'A Clockwork Orange' Songs Written By Anthony Burgess Performed In Full For First Time In UK

'A Clockwork Orange' Songs Make UK Debut

One of the only redeeming features of Alex DeLarge, Anthony Burgess' anti-hero from A Clockwork Orange, is the young droog's love of a bit of the old Ludwig Van.

Now for the first time, songs written by the author for a musical version of the novel have been performed in the UK in full - 26 years after they were first composed.

Written partly in Nadsat - the made up argot the novel is famous for - the 22 minutes' worth of songs were performed by members of the Manchester Chamber Choir at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, to open a 50th anniversary conference for the novel.

Influenced by musicals like West Side Story - as well as Beethoven - Burgess composed the play after becoming unhappy over the way his novel was overshadowed by the 1971 film version directed by Stanley Kubrick, and the assumption that his story was all about violence.

Dr Andrew Biswell, director of the foundation, told the BBC how the play version differs to the novel - despite containing song about 'ultra-violence' and 'the old in-out'.

"The thing everybody had forgotten is that the novel he'd written is, in many respects, a comic novel.

"People don't go to the theatre because they want to see people being raped and murdered. So adapting the story for the theatre gave him the chance to change the tone of it completely."

It's not the first time A Clockwork Orange has had a musical makeover.

In 1988 a German band called Die Toten Hosen provided the score for a adaptation of the novel that fused punk rock with orchestral clips.

Two years later in 1990 Bono and The Edge of the rock group U2 wrote music for a Royal Shakespeare Company adaptation that Burgess himself had scripted, though he was united with critics in being disappointed with the results, which included experimental hip hop and gothic music.


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