As you can hear,
The Soldier plays very well.
Even out here in the back of beyond, he has attracted an audience.
A little old man who carries a butterfly net
A little old man, dear friends, who is, in fact, the Devil.
The Devil stops to listen for a while, he is intrigued.
He quietly approaches the soldier and touches his arm.
The Soldier, startled, springs back in alarm.
By! Oh! You gave me a fright.
Apologies, excuse me, hah? Could you by any chance be persuaded to
Give me your fiddle?
What! Don't be daft. Why would I? No way!
Erhh? Very well then, I'll buy it, Hm? What if I pay?
Nay..., I don't think so, no, what can I say?
This fiddle of mine is just not for sale.
The devil puts down his butterfly net
And holds out a book,
A book bound in red, somewhat tattered and torn,
A book he's been carrying under his arm.
I'll give you this book for it.
No, I can't bloody read.
Makes no difference,
With this book, there's really no need.
It's more than a book: it's wealth untold!
You've only to open it, and lo and behold.
Gold? Well, I suppose I could just have a look.
Certainly, be my guest, here, take the book!
The soldier takes the book and looks at the first page.
Phew! Arbi, arbi, trage... arbitrage! Collateral promissory notes,
Going long, going short, numbers and quotes.
I can read it alright, but, Pfeef! it's all Greek to me.
Ah, you'll get the hang of it, just wait and see.
Alright, but look, if it's worth all that money, this magic book,
Well! This fiddle of mine, this little job,
I have to admit, only cost a few bob.
So, it's a bargain, you could say a steal!
Alright then, ok!
That's a done deal!
The exchange made, the Soldier pores over his new acquisition.
On sight, collateral, note of hand, sell and buy market quotes for Friday 31st of July...
But today's only Tuesday, July 28th:
By gum, this here book is ahead of the date.
If I'm not mistook, this book can divine,
Things before they actually 'appen in time.
The Soldier, scratches his head as
The potential significance of precognition sinks in.
Meanwhile the Devil has been scraping away at the violin.
But producing, only, I'm afraid to say, a series of hideous squeaks
Ach! Hey please, please come back to my place? What do you say?
Why? What's up?
What's up? Well this damn fiddle won't play.
Please, come back and teach me, I'm just a little bit slow.
I'd like to, but I've only ten days, leave to go home.
What if I lend you my carriage and pair?
On foot you'll take ten days just to get there.
Ummm? My mother will worry so, if I'm late.
Come come, one day? One day she can't wait?
Yeah, but my girlfriend's expecting me too.
Trust me, you'll make it up to her soon.
This place of yours, is it far away?
Not far, two, maybe three days, out of your way,
You'll be wined and dined, all found, full bed and board.
Then, I'll take you home in my carriage, just like a lord.
Come on now, come on, vat do you say?
You'll get home sooner, by maybe two days, and you'll be rich,
Rich as the King of Cathay.
What sort of food do you serve, did you say?
I didn't, but it's steak, the finest fillet, with fried potatoes and onions three times a day.
And to drink?
Why, Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Sauterne or Champagne,
From ze best French Ch'teau, the finest domaines.
Is smoking allowed?
Allowed? Allowed! My dear chap, we have only the finest Cuban cigars,
Meerschaum pipes, originally made for the Tsars.
We have Sobrani Black Russian or perhaps, more exotic by far,
I believe we may still have an Egyptian hookah.
Well, it's the same old story, always the same,
We fall for it over and over again.
Something for nothing, that same old trick!
Anyway, Joseph goes home with old Nick.
And, true to his word, the old boy doesn't cheat,
New clothes, a soft bed, and plenty to eat,
And each shows the other, as they undertook,
The way of the fiddle and the way of the book.
Yes, the old fellow kept to his word.
Two days well spent, and then on the third,
The old man wakes Joseph as soon as it's light, and he asks,
Did you sleep well? Did you have a good night?
I did, sleep well, I slept very well, yes.
And the Devil looks on as Joe gets up to dress.
Have you any complaints?
Right you are.
Says old Nick,
Are you ready to go?
And just as promised, already there,
Below in the courtyard at the foot of the stair
Is an uncommonly elegant carriage and pair,
And the Devil cries,
And cracks his whip!
And then off they go at a jolly good lick.
Joe nervously watching the thundering feet,
Holding on with both hands to the edge of his seat, in fact, gripping the edges with all his might,
Gripping so hard that his knuckles turn white.
Hold on! Hold on tight!
Cries the little old man.
I am holding on, just as hard as I can!
He'd like to jump out but he hasn't a chance.
Just look at my thoroughbreds, see how they prance.
Hold on, young man, hold on tight!
Good grief, I think they're about to take flight!
And so, with one final almighty effort
The team lunges forward into the traces.
The carriage suddenly takes to the sky, and the Devil cries out,
Now we're off to the races.
Rattling and rolling from side to side,
Joseph is certain he's going to die.
His hair stands on end, his eyes are on stalks,
He's beginning to wish he'd decided to walk.
His head is swimming, he's close to a faint.
The Devil is laughing,
Ha, Ha! Have you any complaints?
Faster and faster and faster they soar.
Over patchworks of fields and steeples and woods,
And rivers and valleys and copses and hills,
When suddenly, suddenly,
Time stands still,
The mirage fades like mist on a moor,
And then, everything, is just, as it all was, before
- The Soldiers March
- The Soldier Is Tired
- Airs By A Stream
- As You Can Hear...
- The Soldiers March (Reprise)
- Eventually, Joseph Reaches His Home Village...
- The Soldier, Disconsolate...
- Pastorale (Reprise)
- The Soldier, Slowly Coming Back To Himself...
- Airs By A Stream (Reprise): To Stretch Out On The Grass...
- Hey Satan, You Bastard...
- Airs By A Stream (2nd Reprise)
- Nowt To Be Gained Here...
- The Soldiers March (2nd Reprise): Down A Hot And Dusty Track...
- He Doesn't Even Know Himself...
- The Soldiers March (3rd Reprise): Will He Take The Road To Home...
- He Doesn't Have A Home Anymore...
- The Royal March
- So All Was Arranged...
- Later That Night...
- The Little Concert - Light Floods The Eastern Sky...
- The Soldier, With A Confident Air...
- Three Dances: Tango
- Three Dances: Waltz
- Three Dances: Ragtime
- So First A Tango...
- The Devil's Dance
- The Devil, Confused...
- The Little Chorale
- The Devil Recovers Some Of His Wits
- The Devil's Song: All Right! You'll Be Safe At Home...
- Hm, A Fair Warning...
- Spring, Summer, Autumn...
- Grand Chorale (Part 1)
- Grand Chorale (Part 2)
- Steady Now...
- Grand Chorale (Part 3)
- Steady, Just Smell The Flowers...
- Grand Chorale (Part 4)
- Now I Have Everything...
- Grand Chorale (Part 5)
- The Princess, All Excited...
- Grand Chorale (Part 6)
- And So, Off They Go...
- Triumphal March Of The Devil