Boris Pasternak, Claudio Abbado, Dmitri Shostakovich, Grigorij Kozintsev, King Lear, Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Now this is rather different.
Back in 2003, in Ferrara, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Swedish Radio Choir held a curious concert. Grigorij Kozintsev‘s 1970 Russian King Lear was shown on a screen, while the orchestra, conducted by Claudio Abbado, performed a combination of Shostakovich‘s soundtrack and incidental music for a 1940 production of the play.
The movie is very intense, with its stark black and white photography, much tightened action and harsh, cold light. More than a little Seventish, but very effective, on the whole. Shostakovich’s rich, haunting music gives an eerie feel to the tale of the mad king. I cannot speak Russian, so I can say nothing for Boris Pasternak‘s translation – and I’m afraid the subtitles are in Italian – but if you are at all familiar with Shakespeare’s play, it should be easy enough to follow.
As I said, it makes for a rather different Shakespearean experience, but well worth a try.
You can find Kozintsev and Shostakovich’s King Lear here.