Caption: Anthony Burgess by David Levine, from The New York Review of Books
Anthony Burgess by David Levine, from The New York Review of Books 

On The Margins of Music - Alan Lomax & Anthony Burgess

From: Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon
Length: 58:59

First, we join biographer John Szwed in thanking the eccentric musical anthropologist Alan Lomax for his rare recordings of early twentieth century American life. Lomax spent his long life traveling the world with his ear to the ground and capturing the people's music - folk and roots, work songs, praise songs, and prison songs - that turned out to be the foundation of everything else. Then, conductor and composer Paul Phillips is plunging us into the synesthetic universe of the odd genius who wrote "A Clockwork Orange." Anthony Burgess wished all his life that the world knew him as a composer who wrote novels, instead of a novelist who wrote songs and symphonies on the side. Read the full description.

Aburgess_small First, our guest John Szwed has written a classic American biography of Alan Lomax, aptly subtitled "The Man Who Recorded the World." Alan Lomax's career began when he was 15, when he and his father set off with early Edison recording equiptment on what they called a "hobo-ing" trip through the South at the height of the Great Depression. Part talent scout, part anthropologist, Alam Lomax became obsessed with rooting global cultures onto musical elements, performance styles, and the way that people stand and move together in space.

Then, conductor Paul Philips has been leading the Brown Unversity orchestra this winter in the symphonic music of Anthony Burgess. Phillips has just published "A Clockwork Counterpoint," exploring the interplay between literary and musical structures in Burgess's impressive cannon. Burgess's masterpiece "A Clockwork Orange," he tells us, was written in sonata form. Burgess's orchestral style was post-modern before post-modernism had a name -- a blend of styles and rhytms, instruments and vocals, ballet and raunchy pub songs -- and somehow, it all fits together.

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Piece Description

First, our guest John Szwed has written a classic American biography of Alan Lomax, aptly subtitled "The Man Who Recorded the World." Alan Lomax's career began when he was 15, when he and his father set off with early Edison recording equiptment on what they called a "hobo-ing" trip through the South at the height of the Great Depression. Part talent scout, part anthropologist, Alam Lomax became obsessed with rooting global cultures onto musical elements, performance styles, and the way that people stand and move together in space.

Then, conductor Paul Philips has been leading the Brown Unversity orchestra this winter in the symphonic music of Anthony Burgess. Phillips has just published "A Clockwork Counterpoint," exploring the interplay between literary and musical structures in Burgess's impressive cannon. Burgess's masterpiece "A Clockwork Orange," he tells us, was written in sonata form. Burgess's orchestral style was post-modern before post-modernism had a name -- a blend of styles and rhytms, instruments and vocals, ballet and raunchy pub songs -- and somehow, it all fits together.

Musical Works

Title Artist Album Label Year Length
Early in the Mornin' 22, Little Red, Tangle Eye The Alan Lomax Collection. :00
War Growling Tiger and the group The Alan Lomax Collection. :00
Fandango de Comares Inez Munoz The Alan Lomax Collection. :00
61 Highway Fred McDowell The Alan Lomax Collection. :00
Symphony No. 3 in C Anthony Burgess Brown University Orchestra, conducted by Paul Philips. :00
Quartet for Flute, Oboe, Cello and Piano Anthony Burgess Boston Conservatory Chamber Players, conducted by Paul Philips. :00
Mr. W.S. Anthony Burgess Pioneer Valley Symphony, conducted by Paul Phillips. :00
Copulation without Population Anthony Burgess Blooms of Dublin, BBC Orchestral Production. :00