chapter  7
24 Pages

Hamlet, King Lear and Their Companions: The Other Side of Film Music

This chapter attempts to show how Shostakovich placed equal value on applied and academic music, taking two of his last films, produced by Grigorii Kozintsev, as examples. In spite of the prevailing idea that Shostakovich’s film music was a secondary area of his creative work, there are many elements of the films Hamlet and King Lear that demonstrate otherwise: the composer had a serious and penetrating creative attitude towards cinema, and the music he wrote for films was just as primal and inspired as his compositions in non-applied genres. A comparison of the music of these films with instrumented non-programmatic works that appeared at the same time (the Fourteenth Symphony, and the Ninth, Eleventh and Thirteenth Quartets) provides graphic evidence of this.