One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
 
Tudor



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this from
Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)
L'histoire du soldat (1918)
Nederlands Dans Theater
rec. 1988
Sound Format PCM Stereo
Picture Format 4:3, 1080i (upscaled)
Region Worldwide
Narration in French
Subtitles: English and German
ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 108134 [51.00]

Stravinsky's plan for The Soldier's Tale was for a performance involving seven instrumentalists, three actors, the Soldier, the Devil, the Narrator, and one dancer, the Princess. It was, recalled Stravinsky, performed on a platform about the size of two armchairs.

The Netherlands Dance Theatre have been more generous with their space in this choreographed version for seven solo dancers and a corps de ballet. Choreography is by Jiř Kylin. There are no actors and the French narration is overdubbed and subtitled for just English- and German- speaking audiences. The music is played 'straight' with one or two sound-effects and a handful of additional visual effects beyond a filmed staging. One suspects Stravinsky would have accepted the logic of this, though since he was notoriously critical of other people's efforts, he would probably have disapproved. For viewing at home this makes for a diverting and enjoyable fifty minutes. The plain staging has minimal props. The dancers are lithe and fluent in their movements as one has come to expect from the Netherlands Dance Theatre. The costumes are appropriate to the plot. The Princess is suitably alluring and the Devil is appropriately devilish. The instrumentalists are first class and play this marvellous score accurately and beautifully.

The sound and video have been mixed in post production so that no stage noise is present. At about 36 years old this all looks and sounds rather primitive. The sound is OK but nowhere near modern standards. The video, in 4:3 format, looks not to have been transferred from film but digitised and upscaled to HD from analogue video tape. Fringing is visible throughout if viewed on a large screen. The gap between this and a modern production is emphasised by the preceding trailer for a modern ballet production in beautifully clear high-definition video and sound. It might have been wiser to trail another old archive issue that did not bring the age of the main film to the viewers' attention so forcefully.

An interesting performance from the archive but I suspect purchasers of Blu-ray issues at full price expect something more modern and also expect more than 50 minutes of content. At least they could have added another Stravinsky ballet or archive concert. How about Renard or Les Noces? The booklet's anonymous but interesting essay provides the background, the plot and Stravinsky's biography.

Dave Billinge