Suite from L'Histoire du Soldat for Clarinet, Violin and Piano
The Suite from LíHistoire du Soldat for Clarinet, Violin and Piano was arranged by Stravinsky in 1919 for a chamber music festival at the behest of his main financial backer. The original, which was premiered to great acclaim in 1918, called for a narrator, actors, dancers and seven instrumentalists, of which the violin and clarinet played the most important role. The work was based on a text by Charles Ferdinand Ramuz and tells the story of a soldier and the devil. Stravinsky wrote that the scraping sound of the violin represents the soul of the soldier. In the Suite, the piano takes the place of the percussion section in the original and represents the devil. The work represents Stravinsky's break with his earlier Russian period and his fascination with the new American jazz which was making its way to Europe. In its original version, the work has remained quite popular, but few are familiar with it in his wonderful Suite, which is was a remarkably fine arrangement and every bit as effective as the original.
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), one of the most famous and influential composers of the 20th century, needs no introduction. He wrote in virtually every genre but is perhaps best remembered for his ground-breaking ballet music.