With his opera Hamlet, which premiered in Glyndebourne in 2017, the composer Brett Dean added a new, modern analysis to the certainly numerous artistic ones of the famous subject - with enormous success, as the press reviews and many subsequent stage productions attested. The composer's and his librettist Matthew Jocelyn's fruitful examination of Shakespeare's text material yielded both the full-length opera and several concertante "by-products": And once I played Ophelia for soprano and string quartet, From Melodious Lay, an orchestral poem with solo soprano and solo tenor, Confessio for solo bass clarinet, and the suite Gertrude Fragments for mezzo-soprano and guitar. The five miniatures, with their suitably intimate, dark instrumentation, throw light on various aspects of Hamlet's mother, who is both a guilty and a tragic, helpless figure.
I. Cast thy nighted colour off - II. Wring from him the cause - III. My too much changed son - IV. How is't with you? - V. If words be made of breath