Magazine article Gramophone

Stravinsky

Magazine article Gramophone

Stravinsky

Article excerpt

Stravinsky

The Soldier's Tale

Fred Child narr Jared McGuire, Jeff Biehl spkrs

Tianwa Yang vn Virginia Arts Festival Players/JoAnn Falletta

Naxos [B] 8 573537 (58' * DDD)

This new version of Stravinsky's morality tale for dancers, actors and musicians was recorded in tandem with a production by Pamela Berlin at the Virginia Arts Festival last year. For UK listeners it might seem a bit un-starry for a work that has always attracted big-name actors, among them John Gielgud, Tom Courtenay and Vanessa Redgrave for recordings in English, and Jean Cocteau and Gerard Depardieu in French. But Fred Child, who narrates the piece here, is the popular presenter of a well-known classical music radio show in the USA, while Jared McGuire (the Soldier) and Jeff Biehl (the Devil), both members of New York's Ensemble Studio Theatre, have distinguished Stateside stage careers.

It's a fine performance all round, in fact. Ensemble values are high, with actors and instrumentalists nicely integrated and a strong sense of give and take that reflects the recording's theatrical origins. Violinist Tianwa Yang is dexterous but unshowy in her all-important solos, but there's never any sense of her attempting to upstage the Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players, all of whom are very much her match in terms of virtuoso refinement. …

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