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24 September 2014
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The Soldier's Tale – Kenneth Cranham conscripted by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra


One of the UK's leading actors, Scottish-born Kenneth Cranham, will join members of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at Glasgow City Halls on Thursday 4 December to perform Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale, in a live broadcast on BBC Radio 3.


This unique piece of music-theatre combines black humour and deep pathos in the story of a man who makes a pact with the Devil, with Cranham playing the combined roles of the Soldier, the Devil and Narrator.


This concert forms part of the BBC SSO's Russian Winter series and combines the youthful ardour of Rachmaninov's First Piano Concerto, performed by Mikhail Rudy, with the powerful theatricality of Stravinsky's 1918 mini-drama.


The concert is conducted by the orchestra's Associate Guest Conductor, Stefan Solyom.


Kenneth Cranham, originally from Dunfermline, has been a major figure in British stage, TV and film for nearly all his adult life.


He remains well-loved as the title character from the Eighties series Shine On Harvey Moon, and is widely acclaimed for his appearances in such diverse pieces as Oliver!, Z Cars, Reilly: Ace Of Spies, The Merchant Of Venice, Brideshead Revisited, Merlin, Tess Of The D'urbervilles and the celebrated BBC/HBO series, Rome.


Cranham, who has also given compelling performances in Layer Cake and Dalziel And Pascoe, has recently begun a new comedy drama for BBC Radio 4, Spending My Inheritance, in addition to narrating a history of the Swing Era for BBC Four.


Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale was devised in 1918 as a small-scale, low budget theatre piece that could be toured on the back of a lorry.


Using only a band of seven musicians, the story is based on a Russian morality tale, and the music turns its back on a Russian style in favour of Tango and Ragtime, with an especially prominent solo part for the violin.


This is a huge contrast to the romantic grandeur of Rachmaninov's first piano concerto.


Rachmaninov was not quite 18 when he wrote his first concerto, and the exhilarating self-assurance of the piece is astonishing for someone that young.


It is presented here in its final revision, performed by the eminent Russian pianist, Mikhail Rudy.


Each Thursday night concert in the BBC SSO's Russian Winter series begins at 7.00pm, to allow for a simultaneous live broadcast on Radio 3.


Notes to Editors


Thursday 4 December

Russian Winter 3

City Halls, Glasgow, 7.00pm

Broadcast live on BBC Radio 3


Stravinsky Scherzo à la Russe

Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1

Stravinsky The Soldier's Tale


Kenneth Cranham, narrator (The Soldier's Tale)

Mikhail Rudy, piano

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Stefan Solyom, conductor


Pre-Concert Prelude (6.15pm in the Recital Room): Stephen Johnson discusses The Soldier's Tale.


Post-Concert Coda (approximately 10 minutes after main concert): Mikhail Rudy gives a short recital including Prokofiev's Prelude Op.12, No. 7 in C major.


Tickets: call 0141353 8000. Also available via






Category: Radio 3; Proms & Orchestras
Date: 24.11.2008
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