Monday, March 7, 2011

Kozintsev and Hamlet

This is my second post on musical scores of Hamlet. Here is a link to the first post in the series.

In 1964, Grigori Kozintsev directed a dark and mysterious version of Hamlet shot in Denmark. From the scenes that I have seen it is obvious that Kozinsev was trying to bring out the dark tenants of one of Shakespeare's most famous works. The music, as well as the camera angels, play to these dark tenants as well. As I watched the scene below, I could not help but feel a little bit frightened as Hamlet enters Ophelia's bed chamber. As Leonard notes in her book, "the music for Kozintsev's production was composed by Dmitri Shostakovich, who had already composed music for two different productions of Hamlet before he worked on the 1964 film" (16). To describe Shostakovich's work, Leonard quotes J. Lawrence Gunther who said,"Shostakovich's score counterpoints, highlights, and comments on the action itself, transforming each shot into a microcosmic Gesamtkunstwerk, a unified work of art in image and sound." I could not agree more with Lawrence's quote. The music and images join together to create a mood that is undeniably dark, yet accurate in their portrayal of Hamlet's story.

Here is a YouTube clip from Kozintsev's work: