“Stanley Hates This But I Like It!”

North vs. Kubrick on the Music for 2001: A Space Odyssey


  • Paul A. Merkley, FRSC




Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alex North


In 1968 Stanley Kubrick premiered his landmark science fiction film on the dawn of human consciousness and its future.1 2001: A Space Odyssey astonished its audience with elaborate sets, an enigmatic plot, and stunning music presented “in the open.”2 Instead of accompanying his imaginative and painstakingly processed screen images with the music that he had commissioned from the eminent film composer Alex North, Kubrick compiled his score from classical music that he had selected. He chose light classics, a towering symphonic poem, and four works by a modern composer whose music was not widely known. Both Kubrick’s compilation score and the controversial rejection of North’s music have excited considerable discussion in the intervening years. (Editorial Note: Paul Merkley's article "'Stanley Hates This But I Like It!': North vs. Kubrick on the Music for 2001: A Space Odyssey" published in volume 2.1 (2007) of Journal of Film Music won an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award. Merkley;s article won in the category of journal, magazine and newspaper articles, and liner notes.)


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How to Cite

Merkley, P. A. (2009). “Stanley Hates This But I Like It!”: North vs. Kubrick on the Music for 2001: A Space Odyssey. Journal of Film Music, 2(1), 1–34. https://doi.org/10.1558/jfm.v2i1.1