Wendy Carlos: Clockwork Orange

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Barnes & Noble - Carol Wright
Electronic music pioneer Wendy Carlos shook up the classical music charts in 1968 with her revolutionary Switched-On Bach rereleased in 1999 in her restored Switched-On Boxed Set, the first "popular" music written entirely on the Moog synthesizer. In 1972, Carlos became famous through another channel, as composer of the chilling soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. Carlos reworked some classics on the Moog -- Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, the frenetic and sexy "William Tell Overture" of Rossini, and Purcell's "Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary" -- but she also created dramatic original compositions that are every bit as realistic or surrealistic and ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Carol Wright
Electronic music pioneer Wendy Carlos shook up the classical music charts in 1968 with her revolutionary Switched-On Bach rereleased in 1999 in her restored Switched-On Boxed Set, the first "popular" music written entirely on the Moog synthesizer. In 1972, Carlos became famous through another channel, as composer of the chilling soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. Carlos reworked some classics on the Moog -- Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, the frenetic and sexy "William Tell Overture" of Rossini, and Purcell's "Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary" -- but she also created dramatic original compositions that are every bit as realistic or surrealistic and horrific. This CD does not include every piece used in the film, but in so many ways it's actually superior. Here, Carlos offers the full versions of her compositions and some pieces that didn't quite make the final cut, in fully restored sound. Now all the sonic highs and lows that were knocked out by the limitations of the movie and LP production can light up your room -- or darken it. In the movie, the violent droog Alex has a special liking for Beethoven's Ninth -- "Bliss, bliss and heaven" -- so the music recurs throughout the film, typically to scenes of violence. Carlos's rendition on the Moog using the vocoder for vocal parts is spirited and dynamic, stretching the imagination between real sounds and her Moog re-creations. Rossini's La Gazza Ladra Overture is amazing for its lyricism, the realism of many of the sounds, the complex string work, and rolls of the snare drum. At nearly 14 minutes, Carlos's own "Timesteps" is a chilling and gripping masterpiece of horror music. Shrill whistles, doomsday chimes, ominous metallic echoes, and horns from hell create a sense of danger and impending violence. When you listen anew, don't forget your sense of humor. Carlos often throws in some devilishly delightful musical jokes. Highly recommended.
All Music Guide - John Bush
Even before Carlos knew of a film project concerning A Clockwork Orange, the composer had begun work on a composition "Timesteps" based on the book. It's the best piece of music in the score and one of the most famed in the early history of electronic music, fitting in well next to late-'60s minimalist works by Terry Riley as well as the emerging Tangerine Dream pre-Phaedra. Carlos also pioneered the effect of synthesized vocals known as a vocoder, and their eerie nature perfectly complemented scenes from the film. Much of the rest of A Clockwork Orange is filled with rather cloying synthesizer versions of familiar classical pieces from Beethoven's "Ninth Symphony," Purcell's "Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary," Rossini's "The Thieving Magpie" similar to Carlos' previous Switched-On Bach recordings. Still, it's worthwhile if only for "Timesteps." A Clockwork Orange was originally released as a Warner Bros. soundtrack, containing only film cuts which edited "Timesteps" down from 13 minutes to only four. Though Carlos released another version with more music, that issue was superseded in 1998 by the release of A Clockwork Orange: Complete Original Score by East Side Digital in the label's comprehensive reissue program.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/3/1998
  • Label: East Side Digital
  • UPC: 021561813625
  • Catalog Number: 618136

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Wendy Carlos Primary Artist
Technical Credits
Wendy Carlos Arranger, Liner Notes, Artwork, Reissue Producer, Graphic Design
John Klett Remastering
Drew Miller Remixing
Matthew Davidson Remastering
Clare Cooper Remastering
Joe Winograd Remastering
Chris Nelson Liner Notes
Eric Klein Remastering
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Classical pieces reborn. And done really well!

    Wendy Carlos' ''A Clockwork Orange'' is probally the strangest albulm I have heard in years. Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is rerecorded in a synthesizer and severely altered. The other tracks on the disc are treated in this same bizzarre fashion, giving us the feeling of a bad trip on drugs. The disc only has a few original themes by Carlos, but they are fantastic. ''Theme from A Clockwork Orange'' is arguably the best song on the disc and the best retro movie theme I have ever heard. ''Timesteps'' is also notably creepy. However, the disc doesn't dazzle. Some of the mixes are somewhat mundane and overworked.''The Thieving Magpie'' doesn't feelworked on at all. . . However, the positives outweigh the negatives and we are left with a REALLY COOL ALBUM!

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