The Music of Stanley Kubrick`s A Clockwork Orange

Walter Carlos`s synthesized music for Stanley Kubrick`s 1971 film A Clockwork Orange was begun even before he was approached by the director to score the movie. The opening sequence is justly acknowledged as one of the most famed in cinema history. The perfectionist Kubrick insisted on Malcolm McDowell suffering a countless number of takes without blinking an eyelid, before he was satisfied. 

The musical piece is a version of Purcell`s The Funeral of Queen Mary and is almost shocking in the realisation that electronic music could be so chilling and forbidding; it conveys within the first two minutes the stylistic and emotional vision of Kubrick`s film.

The film is closely based upon Anthony Burgess`s dystopian nightmare novel of the same name, and the issues it raises are as relevant today as when it was first made. It may not be to everyone`s taste but it asks important questions about the type of society we want to live in, and what we are prepared to do – or not do – to preserve and protect our hard earned freedoms against rising social and political pressures.

If you haven`t got the patience to read the book, at least check out the film, if only for it`s fabulous stylised combination of electronicized classical music and film. The whole effect is truly magical.

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