Walter Carlos was actually an associate of Dr Robert Moog when he showcased the good doctor's eponymous synthesiser to the world in 1968. Switched On Bach, an unapologetic electronic treatment of baroque's ultimate genius, horrified the purists of course, but it wowed the public.
In the same year, Stanley Kubrick used an atmospheric dose of Strauss to elevate science fiction to new heights with the seminal 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Three years later, Kubrick and Carlos united forces for the controversial cinematic production of Anthony Burgess' satirical novel, A Clockwork Orange. Walter's bizarre renditions of Beethoven's ninth symphony were the perfect complement to the indulgent, graphic imagery: a distorted Ode To Joy underscoring the protagonist's ode to violence.
The soundtrack is a blend of the classic and profane. Carlos does savage and outrageous things to Beethoven. And all of it is perversely irresistible. And supremely evocative of the story's devastating satire: Beethoven through a vocoder almost seems to echo the gang's "Nadsat" argot and the automaton allusions of Burgess's title.
There are also some unadulterated classical pieces on the soundtrack, most notably from Elgar and Rossini (and even bits of untouched Beethoven). They are among the most beloved and easily appreciated of the classics, and sit surprisingly comfortably between Carlos's excesses.
These include original contributions - although the best known, the frenetic Theme From A Clockwork Orange, owes much to the score's main muse, and is, in fact, subtitled Beethoviana.
But the most chillingly ironic music is Gene Kelly's wholesome Singing In The Rain. In the film it accompanies the most brutal atrocities. Away from cinematic context, it is, as always, a simple celebration of life."
Publication date: November 9, 2000