Related Reviews
BBC Music Magazine
4½ Stars
Performance 4 / Recording 5: 'For anyone wanting an English language account of this key Stravinsky masterpiece...this set has much to offer....the disc merits a strong recommendation.'
more >>
Fanfare
'...this new release joins this exalted company in my pantheon...an unequivocal recommendation.'
more >>
Pizzicato
Supersonic Award: 'The musicians from the Royal Academy of Music deliver a fresh and at the same time mature version of these works.'
more >>
Scherzo
'Linn Records has assembled an impressive cast in a very attractive version of Igor Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale.'
more >>
HiFi Sound
'...this Linn Records set sounds crisp, vibrant, and entirely captivating.'
more >>
Diapason
4 Stars
'The remarkable musicians of the Royal Academy of Music Manson Ensemble forget their (relative) lack of truculence with exemplary energy and daring.'
more >>
All Music
4½ Stars
'...a complete and highly entertaining performance of this innovative theatrical work...'
more >>
Kerk en Leven
'...fascinating and enchanting...'
more >>
MusicWeb International
'...the young players of the Royal Academy really revel in these and play with guts and a swagger which must be just what Stravinsky intended.'
more >>
The Arts Desk
'...as versions of the original go, this new one is a winner. It's conducted, brilliantly, by Oliver Knussen, leading a flawless student ensemble.'
more >>
The Art Music Lounge
'In short, this is a terrific release, so good, in fact, that I chose to replace the Nagano-Sting recording with it in my collection.'
more >>
Crescendo
5 Stars
'Oliver Knussen offers a sharp and lucid reading...'
more >>
The Scotsman
4 Stars
'The musical performance is one of stinging clarity and incision...'
more >>
The Sunday Times
'[A] remarkable disc...'
more >>
Europadisc
'...this new account goes straight to the top of the pile...a dazzling account of a modern classic.'
more >>
BBC Radio 3 'Record Review'
'The chief delight is the characterful brilliance of the instrumental playing from the RAM ensemble under Oliver Knussen.'
more >>
Financial Times
4 Stars
'Harriet Walter’s lively Narrator is paired with two august composers in the other speaking roles.'
more >>
Gramophone
'Anyone who knows Knussen's magical disc of seemingly intractable late Stravinsky (DG, 10/95) or his unbeatable Fairy's Kiss (DG, 11/97) will want this one too.'
more >>

Royal Academy of Music Manson Ensemble & Oliver Knussen - Stravinsky: The Soldier's Tale - The Guardian


16 March 2017
The Guardian
Kate Molleson
4 Stars

There's an American tradition of asking venerable composers to take the speaking roles in Stravinsky's 1918 Faustian music-theatre fable The Soldier's Tale. Babbitt and Carter did it as nonagenarians; Copland played Narrator to the Devils of John Cage and Virgil Thomson. The custom is honoured here with Oliver Knussen conducting Harrison Birtwistle as a superbly laconic Soldier - it sounds as though he couldn't care less when his luck is down; the despondency is glorious - and George Benjamin makes a deliciously supercilious Devil. The contrast is bizarre and joyous, perhaps tinged with a darker message akin to Yeats's The Second Coming. Harriet Walter narrates adeptly; the playing of the Royal Academy's Manson Ensemble is taut, fearless and detailed. In typical Knussen programming, the rest of the disc is a web of composers commemorating each other in tender miniatures, including the tributes to Stravinsky by Peter Maxwell Davies and Birtwistle.

 


Bookmark and Share


Related Links

Igor StravinskyIgor Stravinsky
Oliver KnussenOliver Knussen
Royal Academy of MusicRoyal Academy of Music
Stravinsky: The Soldier's TaleStravinsky: The Soldier's Tale