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Music with Ease > Classical Music > Concert Guide: Nationalist Era > Fantasia, "Hamlet". Op. 67 (Tchaikovsky)

Fantasia, "Hamlet". Op. 67

Pytor Il'yich Tchaikovsky

The "Hamlet" Fantasia followed not long after Tchaikovsky’s "Manfred" Symphony and is fittingly dedicated to Grieg. It opens with a long introduction, describing Hamlet’s grief over the death of the King, in the cellos and violins, which have a very dramatic theme, worked up to a climax, and followed by twelve successive strokes in the muted horns, representing the midnight hour and followed by the ghost theme in the horns, trombones, tuba, and double basses, accompanied by trumpet calls and string tremolos. These lead up to the main section of the fantasia. The opening theme, sombre and agitated, represents Hamlet’s indecision and yet resolute purpose, and is followed by the second theme, which indicates the grace and pathos of Ophelia, given out by the woodwinds with string accompaniment, thence extending to the strings. This is followed by a march rhythm in the brasses, repeated in the strings and woodwinds. The first theme returns by a short transition. In the third section of the overture the thematic material is worked up with great intensity, with a subsidiary passage in oboe, followed by the second theme. The Coda is long and agitated, and is constructed mainly upon the second theme and march. This is worked up to a strenuous climax, after which the first theme reappears and the fantasia comes to a close, pianissimo.

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See also:
Middle Ages Music
Renaissance Music
Baroque Era Music
Classical Era Music
Romantic Era Music
Nationalist Era Music
Turn of Century Music

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