Stravinsky had first met the Swiss writer, C.F.Ramuz in 1915 and worked with him on the French version of Renard and Les Noces so it was not surprising when he again collaborated with him on the L’Histoire du Soldat a few years later. The war had understandably affected the financial situation and both composer and librettist wanted to write something which could be produced simply and economically. L’Histoire du Soldat is scored for dancer, three speaking parts and seven instruments and has proved to be successful on an almost unbelievable international scale since its first performance in Lausanne in September 1918 (described in the programme as "to be read, played and danced”). The story tells of the Soldier who has a magic violin which he trades with the Devil who promises to fulfil his every wish. One of his many encounters involves his curing the lovely daughter of a King but throughout the piece the Devil proves a tricky protagonist.
The Concert Suite consists of the following Movements:
1. The Soldier’s March
2. Airs by a Stream
4. Royal March
5. The Little Concert
6. Three Dances: Tango – Waltz – Ragtime
7. Dance of the Devil
8. Grand Choral
9. Triumphal March of the Devil
and was first performed in London’s Wigmore Hall in July 1920.