Clockwork Orange songs make debut
Published: 29th Jun 2012 06:50:34
Songs written by A Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess for a musical version of his novel have been performed in the UK for the first time.
Burgess' operatic reimagining of his most famous novel was composed 26 years ago, but has never been staged in full.
Tenor Timothy Langston played gang leader Alex, accompanied by bowler hat-wearing members of Manchester Chamber Choir as his "droog" accomplices.
Together, they sang songs about their "ultra-violence" and "the old in-out".
Burgess' tunes, informed by Beethoven as well as classic musicals like West Side Story, feature lyrics written in the Russian-influenced argot Burgess invented for his teenage anti-heroes.
The opening song uses the gang's battle cry of "What's it gonna be then, eh?" as its chorus. Another, depicting the authorities' over-zealous attempts at a cure, begins with a bellicose chant: "Discipline, discipline, let's have discipline, give him a haircut and shave."
Burgess composed a "play with music" to reassert ownership over his story after it was overshadowed by director Stanley Kubrick's controversial 1971 film.
The script has been performed as a drama, notably by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in 1990 - but they enlisted Bono and The Edge of U2 to compose new songs rather than use Burgess' compositions.
Burgess, who died in 1993, wrote 33 novels, but once said he wanted to be known as "a musician who writes novels, instead of a novelist who writes music on the side".
Dr Andrew Biswell, director of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester, where the performance took place, said the songs had not previously been aired in the UK because there was a "distrust of his music among professional musicians".
"He wasn't one of them," he said. "He wasn't formally trained. When the RSC did their production of the play, they wanted musicians you've heard of."
Dr Biswell said there was "every chance" Burgess' music would now be used in a fully staged production.
"Now the music's been properly edited and typeset, it becomes usable for other people," he said. "I'd never heard all of the music so this has been a revelation to me. I'd known the play for more than 20 years but suddenly this makes sense of the play for me."
The play differs significantly from the book and subsequent film, he said.
"It becomes a love story. Alex acquires a girlfriend and intends to get married at the end of the play, and that love interest isn't there in the novel, and certainly not in the film. So, in many ways, it's a much more conventional theatrical happy ending.
"I think the reason he adapted this for the stage and wrote his own music was to reassert authorship over the story post-Kubrick. But also I think he got quite tired of the way the book and the film were talked about as products of violence.
"There had been a very dry, academic debate about violence, and the thing everybody had forgotten is that the novel he'd written is, in many respects, a comic novel.
"Burgess, in putting it on the stage, found an opportunity, not just to adapt, but to revise and reimagine and turn it into something new, and something that's meant to entertain.
"People don't go to the theatre because they want to see people being raped and murdered. There has to be something else. So adapting the story for the theatre gave him the chance to change the tone of it completely."
The performance was part of a conference to mark the book's 50th anniversary.
At 07:45:17 in WalesUp to 491 acres of council-owned land has been approved for public use to allow a £280m racing circuit to go ahead in Blaenau Gwent.
At 07:34:31 in SportWales captain Ashley Williams says Swansea City are unlucky to be involved in a relegation battle this season.
At 07:34:28 in SportDirector of rugby Lyn Jones says Newport Gwent Dragons players' futures could be on the line against Ospreys in Sunday's Pro12 Welsh derby double-header at Millennium Stadium.
At 07:33:38 in EnglandA woman suffered serious burns when she was doused with what is believed to be high-strength cleaning fluid.
At 07:33:03 in WalesPolice have closed a main road in Carmarthenshire to round up about 60 horses loose on the carriageway.
At 07:32:25 in EnglandOne of Lincoln's main car parks that had major structural problems has fully reopened after more than a year of repairs.
At 07:23:25 in HeadlinesThe Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have vowed to return to one of Australia's most visited beauty spots.
At 07:12:31 in WalesSir Tom Jones, Sian Phillips and Michael Sheen are named in an all-star cast for a new BBC Wales TV adaptation of Dylan Thomas's play Under Milk Wood.
At 07:05:58 in WalesWelsh councils made a profit of almost £9m on car parking last year, according to new research.
At 07:01:22 in SportLewis Hamilton says he is hoping to develop an "edge" over Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in the early stages of their battle this season.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Clockwork Orange songs make debut [Online] (Updated 29th Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1437607/Clockwork-Orange-songs-make-debut [Accessed 17th Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
The Jockey Club, which runs 15 UK racecourses, reported record profits for last year of £22m.
Sir Tom Jones, Sian Phillips and Michael Sheen are named in an all-star cast for a new BBC Wales TV adaptation of Dylan Thomas's play Under Milk Wood.
Up to 491 acres of council-owned land has been approved for public use to allow a £280m racing circuit to go ahead in Blaenau Gwent.
A failed rural heritage centre which cost over £3.4m in public funds should have been more closely monitored, a Wales Audit Office report has said.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
Wales captain Ashley Williams says Swansea City are unlucky to be involved in a relegation battle this season.