L’Histoire du Soldat, is one of a handful of the most important and distinctive musical works of the 20th century. No child should grow up without getting to know this music, and parents who care about their children becoming culturally literate will want to take advantage of this remarkable CD. As produced byMaestro Classics, The Soldier’s Tale surmounts the stereotype that classical music is boring and 20th century music unapproachable. This album is most definitely not boring, and it is unquestionably “listener-friendly.”
The story opens with a soldier named Joseph stopping to rest by the roadside as he walks home to his village. Joseph has just taken out his violin and begun to play when an old man appears, offering to trade a mysterious book that can reveal the future in exchange for the violin. When the old man, who is really the Devil, convinces Joseph that the powers of the book can be used to gain great wealth, the soldier agrees, and the inexorable wheels of this Faustian morality play begin to turn. Joseph eventually recognizes that he has lost his family and friends, and that money does not bring happiness. To escape the curse, he engages the Devil in a game of cards, loses his ill-gotten wealth, but regains his violin. Joseph journeys to another land where he plays a set of dances in order restore to health a melancholy princess and win her hand in marriage. However, the Devil has one more card up his sleeve: Joseph may never set foot outside the kingdom. In time, tempted to return to his home, the soldier decides to cross the border, but as he does, he falls back into the Devil’s clutches and is turned to stone.
With eminent conductor Stephen Simon directing members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and narration by Yadu (a.k.a. Dr. Konrad Czynski), The Soldier’s Tale is much more than your typical “classical music for kids” CD. Stephen Simon presents valuable information that enhances the meaning of the music. Stravinsky’s music is so accessible that it really isn’t necessary to know anything about the way it was composed in order to enjoy and appreciate its very unique sound. However, with a little background from the Maestro, young listeners can learn a great deal about how this music connects to history and culture. Even though Stravinsky was still a young man when he composed L’Histoire du Soldat, he had traveled widely, spending time in most of the cultural capitals of Europe and Russia, and had already composed music that was world famous. Maestro Simon not only paints a portrait of Stravinsky and his times, he also expands upon exactly what was in Stravinsky’s music that created so much discussion and is still so relevant to what we hear in concert halls today.
Maestro Classics recordings are available at maestroclassics.com, amazon.com, and other major distributors and retailers. In addition to The Soldier’s Tale, the Stories in Music series includes My Name is Handel: The Story of Handel’s “Water Music,” Peter and the Wolf, The Tortoise and the Hare, The Story of Swan Lake, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Casey at the Bat, and Juanita the Spanish Lobster (also available in Spanish).
I am a huge fan of classical music, and have been for a very long time. There is something just so relaxing and peace about sitting with a cup of tea, a book and some classical music playing in the background that just makes my day. I have a few favorite pieces like Carnival of the Animals, Peter and Wolf, The Four Seasons, and Canon in D.
As an early childhood educator, I know the importance of music in the educating young children. Exposure to a variety of music genres is a great way to children about sound, tempo, and more.
And in my profession, I have been able to combine the use of classical music with other subjects like art, math, science and dramatic play.
Recently, I had the opportunity to review Maestro Classics, The Soldiers Tale and it is amazing. The actual CD comes with more than music. With each Maestro Classics CD, you will receive an activity book for children that tells a story, has a crossword and introduces children to the various instruments of the Orchestra. The music is completed by the infamous London Philharmonic Orchestra and spectacular. I also very much appreciated that the CD introduces children and adults alike to backgrounds of the composer, and the story behind the music. Also included is a dance remix of The Soldiers Tale, and it was so fun dancing with my girls to it!
I highly recommend The Soldiers Tale from Maestro Classics and give it a huge thumbs up!
BUY IT: You can purchase The Soldier's Tale from Maestro Classics online here.
The Soldier's Tale
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***I received a complimentary copy of the above CD, courtesy of Waldmania PR, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***