2018 album with the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival Orchestra. Roger has rewritten the text, telling the whole of the harrowing modern fairy tale, playing not just the Soldier, the Devil and the Narrator, but all the other characters as well. Also available on CD.
'The Soldier’s Tale' is a theatrical work “to be read, played, and danced” by three actors (the soldier, the devil, and a narrator) and dancers, accompanied by a septet of instruments. The libretto relates the parable of a soldier who trades his fiddle to the devil in return for unlimited economic gain. The music is scored for a septet of violin, double bass, clarinet, bassoon, cornet or trumpet), trombone, and percussion. The libretto is adapted by Roger Waters from the translation by Michael Flanders and Kitty Black, based on the original text by Charles-Ferdinand Ramus.
Spoiler alert! As the work opens, Joseph, a Russian soldier, marches toward his hometown on leave, pack in tow. (“Marche du soldat”/”The Soldier’s March”) He rests by a stream and rummages through his pack. First he takes out his lucky St. Joseph medallion, then a mirror, then a photograph of his girlfriend. Finally, he finds what he was searching for: his fiddle. He begins to play. (“Petit airs au bord du ruisseau”/”Airs by a Stream”) The devil appears disguised as an old man carrying a butterfly net, but Joseph does not notice him and continues to play. The devil sneaks up on Joseph from behind and startles him.