MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around   2022
 57,903 reviews
   and more ... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here
Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount


Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)
L’histoire du soldat (The Soldier’s Tale) [51:00]
Nederlands Dans Theater Jiří Kylián (choregraphy)
Dancers: Soldier - Nacho Duarte; Devil – Aryeh Weiner; Alter ego – Gerald Tibbs; Mother – Teresina Mosco; Fiancée - Fiona Lummis; Friend of the Soldier - Lionel Hoche; Princess - Karin Heyninck
Other roles: Sabine Kupferberg, Brigitte Martin, France Nguyen, Jean-Louis Cabanè, Martin Corri, Shaun Amyot, Glen Eddy, Phillip Taylor and James Vincent
Narrators: Story teller - Gabriel Cattland; Devil – Phillip Clay; Soldier – Pierre-Marie Escourrou
Musicians: Sjef Douwes (clarinet); Kees Hülsman (violin); Hendrick Jan Lindhout (trumpet); John Mostard (bassoon); Rudolf Senn (double bass); Henk Ummels (trombone); Geer De Zeeuw (percussion)/David Porcelijn
Sound: PCM Stereo
Audio language: French with subtitles in English and German
Picture: 4:3; Region 0 DVD5 NTSC
ARTHAUS MUSIK 100133 DVD [51:00]

His three great pre-First World War ballets and the opera Le Rossignol all employ large or even very large orchestras. By contrast L’histoire du soldat employs a small group of seven musicians together with three actors and a dancer. It was intended to be capable of being toured as a kind of entertainment “to be read, played and danced”. Although performances and recordings of the Suite drawn from it are not uncommon I am in no doubt that the music works best when heard in conjunction with the original text and action.

In the version seen here the action is expanded by the use of additional dancers with the actors kept out of sight. In other ways Stravinsky’s creation with the writer Charles Ramuz is treated reasonably faithfully. We see the Soldier’s mother and Fiancée as well as a few invented characters but the original plot is retained albeit somewhat expanded. Straightaway may I express my pleasure at a producer who does not think they know better than the original authors.

The plot is that of a typical folk ballad. It tells of a soldier returning from service who encounters the Devil who wants to buy his violin. In due course he succeeds, thus in effect obtaining the soldier’s soul. The soldier tricks the Devil into returning it, but in the end he is back in his clutches again.

Stravinsky’s music includes marches, chorales and a group of three dances – tango, valse and ragtime. The sound produced by an instrumental group including violin, double bass, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone and - given especial prominence – percussion is wholly individual. Even within the composer’s large output it remains unique in its soundworld, which is very well captured here under David Porcelijn and cleanly recorded. However the extension of the dancing in this version means that the choreography tends to attract the listener’s attention most. In its extraordinary and often hyperactive way it does tend to reduce the prominence of the music. The wonderfully characterful movement given to the Devil is especially memorable, This must present an even more formidable challenge in live performances of this version as he is on stage for very large parts of the action. The ballet was apparently filmed in a studio rather than a theatre, permitting both more space and more interesting camera angles.

Although I still believe that in principle the original form of the work, in which dance, acting and music are equal partners, remains preferable, this is a performance of such terrific panache and individuality as to overcome any objections.

John Sheppard

Previous review (Blu-ray): Dave Billinge