“Hamlet”. Music for the film. Screen version of hakespeare’s tragedy of the same name. Translation by B. Pasternak.
Scriptwriter and director: G. Kozintsev.
Released on April 19, 1964 in Moscow. “Lenfilm” studios.
First Edition: D. Shostakovich, Collected Works, Vol. 42, Moscow, 1987.
Manuscript: in the archive of the composer’s family.
Opus 116a. Suite from the music for the film “Hamlet”.
2. Ball in the Palace
3. The Ghost
4. In the Garden
5. Hamlet and Ophelia
6. Actors’ entrance and performance
7. Poisoning scene
8. Duel and Hamlet’s Death
First Edition: “Muzgiz” Publishers, Moscow, 1968.
“Speaking about Shostakovich’s music, first of all I should like to say it cannot in any way be termed music for cinema. In general I think Shostakovich’s music cannot be for anything....It exists in its own right and can only be linked with something. It is the composer’s inner world, which conveys something inspired by what he has seen in life or art. Shakespeare is an integral part of Shostakovich’s creative work: it may well be that he is alone among contemporary artists who can adequately impart Shakespeare’s tragic power and the lyricism of his poetry and, in general, Shakespeare’s broad tapestry of life. <...>
Shostakovich was writing the music for the play staged in the Pushkin Bolshoi Drama Theatre. When I first showed Shostakovich the film “Hamlet”, the first thing he said after the preview was that he would not be using a single note of the film music for the theatrical production. He had now seen it all in a different light. Shakespeare was in step with people, with the time. The power of Shostakovich’s music lies in the fact that he was able to make Shakespeare’s thoughts and feelings so important, so relevant in the most profound and most serious sense.
Here we had a strange paradox: in both films - ‘Hamlet’ and ‘King Lear’ - the text had been drastically cut. Shakespeare’s metaphors and hyperboles had been cut. We tried to make the actors play their parts realistically, naturally and convincingly so that the cinema-goers would see the events of the tragedy as real for them. While cutting the verse we tried to convey poetry via music. The crucial role in all of this was that of Shostakovich’s music.
(From an interview given to O. Dvornichenko. Published for the first time)