Musicians of The Cleveland Orchestra will join forces with GroundWorks DanceTheater and The Cleveland Play House to present a new production of Stravinsky's A Soldier's Tale, featuring a new libretto by Kurt Vonnegut. The performances April 22-25 are part of the Play House's fifth annual FusionFest. The following preview of A Soldier's Tale at FusionFest appears in program books of The Cleveland Orchestra.
A Soldier’s Tale
by Elaine Guregian
A Soldier’s Tale (L’Histoire du Soldat) premiered in World War
Early in his career, Vonnegut became famous for transforming his experience as a soldier who took shelter in an underground meat locker during the bombing of
“Kurt Vonnegut devoted his life, including his version of A Soldier’s Tale, to writing about the folly of war, the ridiculousness or even the silliness of the notion that we can accomplish something or even make ourselves a better society by slaughtering tens of thousands of people in that society,” Gordon says. “He’s not necessarily anti-war. He just said that we should never forget how stupid the notion of war is.”
Stravinsky’s choice of instruments to play in A Soldier’s Tale is a distinctively bright, sometimes raucous, blending of winds, strings, and percussion. In 2006, composer-conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen (then music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic) created a companion piece called Catch and Release, using the same instrumentation: clarinet, bassoon, trumpet (substituting for the original cornet), trombone, percussion, violin, and double bass. Salonen’s 22-minute, three-movement piece premiered in
Shimotakahara says of Catch and Release, “It’s dynamic, it’s so moving — I was immediately attracted to it. It made me think of a lot of old movie scores. It was almost like seeing a collage of all these wonderful moments from different old films.”
FusionFest presents A Soldier's Tale and Catch and Release, April 22-25 (Thursday and Friday at 8:00 p.m., Saturday at 5:00 p.m., and Sunday at 4:00 p.m.), at the Baxter Theatre,
Click here to listen to Cleveland Orchestra Assistant Conductor Tito Muñoz, Cleveland Play House Associate Director Seth Gordon, and GroundWorks DanceTheater Artistic Director David Shimotakahara talk about the new production.