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The Soldier's Tale



11:00 — Conservatoire de musique de Genève

Series Chamber music
Chambre music


Linda Bärlundviolin

Ivy Wongdouble bass

Michel Westphalclarinet

Francisco Cerpa Románbassoon

Giuliano Sommerhaldercornet

Matteo de Lucatrombone

Michael Tschamperpercussion

Antoine Courvoisiernarrator

Igor Stravinsky
L'Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier's Tale), a musical story based on the text by Charles Ferdinand Ramuz

Approximately 1 hour (without intermission)

The music

A work which has since become legendary in our region for numerous reasons, The Soldier's Tale was premiered in Lausanne in 1918 and conducted by Ernest Ansermet. The musicians playing at this concert would soon become part of the OSR, which was founded only a few weeks later.

The story of this soldier, a deserter marked by the Faustian myth, forever embodies the friendship that bound Stravinsky, Ramuz and Ansermet together at the time. At the same time it underlines the precariousness of an era marked by the First World War and the Spanish flu pandemic, which claimed between 20 and 50 million lives worldwide and 25,000 in Switzerland alone.

After the gigantism of The Rite of Spring and before his long neo-classical period, Stravinsky experimented with minimalism, using of seven musicians to represent all the families of the symphony orchestra; strings, woodwind, brass and percussion. The music reflects the trends of the time with the use of early jazz, tango, and the caricature of protestant chorales. As for the story itself, it comes from a Russian tale told by Stravinsky to Ramuz who transported it to the Vaud countryside somewhere between Denges and Denezy...

OSR Live

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Jonathan Nott


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Maurice Ravel


Jonathan Nott


Recorded on 15 November 2017 at Victoria Hall, Geneva