Related Reviews
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 >>
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