File relating to Mr W.S., Burgess's full ballet suite about the life of William Shakespeare

Scope and Content

The file contains:

1) two synopses in English, and one in French, of the ballet, dated c.1979

2) Burgess's handwritten score (for piano) of the final movement, titled "Non Sanz Droict", dated 3 July 1974

See also AB/ARCH/A/MUS/81: File of 6 music notebooks containing draft score for multiple works by Burgess.

Administrative / Biographical History

A ballet suite based on the life of William Shakespeare, Mr W.S. is comprised of nine movements for full orchestra. The suite is around 36 minutes long and combines musical form and instrumentation from the Elizabethan era with the tonality and compositional styles of early twentieth century English composers and Hollywood film-music composers, such as Miklós Rózsa and Elmer Bernstein.

The ballet includes reworkings of many of the musical compositions that Burgess had produced in the late 1960s for the proposed musical film with Warner Brothers-Seven Arts about Shakespeare's life, known as "The Bawdy Bard" and later "Will!". It was composed - and also premiered on the BBC - in 1979.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Small water stain to the top of the score of Non Sanz Droict.


BURGESS, Anthony: Anthony Burgess: Orchestral Music. Performed by Brown University Orchestra. Paul Phillips. (NAXOS 8.573472, 2016)