Boosey & Hawkes Composer News

Search Catalogue

FEATURED COMPOSERS
Shostakovich, DmitriHamlet op. 32 (1931-32) 45'
Incidental music to Shakespeare's tragedy for mezzo-soprano, baritone, female actor, male actor and small orchestra

Scoring
1.picc.1.1.1-2.2.1.1-timp-perc:tgl/tamb/SD/cyms/BD/gong-strings.
Abbreviations (PDF).

Territory
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the UK, the countries of the Commonwealth (excluding Canada), Republic of Ireland, mainland China, Korea and Taiwan.

World Premiere
5/19/1932
Vachtangov Theatre, Moscow
Nikolai Akimov, director / Vachtangov Theatre


Repertoire Note  
Incidental music to Shakespeare’s tragedy.

This was certainly no ordinary production of ‘Hamlet’. The avant-garde director and designer, Nikolai Akimov, wanted a scandalously modern production, not a tragedy but a darkly absurd satire. Everything in the show was back to front: Hamlet was fat and horrible, Ophelia was a tart and Claudius was weak and likeable.

To reflect this improbable vision Shostakovich wrote one of his very finest sequences of incidental music, a long, rich and mercurial score that flickers between laughter and outrageous pomposity, with echoes of Offenbach and cabaret music, and moments of surprising and genuine pathos. At the time when he was working on this piece, Shostakovich was also writing his opera ‘Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District’ and he used ‘Hamlet’ to try out many of the new dramatic ideas and devices that were going to be so important in his opera.

This is a fascinating and compelling piece that may either be performed complete, with voices singing and speaking Shakespeare’s lines, or as a brilliant orchestral suite, op.32a.

Note by Gerard McBurney

Recommended Recording
Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Dmitri Yablonsky
Naxos 8557446

Click here to purchase this CD set from our online shop








Mailing List

Sign up for news updates and offers via email

SIGN UP
Audio Visual Gallery
Get Adobe Flash player
ONLINE SCORES

Explore our library of over 1000 online scores

VIEW SCORES
FAQ | Contact Us | Links | About Us | Shop Directory | Careers | Terms of use | RSS Index