Magazine article Gramophone

Stravinsky: The Soldier's Tale

Magazine article Gramophone

Stravinsky: The Soldier's Tale

Article excerpt

Stravinsky The Soldier's Tale Didier Sand re Narrator Denis Podalydes Soldier Michel Vuillermoz Devil Olivier Charlier vn Members of the Orchestre de Paris / Jean-Christophe Gayot Harmonia Mundi (F) HMM90 2354 (58' * DDD)

Hard on the heels of LSO Live's austere English-language Soldier's Tale comes this version in the original French from Harmonia Mundi. Both have been released to coincide with the centenary of the premiere, and the differences between them are far greater than those of language. Where LSO Live presents the work as a chamber piece, with a single actor (Malcolm Sinclair) and the players directed from the leader's chair by Roman Simovic, Harmonia Mundi offers us something altogether more theatrical: the cast comes from the Comedie-Francaise; Olivier Charlier is the starry violinist; and the 'Ensemble Instrumental', its members drawn from the Orchestre de Paris, is directed by Jean-Christophe Gayot, better known, perhaps, as an oboist than as a conductor.

As one might expect, it's superbly acted, though the use of three speakers also throws into relief the stature of Sinclair's achievement in tackling the work on his own. Didier Sandre is the worldly wise Narrator, observing and participating in the tale he is telling with bitter irony. Michel Vuillermoz makes a seductive, insidious Devil, though the great performance comes from Denis Podalydes's beautifully realised Soldier, touching, naive and prone to both genuine sorrow and self-pity when his schemes come awry. …

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