Stravinsky : Histoire du Soldat

Stravinsky : Histoire du Soldat


Jean Cocteau et Peter Ustinov, recitants, Igor Markevitch et ensemble de solistes

Philips 835181

Speakers Corner Records : LP 180 gram

Brand New and Sealed Record

Discontinued : last copy available!...

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Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) : Histoire du Soldat (1918)
1 - Marche du Soldat
2 - Le violon du Soldat
3 - Musique champetre
4 - Marche royale
5 - Petit Concert
6 - Tango
7 - Valse
8 - Ragtime
9 - Dance du Diable
10 - Petit choral
11 - Couplets du Diable
12 - Grand choral
13 - Marche triomphale du Diable

Jean Cocteau (the Narrator), Jean-Marie Fertey (the Soldier) and Peter Ustinov (the Devil)
Igor Markevitch (director), Ulysse Delécluse (clarinet), Henri Helaerte (bassoon), Manoug Parikian (violin), Joachim Gut (double-bass), Maurice André (trumpet), Roland Schnorkh (trombone), Charles Peschier (percussion)

Recorded in October 1962 at the Théâtre in Vevey, Switzerland by Tony Negri.

Histoire du soldat (The Soldier's Tale) is a theatrical work "to be read, played, and danced" by three actors and one or several dancers, accompanied by a septet of instruments. The piece was conceived by Igor Stravinsky and Swiss writer Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz based on a Russian folk tale, The Runaway Soldier and the Devil, drawn from the collection of Alexander Afanasyev.

The libretto relates the parable of a soldier who trades his fiddle to the devil in return for unlimited economic gain. The music is scored for a septet and the story is told by three actors: the soldier, the devil, and a narrator, who also takes on the roles of minor characters. A dancer plays the non-speaking role of the princess, and there may also be additional ensemble dancers.

The creation of Histoire du Soldat" is closely connected with actual incidents during the war. Because the local theatre was closed in 1918, the last year of the war, Stravinsky and the Swiss writer Charles Ferdinand Ramuz decided to create a work that did not demand a large venue or big audience to be effective.

On a par with the sparsity of the resources is the tightly knit construction of the work in which the scenes and musical sections are strung together like a suite. Just as in his ballets, Stravinsky relies on the dance-like energy of his music, which not only includes various march rhythms but also the tango, waltz and ragtime. The spoken word is also brimful of rhythmic vitality and is impressively rendered by the enormously adaptable voices of Jean Cocteau as the Narrator and Peter Ustinov as the Devil.

"Igor Markevitch urges on the excellent musicians in his little orchestra with élan and accuracy, with the young Maurice André’s brilliantly performed trumpet part being particularly conspicuous. "Markevitch's recording of The Soldier's Tale can be considered definitive. ...The conductor's reading is suitable anti-Romantic, crisp, taut, and unsentimentalized though never cold. The playing of the seven instrumentalists is unassailable..." - Andrew Quint, The Absolute Sound.

The "golden age" of recordings was from 1955 to 1965, at the beginning of the LP and the stereo era, where pure vacuum tube amplification helped produce recordings demonstrating unparalleled fidelity and warmth, lifelike presence and illumination.

This Speakers Corner LP was remastered using pure analogue components only, from the original analogue studio tapes through to the cutting head, and was pressed with virgin vinyl at Pallas. More information under