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Aslant a brook (solo piano)

by May Howlett (2014)

Work Overview

Hamlet's mother, Queen Gertrude, must tell Laertes, his close friend, of the untimely death by drowning of his beloved sister, Ophelia. Gertrude assumes responsibility for this doleful task, because it is her son's sudden rejection of Ophelia that is generally felt to have led to her death. Gertrude opens her sad tale gently by setting the fatal scene: "There is a willow grows aslant a brook…" describing how Ophelia fell and, like a mermaid, gradually sank into the flowing waters of the river. The tolling bell is the key to this dark little piece written as a momento mori to those who, like suicides, die tragically before they have really lived.

Work Details

Year: 2014

Instrumentation: Piano.

Duration: 3 min.

Difficulty: Medium — AMEB Grade 5

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