Anthony Marwood is an outstanding violinist, both as a soloist and a member of the Florestan Trio, but now we know he's no mean actor, and a bit of a dancer, too. He is taking the main role in Lawrence Evans's staging of Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale, acting the part of the soldier and also playing the violin in this strange and rather Faustian story.
Marwood is remarkable. Dressed as an English tommy and delivering his text (in the regular and now a bit dated Flanders and Black translation) with a cockney twang, he invests his violin solos with a rhythmic life and a subtlety of colour that lifts the musical performance on to a different plane.
He's partnered by two fine dancers, Helen Anker as a sexy Princess and Iain Woodhouse as a insidiously plausible Devil, but the production itself is rather hit and miss. There's some desultory use of video projections, and a few bits of nondescript business, while Walter Van Dyk narrates in a slightly arch way. The Soldier's Tale is always problematic - a strange story, awkward dramaturgy - and for all its virtues, Marwood's performance especially, this show doesn't solve them.
Pierre-Laurent Aimard is becoming something of a welcome Aldeburgh regular. Last year's volcanic account of the Concord Sonata was followed this time by a recital that combined Boulez and Elliott Carter with Ravel and Debussy. His account of Night Fantasies, one of Carter's hardest nuts to crack, was extraordinary for its fluency, confidence and clear architecture.
Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit was immense technically, just occasionally lacking a demonic dimension, while a selection from the first book of Debussy's preludes was exquisitely chiselled, a series of black-and-white etchings rather than multi-hued paintings.
· The Soldier's Tale is at the Music Hall, Shrewsbury, tonight. Box office: 01743 281 281. Then touring.