Kevin Malone, Director of Composition at the University of Manchester (England), has compiled a new release of four of his works, and they are now available on Metier Records.
The cornerstone of this recording is “A Clockwork Operetta (2011).” Malone received a commission from the International Anthony Burgess Foundation to create a song-cycle using lyrics written by their namesake, originally intended to be used in his classic work, “A Clockwork Orange.” The result is a unique three-scene piece for mezzo-soprano, viola and piano that contains nineteen of Burgess’ lyrics that were discarded when Stanley Kubrick was brought on to direct the 1971 film. The cycle sucks us into the futuristic world of 15-year old Alex and his droogs, guided by Emily Howard’s versatile vocals, and the technical prowess of pianist Adam Swayne and violist Cheryl Law (the trio use the moniker, the Ebb Trio). The music grabs onto our throats (or our eyelids, as is most appropriate) and forces us to listen and appreciate Malone’s music.
Added to this compilation is Malone’s 1997 composition, “Radio Song,” with both music and lyrics by the composer, in which a bored housewife (seductively sung by Howard) spends too much time fantasizing by her radio. Malone’s lyrics act as an effective monologue, which he has translated into song, using a variety of compositional elements ranging from avant garde modern to rap and jazz. Howard’s flexibility with the many vocal stylings that Malone’s music calls for is quite impressive.
Also included is “American Terpsichore (2008)” and “Angels and Fireflies (2011),” written for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 after the composer visited the crash site in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
This collection represents a quartet of eclectic works from a talented composer who understands how to mix genres across the musical spectrum.