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Igor Stravinsky: An American Soldier's Tale

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This is the first recording of Stravinsky's L'histoire du Soldat replacing the original text by Ferdinand Ramuz with a version that Kurt Vonnegut wrote in 1993. Stravinsky's score is intact, but Vonnegut's new take on the subject retains nothing from Ramuz's original. Vonnegut's version is a dramatic account of the case of Private Eddie Slovik, the first American soldier executed for desertion since the Civil War, in France in 1945. (This is one of the few classical recordings to come with a parental advisory warning.) The narration has four characters: Private Slovik, the General, the M.P., and Caroline the Red Cross nurse, who act out and describe the events leading up to Slovik's death. Vonnegut weaves his new tale into the existing music so naturally and brilliantly that it's hard to believe he hadn't actively collaborated with the composer on it. The historical specificity and visceral urgency of his rhymed text make the music seem even more bitterly sardonic than the original. In this superb... Hide synopsis

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