Igor Stravinsky: The Soldier's Tale (Complete in English); Fred Child (Narrator), Jared McGuire (The Soldier), Jeff Biehl (The Devil), Tianwa Yang (violin), Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players, JoAnn Falletta; 1 CD Naxos 8.573537; Recording 905/2015, Release 04/2016 – Review by Remy Franck

I never enjoyed this work as much as in this gorgeous performance, neither in English nor in the French original. I think that the text never worked so well as in this version prepared by Pamela Berlin. There is a naturalness in the spoken texts that gives it a great and immediate appeal without the pathos that we heard in some French versions. The actors here never inflate the text to draw the attention to themselves, they leave it to the text to work on its own terms.

The musical performance under JoAnn Falletta, with Tianwa Yang as the violinist, is outstanding, clear and crispy, beautifully balanced, and rhythmically sharp.

If you want a complete version of this piece and in English, you just don’t’ have any choice: this is the one to have.

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