Back to A Clockwork Orange then. Having watched the movie an unhealthy number of times, read the book and spent too long on Rob Ager’s site the theme I have gravitated towards is Kubrick’s use of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Ludwig Van Beethoven

In the novel, Anthony Burgess gives Alex a love of classical music in general, suggesting that culture does not necessarily belong to the wise and good. However, Kubrick, whilst using famous classical music throughout the movie, chooses to focus on Beethoven, particularly his Ninth Symphony and it is used in pivotal moments of the movie.

Death by stereo

The symphony is loaded with historical and cultural importance in Western (and more recently, Eastern) history. Beethoven was one of the few musicians deemed acceptable by the Nazi regime and Hitler believed that he and Beethoven shared the same heroic German spirit. The symphony was even played at his birthday party. Hitler’s birthday party; imagine that. What do you get a man who wants everything?

A Clockwork Orange often features Nazi symbology (and of course Beethoven himself) and my theory is that Kubrick knew precisely why he was using Beethoven’s Ninth – it could be said that the movie is even built around the structure of the Ninth. Not my idea, this is discussed in revelatory detail here: Beethoven’s Ninth: ‘An Ode To Choice’ As Presented in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange by Galia Hanoch-Roe. Beethoven’s intention was to create a piece of music that celebrated his liberal views – in a time when this was extremely dangerous – and this also chimes with the idea of state control that runs through A Clockwork Orange.

The soundtrack to the movie featured original representations of classical music as well as ‘re-imagined’ electronic versions by Walter (soon to be Wendy) Carlos. Carlos is a legend in electronic music, being one of the first to utilise the monolithic Moog modular synths to their full, mind blowing potential. To me, the A Clockwork Orange soundtrack with it’s mix of timeless classical music and groundbreaking electronic pieces still sounds like the future.

Moog modular

So, my Flash web site will be a nod, or perhaps a bow to the Ninth Symphony and it’s place in history. Visually, I’m thinking of mixing the aesthetic of vintage synths and sheet music.

More on this later…

Before I finish, my research was seriously helped by http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/ which features The Kubrick Site. With it’s wealth of articles, interviews on anything and everything Kubrick, the site has been real horrorshow.

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