Nicola Benedetti - Stravinsky: The Soldier's Tale - The Scotsman
It happened big time last weekend, but in a way, you might argue, that intensified the devilish antics of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, which violinist Nicola Benedetti player-directed as the culmination of her week-long residency. It’s that old Faustian yarn about the devil taking the soul (the fiddle) of a naive mortal (the Soldier) under false pretences, for it all to end in despair. The stage element was practical and economic. Yes, it would have been more complete with dancers to add pungency to Stravinsky’s grotesque parodies, but with Sir Thomas Allen narrating (and responsible for the straightforward stage presentation), Anthony Flaum as the hoodwinked Soldier, and the versatile Siobhan Redmond as the multifaceted Devil, the tale was tantalisingly told.
Benedetti and her six hand-picked instrumental collaborators were an impeccable ensemble, a paragon of equals, whose individual virtuosity ignited the music’s acid theatricality.