Click Images

Letter April 17, 1966 (pg 1)

Letter April 17, 1966 (pg 2)

Letter May 10, 1966 (pg 1)

Letter May 10, 1966 (pg 2)

"Hamlet" Music (1966)
This webpage provides information about the André Tchaikowsky composition, "Hamlet" music (1966). The music was used for a Hamlet production given in Oxford in 1966, but there have been no other performances. There was a recording used for the Hamlet production in Oxford, but its whereabouts is unknown.

The letters (left) show communications between Michael Menaugh (Hamlet) and André. One interesting aspect is between April 17, 1966 and May 10, 1966, André moved from 64 Wood Vale, London N.10, to 29 Waterlow Court, Heath Close, London NW. 11. The Wood Vale address was that of André's personal representative, Judy Arnold, and was in fact where André was living, along with another homeless pianist, Alfred Brendel. The new address on Waterlow Court was André own home, arranged for and paid for by his friends, in particular, Charles Napper (The "Inventions" 5a).

On the letter of May 10 [Tuesday], 1966, page 2, André writes: "I am now off to Paris (Hotel Nicolo, 3 rue Nicolo, Paris 16th) where I may stay till Sunday, Monday or even Tuesday, depending on the luck of the recording." The recording session André mentioned was to be an all-Bach record for Columbia/Pathe (EMI) with the resulting recording schedule:

Bach - Italian Concerto, BWV 971
Recorded May 11 [Wednesday] and May 12 [Thursday], 1966
1. Without tempo indication | 2. Andante | 3. Presto

Bach - Overture in the French style, BWV 831
Recorded May 12 [Thursday] and May 13 [Friday], 1966
1. Ouverture | 2. Courante | 3. Gavotte I/II | 4. Passepied I/II
5. Sarabande | 6. Bourrée I/II | 7. Gique | 8. Echo.

Nothing came of the sessions and no record was released. By Saturday, May 14th, André was back in London. To view all of André's unreleased recordings, see:

From the biography The Other Tchaikowsky
A bright spot in André's life was his deepening friendship with Michael Menaugh. Michael was an intelligent and interesting person -- studying chemistry, yet deeply interested in and knowledgeable of theater and music. He was good for André, the kind of friend that André needed. In conversation, Michael Menaugh remembers events from this period:

"Our friendship grew. It was always full of fascinating conversation. André was full of ideas. We exchanged ideas about music and theater. By the summer of 1966, my 21st birthday year, André and I were sufficiently close for me to ask if he would compose the music for my Oxford production of 'Hamlet' in which I also played Hamlet. He agreed and he was fascinated by Hamlet. It was one of those plays that he knew particularly well, and it obsessed him just as it obsessed me. We had a big correspondence about the play. He came three days before the performance and supervised the recording of the music. He was a great help to me during a very tense time because it's no easy matter to both direct and play Hamlet at the same time. Judy Arnold, Zamira and Fou Ts'ong came down for the production and we talked and talked afterwards.

"I went to London to see André. I remember sleeping on a camp bed under the piano. It was bitterly cold. André, of course, never kept early hours. I can remember waking up about 7:00 am with the light coming in and waiting for André to appear at about half past eleven. Then we went for one of what were to be many hundreds of long, long walks together, right across the Hampstead Heath.

"André disliked it when people became too involved with him. When people became too interested in him, it was as if they were going to somehow devour him. He had to, at the same time, attract people. He needed a reaction. He would attract people, use all his brilliance to attract people, and then get very upset when they wouldn't go away. Then he would try and shock people. It was extraordinary how suddenly then he'd be more outrageous and try to shock people, which usually attracted them all the more.

"He got tired of adulation. He got tired of people who just admired him. The people that he really liked had their own lives, their own opinions. They didn't feed off him. He liked people to feed off him to a certain extent. He needed that for his own insecurity, but then it became too much. He felt that people expected things of him. He either had to be brilliant and witty or he had to give a wonderful performance, or he had to produce the greatest composition. This became a terrible pressure, which very often sort of paralyzed him. The most important thing was to just let him be himself. If you did not expect something from him, very often then he would give, he would be brilliant."

The "Hamlet" production was a success. Michael gave a brilliant performance, André's music reinforced the drama, and it was a very satisfying artistic accomplishment.

The originals of the music André composed for "Hamlet" are in the hands of Michael Menaugh, who kindly provided the copies below. As shown, there are four (4) sheets:

Sheet 1 - Fanfare and Entrance of the Players (Act II; Scene II)
Sheet 2 - Entrance of the Players (Act II, Scene II) (continued)
Sheet 3 - Fortinbra's Army (at the bottom there is a note: "Col Legno: Sticks only, beaten against each other" ...where col legno is an instruction to strike the string with the stick of the bow, rather than by drawing the hair of the bow across the strings. This results in a quiet but eerie percussive sound.
Sheet 4 - Fortinbra's Army (continued).

Sheet 1

Sheet 2

Sheet 3

Sheet 4