separately from the musicians and this gave the producer control over placement of voices in the sound stage. However, it does sound a little artificial at times with spoken parts sometimes hard-panned to left or right. Newcomers to this recording might find the voice parts very mannered with Ron Moody's devil being plain manic at times. Tom Courtenay as the soldier is alright but Sir John Gielgud as narrator works very well. It is down to Gielgud to portray the emotions felt by the soldier - particularly the despair when the soldier realises what he has lost.

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.
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Verified Purchase
That's the name of the person who sent a comment to my review of another recording of the Soldier's Tale. I made the point then that this recording was my favourite and my vinyl version had died a death. All efforts to find a cd reissue came to nought until he / she alerted me to this Eloquence reissue. I cannot express enough gratitude because it was one of my favourite recordings.

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.
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Like many others, I got to know and love The Soldier's Tale in its dramatic version, with actors as well as musicians, in this DG recording from the 70s.
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.
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