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“A Clockwork Orange” and “The Shining”- Music Composed by Wendy Carlos

July 5, 2017 by Jack Dziamba. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday.

Wendy Carlos’s Synth Scores- the Near-Unbearable  Tension’s in Kubrick’s Worlds

Wendy Carlos’ theme music for Stanley Kubrick’s  A Clockwork Orange and The Shining “are indispensable in creating the dread and horror that carry through these cinematic masterpieces. As you can hear in the opening title music for both films, at the top and below, Carlos’ synth scores set up the near-unbearable tensions in Kubrick’s worlds.” (Open Culture.)

Wendy Carlos

Wendy Carlos (f), born Walter Carlos (m) is “one of the great innovators in synthesized and electronic music,” (IMDb.) 

“Wendy Carlos has not followed a conventional music course. Born in Pawtucket, R.I., she started piano lessons at age six and exhibited talents for graphic arts and the sciences, winning a Westinghouse Science Fair scholarship for a home built computer. After pursuing a hybrid major in music and physics at Brown University, she earned an M.A. in music composition at Columbia University, studying with pioneers Otto Luening and Vladimir Ussachevsky at the first electronic music center in the U.S.A. Upon graduation, Carlos worked as a recording engineer and befriended Robert Moog (who currently manufactures many instruments at Big Briar,) becoming one of his first clients.(wendycarlos.com.)

Opening Music from A Clockwork Orange

“The haunting arrangement music by composer Henry Purcell, (1659- 1698), in the film’s opening title has become inseparable from the classical and futuristic elements commingled in Kubrick’s adaptation of Anthony Burgess. ” (Open Culture.)

“Her music for the title sequence (with Producer Rachael Elkind’s distorted voice)—so weirdly, dissonantly ominous—provides the perfect accompaniment to one of the most complex opening sequences in film history. Her album Switched on Bach, released the same year as 2001, won the composer three Grammy Awards, put Baroque music on the pop charts, garnered the highest praise from no less a keyboard authority than Glenn Gould, and “made electronic music mainstream.” (Open Culture.)

“The Shining”

“For The Shining, she and Elkind wrote a complete score for the film and Kubrick—writes site The Overlook Hotel—“ended up using only two of their complete tracks, ‘The Shining’ (Main Title), and ‘Rocky Mountains.’” As with 2001, the perfectionistic director instead decided on several classical compositions—from Ligeti, Penderecki, Bartok and others.”

Wendy Carlos (More)

Wendy Carlos

In 2005Wendy Carlos was presented with the SEAMUS 2005 Life Achievement Award, in recognition of her groundbreaking work in the electro-acoustic world since the ’60s. She has delivered papers at New York University, the Audio Engineering Society’s Digital Audio Conference, Dolby’s NYC Surround Sound demonstration and panel, and other music/audio conferences. Carlos is a member of the Audio Engineering Society, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. (wendycarlos.com.)

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