I’ve got a weak spot for British rock stars narrating over classical music. As a kid, my favourite record was David Bowie Narrates Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. I listened to that shit a few hundred times on my brown and yellow Fisher Price record player. It was fucking magic. Of course, I had no clue who Bowie was. But, as most people describe their first experience with the Thin White Duke, I was instantly mesmerized by his sultry voice and otherworldly demeanour. That single record opened my eyes to both Classical and Rock music. So, if you hear a little bias from me concerning Roger Waters narrating Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, it’s cause it’s fucking there with flashing Freudian lights.
Now why would the frontman for Pink Floyd decide to narrate a 1918 theatrical work? Well, honestly, how is this so different from what he’s always done? Just think of The Wall. You know, that giant storyboard rock opera about a rock star named Pink that struggles with the death of his father after the Second World War that continues to get fucked over by his teachers, his mother, and his marriage which leads to him wallowing in some thick fucking existential crisis and extreme social isolation that comes to be characterized as a big fucking wall despite having fucktons of money. Ya, Waters has been dipping his toes in the classical narrative for a long time now. This is just the first time that he’s dropped that rock star cape. And, let’s just be honest here, a story about a soldier selling his fiddle to the devil for fucktons of money and then eventually wallowing in some thick fucking existential crisis and extreme social isolation cause money doesn’t give him life or the music he wants is, not only eerily similar to The Wall, but a story Rogers would understand better than anyone.
The players on this shit are top class. This is the kind of classical that goes through tons of fucking time changes, and this goes on without a bump or hitch. Water’s voice is perfect for this piece. The gravely British drawl gives this story an extra layer of meaning. And the fact that it’s Roger fucking Waters telling the story about selling the music you love to the devil for money, adds more layers to this shit than a bipolar onion with a philosophy degree. If you’re not used to classical music, I heard from a rock head that if you put this on between the tracks “Vera” and “Bring the Boys Back Home” on The Wall, it’s like you get an extra side mission from fucking 1918. It’s a fantastic listen.