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A Soldier’s Tale for Today

Stravinsky: The Soldier's Tale (Histoire du Soldat) (Complete) [Digital  Version] by Igor Stravinsky, Jeremy Irons, Columbia Chamber Ensemble,  Robert Craft on Amazon Music - Amazon.com

In the wake of World War I, Igor Stravinsky was living in Switzerland, cut off from his family estate in Russia. He was receiving no royalties from his publisher in Berlin. Stage performances of his music by Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe were very infrequent. His concert works were virtually dormant. With the Swiss writer C. F. Ramuz, he conceived a small, portable entertainment, requiring neither a large theater nor a large orchestra, in fact suitable for outdoor performance. They imagined a small touring company of players – as an aspiration that proved impractical. But the work itself has vigorously survived.

The pertinence of A Soldier’s Tale today is self-evident. It is a Covid diversion: compact, flexible, rejecting Romantic symphonic upholstery in favor of a dry, caustic sonority conducive to bitter entertainments, light-hearted yet not evasive. For its return to live music with a live (outdoor) audience, PostClassical Ensemble will premiere a new version of A Soldier’s Tale. I have written an abridged, rhymed libretto with a new moral: SAVE THE ARTS. Our performances are Saturday and Sunday, May 8 and. 9. The venue — Stone Hill, Va. — is verdant.

Our PostClassical Ensemble program marries  A Soldier’s Tale with Daniel Schnyder’s Berlin Suite 1920, in which the spirit of the Weill/Brecht Dreigroschenoper — a work kindred to the Stravinsky — is omnipresent. Schnyder and the bass trombonist David Taylor, who also join us, are frequent PCE guests. Both are singular postclassical artists who straddle multiple musical worlds. We’re also joined by the distinguished stage actor Edward Gero, who has previously played Dmitri Shostakovich and Senator Joseph McCarthy for PCE productions.

Comments

  1. Kathleen Hulser says

    another timely presentation- should be terrific

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