Recorded in 1997, this jewel of Naïve Classique catalogue has been unavailable for several years. As the work is performed at Paris Opéra Comique in April 2014, Naïve is happy to reissue that title featuring prestigious actors and musicians.
’Histoire du Soldat’ (The Soldier’s Tale) came about in a difficult economic context: Diaghilev’s Ballets were no longer touring, due to the war, and the Russian revolution had deprived Stravinsky of his remaining savings. As for Ramuz, some of whose works had been published in France, he was no longer receiving any royalties. Thus, the two friends wondered “Why not write something together which would entail only a limited number of instruments and two or three characters?”
And so Histoire du soldat come into being. Its musical forces were limited: an ensemble of seven instruments representing all the sections of the orchestra plus a highly developed percussion part. The first performance brought together friends and well-known artists, Ernest Ansermet conducted. Initially, their grand project included touring with a portable stage, like the itinerant players of the Middle Ages, but the devastating Spanish influenza epidemic and the armistice of November 1918 put an end to that idea.
Nonetheless, ’Histoire du soldat’ would later be performed regularly, featuring famous names eg Jean Cocteau in the role of the reader (Geneva, 1934), celebrity couple Carole Bouquet and Gérard Depardieu in 1997...
**** (Excellent album)
Giuseppe Rossi - Musica magazine (Italy) - July/August 2014