Igor Stravinsky revolutionized musical composition in the early twentieth century. The Russian?s work during his lifetime secured him a definite place in history, and his pieces are constantly re-imagined by music students across the globe.

Tomorrow, ten Eastman students and one faculty member will interpret his hour-long masterpiece, ?The Soldier?s Tale.?

Another piece, his ?Fanfare for a New Theater,? will start the program. The ?Fanfare? was written for two trumpets and is over in a flash, lasting less than a minute. Eastman junior Jason Price and sophomore Robbie LePage will perform.

Junior Sean Newhouse, a music major at UR?s College of Arts and Sciences, will conduct the entire performance.

Newhouse adapted the libretto of ?The Soldier?s Tale? only slightly from its original version for tomorrow?s performance. The plot-line of this mixed-media work is based on a story by Stravinsky?s friend, the Swiss novelist C. F. Ramuz. The version of the tale to be seen and heard Friday contains three speaking actors in addition to a small instrumental ensemble.

Ramuz?s story is about a soldier who makes a bargain with the devil, who is disguised as a man. The soldier exchanges his old fiddle for a book that the devil promises will bring him wealth. The deal appears lucrative until the soldier realizes that the devil stole three years from his life.

The soldier attempts to restore his life, and is successful for a time. However, the weak-willed man is soon drawn back toward the path of greed and, inevitably, his destruction.

The soldier?s story can appear one-dimensional at first glance. However, the work as a whole is fascinating when more closely examined.

For one thing, Stravinsky?s music fleshes out the dramatic tale, combining ragtime, tango and other contemporary musical idioms in a sequence of movements that range from tuneful to dissonant.

?It presents significant challenges to the performers,? Newhouse said. ?Much of the writing is virtuosic and demands fierce concentration.?

Also adding substance to the storyline is a knowledge of Stravinsky?s world at the time. ?The Soldier?s Tale? was published one year after Russia?s Bolshevik Revolution. It was a tumultuous year for the Stravinsky family, which was unable to receive royalties on Stravinsky?s music and was in dire financial straits. Living in Switzerland as refugees, the Stravinskys decided that year not to return to Russia.

The music of ?The Soldier?s Tale? evokes emotions ranging from pain to elation. It helps tell Ramuz?s story in a way that was completely unique in the composer?s time, and still holds its own against music by today?s composers ? musicians who are willing to go to wild extremes in order to be considered innovative.

Both ?The Soldier?s Tale? and ?Fanfare for a New Theater? will be performed at Reformation Lutheran Church, located directly across from the Eastman Student Living Center.

?I?m very excited about this performance,? Newhouse said. ?The instrumental ensemble brings a great deal of energy and personality to the works.?

This free performance will take place tomorrow, April 6, at 7 p.m.



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