Matrix Ensemble

CHRISTOPHER SMITH Norwich Playhouse (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)

CHRISTOPHER SMITH

Norwich Playhouse (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)

Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale is a timeless spooky yarn spun by a storyteller to lively instrumental accompaniment that is spiced with cheeky parody.

Ninety years after its first performance, the work still comes across as strikingly modern. Yeast Culture's imaginative visuals added an extra dimension. A sequence of simple black-and-white sketches of the hero being drawn as we looked on neatly created a sense of movement.


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Relaxed and confident, Ian McMillan spoke the narrative in the natural style that is his trademark. Robert Ziegler was the conductor of the Matrix Ensemble's half dozen soloists who put colour and rhythm into a particularly rich score.

Described by its subtitle as A Sound Adventure, Outstruments received its first performance.

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David Knotts composed it as a companion piece to the Soldier's Tale and the text came from Ian McMillan's fertile imagination. He naturally relished its witty words and amusing rhymes. The plot was a little short on human interest and, regrettably, there were no illustrations.

The programme as a whole was rather demanding for what was billed as a children's event.

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