This 2009 performance of Igor Stravinsky's L'histoire du Soldat (The Soldier's Tale) is presented as Die Geschichte vom Soldaten, narrated by German actor Dominique Horwitz. Curiously, the CD's accompanying booklet provides only the French libretto, which may confuse even the most astute multilingual listener. Even so, the world-class playing by violinist Kolja Blacher and the superb soloists of the Berlin Philharmonic makes this an excellent choice for anyone seeking a vibrant and stimulating musical performance, textual considerations put to the side. The small ensemble of violin, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, double-bass, and percussion is quite forward in placement, and the dry acoustic gives the instruments a startling 3D quality. Stravinsky's brittle sonorities and pungent dissonances sound marvelous, and the small group's cohesion in rhythmically tricky passages is admirable. The reproduction is clean and surprisingly clear for a standard-issue CD, and the mixing almost puts it on a par with state-of-the-art audiophile recordings. Because the musicianship is so good, the language issue should not keep loyal Stravinsky fans from hearing this rendition, though newcomers to the work may need to seek an appropriate translation elsewhere.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Die Geschichte vom Soldaten (The Soldier's Tale)|