Search - David Evitts, Igor Stravinsky, Robert Craft :: Histoire du Soldat (Suite); Renard

Histoire du Soldat  (Suite); Renard
David Evitts, Igor Stravinsky, Robert Craft
Histoire du Soldat (Suite); Renard
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (30) - Disc #1


      
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CD Reviews

Stravinsky Miniatures & Arrangements
Ralphus | Goyang, Gynggi-Do Korea (South) | 12/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Stravinsky works collected on this excellent Naxos release are all either little-known or presented in less familiar arrangements - with the exception of 'Histoire du Soldat' which is probably more often heard as a suite (as here) than in the complete version with narrator. It is actually kind of a strange catch-all CD with a mixed bag of miniature oddments and curios alongside better-known works.

Robert Craft directs an excellent performance of 'Histoire'. The popular and charming 'Pastorale' which begins the disc, here in an arrangement for violin and wind quartet, will possibly be enough to have you reaching for this CD and putting it in your player with surprising regularity.

The 'Three Pieces for Clarinet' are a staple of the clarinettist's repertoire and are here appended by a very brief (29 seconds!) piece, 'Pour Picasso' also for solo clarinet. The soloist is the respected Charles Neidich. His technique is flawless, but clarinet players may take issue with aspects of his interpretation. For the lay listener this will be no problem as 'Histoire', 'Pastorale' and possibly 'Renard' will probably be the focus of attention.

'Renard', based on a Russian folktale about a fox disguised as a clergyman that lures a chicken to confess only to attempt to eat it before being chased off by a cat and dog that eventually tear the fox to bits, features the outstanding John Aler. Unfortunately, the disc does not include the lyrics for 'Renard', though, as it is the English version, this is not so much a problem.

The rest of the disc features two sets of songs ('Pribaoutki' and 'Berceuses du Chat') for mezzo-soprano and ensemble, two sets of songs ('Two Balmont Songs' and 'Three Japanese Lyrics') for soprano and ensemble, the 'Scherzo a la Russe' (in its original jazz band arrangement) and Stravinsky's arrangement for wind band of the famous 'Song of the Volga Boatmen'.

A curious collection of pieces indeed! Like me, you will probably find yourself listening to some more than others. The disc is certainly worth its budget price (more, even) for 'Histoire' alone.

It's a mixed up bunch of performers featured on the disc, too. The Philharmonia Orchestra is in here somewhere as is the Orchestra of St. Luke's. Other pieces are performed by various musicians thrown together in a studio. This can be explained by the recording dates that range from 1991 to 2005. None of this matters at all though. The performances are uniformly very good to excellent. The sound quality is excellent too. And Robert Craft's skill and knowledge of Stravinsky certainly can't be questioned.

Lyrics are only provided for the Balmont and Japanese songs. Otherwise the liner notes are useful and interesting enough.
TT = 69'29"

A worthwhile addition to a Stravinsky-lover's collection.
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