The classics: May 30th

Stravinsky: The Soldier's Tale. Tianwa Yang (violin), Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players). Naxos CD

Stravinsky wrote this small-scale theatrical work in 1918 towards the end of World War 1.

This is the complete hour-long version for violin soloist and six other instruments.

The trumpeter David Vonderheide (wonderful in Royal March) and percussionist Robert Cross deserve special mention but all excel.

A narrator with two other voices ( the Soldier and the Devil) perform the English rhyming version by Michael Flanders and Kitty Black.

JoAnn Falletta conducts the ensemble in this performance of the popular work that becomes surely the best recording available, suitably crisp and boisterous in its rhythms and beautifully recorded.

Tianwa Yang shines out technically but perhaps could have been even wilder in her solo parts.

Verdict: New life in devilish, jazzy musical romp.

 


Shostakovich: Three Chamber Symphonies. Kiev Soloists, Naxos CD

These were transcribed by Rudolf Barshai (at left on disc's cover), who worked with Shostakovich until the composer's death in 1975.

His transcriptions of Shostakovich's works were ambitious; and they served as a catalyst for many future reworkings from string ensemble to full orchestra.

The composer's String Quartet No.1 became Chamber Symphony for Strings Op.49a "Ein Kleine Symphonie''.

String Quartet No.8 developed into Op.110a, and the third item on this programme was transcribed into Op.83a from String Quartet No.4.

The album was recorded by the Kiev Soloists, conducted by Dmitry Yablonsky in the concert hall of the National Radio of Ukraine, Kiev in October 2014.

Those thrilled by Shostakovich's Symphony No.1 at our recent New Zealand Symphony Orchestra concert will find this music much calmer.

Verdict: Fine performance by chamber orchestra.

- Geoff Adams 


 

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