Hamlet-Machine with Actors

Robert Normandeau

Hamlet-Machine with Actors

  • Robert Normandeau
  • Year of composition: 2003
  • Duration: 15:58
  • Instrumentation: 16-channel fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Commission: Vancouver New Music (VNM)
  • ISWC: T0722242218

To Marc Béland

Adapted from the music composed for the play Hamletmachine (1979) by Heiner Müller (1929-1995), staged by Brigitte Haentjens in Montréal in 2001. The actors were Marc Béland, Céline Bonnier, Annie Berthiaume, Louise de Beaumont, Gaétan Nadeau, Line Naud, Guy Triffero, and François Trudel.

The music was omnipresent during the play, one hour and fifteen minutes of music. Around thirty different themes were used. For the concert version, I reworked every sound and recomposed every sequence to produce an autonomous work. For the first time in a while, I used electronic sounds in the piece. And to this musical material I added the sounds made by the actors, as recorded in three documents I shot: two rehearsals — the rehearsal building, as anyone can hear, was located in an industrial neighbourhood — and the show of the first public performance. By doing this, I have the feeling that I preserved not only the musical material of the play, but also its spirit, thanks to the sonorous presence of the actors. The music, like the play, tries to describe the oppression society exerts on Man, the representation of taboos — including sexual taboos — through the show and the end of art.


Hamlet-Machine with Actors was realized in 2003 at the composer’s studio and premiered on October 11, 2003 at the Scotiabank Dance Centre, Vancouver (Canada). Hamlet-Machine with Actors was commissioned by Vancouver New Music (VNM). The work was finalist at the 3rd Biennial Acousmatic Composition Competition Métamorphoses (Brussels, Belgium, 2004).


  • October 11, 2003, Concert, Scotiabank Dance Centre, Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada)