Jump to content

The Official Bernard Herrmann Thread


Recommended Posts

  • Replies 199
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

http://www.bernardherrmann.org/events/2021-the-film-scores-of-bernard-herrmann   I kinda wish I didn’t own them all so I could buy them all over again... but for those who don’t own them...

This is awesome!     Karol

Yes, I was talking about the LP, as I thought that is what you referred to.

 

The original film recording has the benefit of being just that, the original film recording. But the sound is too bad and archaic. I like the dry, aggressive - and crystal clear - sound of the Elfman. I don't think I will ever need another recording of PSYCHO than that.

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Thor said:

The original film recording has the benefit of being just that, the original film recording. But the sound is too bad and archaic.

 

Not when remastered from the best elements. Stylotone released a few tracks a few years ago that sound absolutely glorious!

 

14 minutes ago, Thor said:

Yes, I was talking about the LP, as I thought that is what you referred to.

 

When I say "the original recording", I mean the original recording. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

A new video about Herrmann and about that new release (excerpts can be heard in this video):

 

 

New Yorker music critic Alex Ross observes: “Bernard Herrmann was absolutely one of the most original 20th-century composers of any country. I’m very happy that this DC is expanding our sense of Herrmann’s achievement, bringing a little known score to light . . . What strikes me about this combination of Herrmann pieces is that the emotional range is huge. It’s a very great talent that’s on display here, one that we’re very far from appreciating and celebrating in full.”

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Lewya said:

A new video about Herrmann and about that new release (excerpts can be heard in this video):

 

 

New Yorker music critic Alex Ross observes: “Bernard Herrmann was absolutely one of the most original 20th-century composers of any country. I’m very happy that this DC is expanding our sense of Herrmann’s achievement, bringing a little known score to light . . . What strikes me about this combination of Herrmann pieces is that the emotional range is huge. It’s a very great talent that’s on display here, one that we’re very far from appreciating and celebrating in full.”

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/review/B000TJ0SB8/R24SEG1ORBDWOI?ref=pf_ov_at_pdctrvw_srp

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I missed this, Terry Teachout wrote a fairly recent article on some of Bernard Herrmann's non-Hitchcock scores in The Wall Street Journal:

 

Bernard Herrmann, Beyond Hitchcock

 

Though the film composer is best known for scoring suspense classics like ‘Psycho’ and ‘Vertigo,’ his work for directors such as Orson Welles, Nicholas Ray and Martin Scorsese is equally fine.

 

Bernard Herrmann is by common consent the greatest of all film composers—but one whose name is firmly attached to the work of a single director. Between 1955 and 1964, he scored seven films for Alfred Hitchcock, and it is those scores for which he is best known, in part because most of the films that they accompany are now regarded as cinematic masterpieces. When Benjamin Millipied recently directed “Dance of Dreams,” a film featuring the San Francisco Ballet whose setting and subject are the company’s hometown, he accompanied it with the “Scene d’amour” cue from “Vertigo,” the 1958 Hitchcock film in which James Stewart wanders the streets of the city looking for his lost love. It was—as they say—a natural. Yet Herrmann, proud though he was of his collaboration with Hitchcock, was quick to point out that there was more to him than “North by Northwest,” “Psycho” and “Vertigo.”

 

He scored 40 feature films for other directors, including such masters of the art as Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Nicholas Ray, Martin Scorsese, François Truffaut, Robert Wise, Orson Welles and Fred Zinnemann, working on every kind of movie from science fiction to widescreen westerns. He also wrote music for hundreds of radio and TV shows, most notably Welles’s notorious radio version of “The War of the Worlds” and Rod Serling’s “Walking Distance,” the most moving of all “Twilight Zone” episodes. Nor did Herrmann save his best for Hitch: He would be regarded as a film composer of the very first rank even if he and the master of cinematic suspense had never met. It’s impossible to do more than deal summarily with the subject of Herrmann-without-Hitchcock in this space, but here are seven of his best scores for other directors:

 

• “Citizen Kane” (1941). For the most part, Herrmann’s first film score doesn’t sound much like his later work—the short cues and “stingers” have more in common with the music he wrote for Welles’s radio shows—but the dramatic “Rosebud” theme heard at the beginning and end of the film points the way to future developments, and the score as a whole helps to knit the complex plot together tightly.

 

• “Hangover Square” (1945). Herrmann wrote a complete one-movement piano concerto for John Brahm’s thriller about a psychotic Edwardian-era composer. Its dark harmonies are so arresting that when Stephen Sondheim saw the film as a teenager, it made a lifelong impression on him—one that paid off when he wrote “Sweeney Todd,” which he called “my homage to Bernard Herrmann.”

 

• “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” (1947). Beneath his crusty exterior, Herrmann was an unabashed romantic, which is nowhere more evident than in the music he wrote for Mankiewicz’s fantasy about a widow (Gene Tierney) who rents a seaside house that is haunted by the ghost of a touchy, irascible ship’s captain (Rex Harrison). Charming as the film is, it’s Herrmann’s tender score, which is redolent of the nearby sea, that gives it a touch of poetry.

 

• “On Dangerous Ground” (1951). If I could preserve only one Herrmann-scored film, it might well be this one, a Ray-directed film noir about a burned-out big-city cop (Robert Ryan) who goes upstate to work on a case and meets a blind woman (Ida Lupino) and her mentally disturbed younger brother (Sumner Williams). From the hard-hitting inner-city scenes to the piercing moment when Ryan realizes that Lupino is blind, it is full of occasions for music that evokes the widest possible gamut of emotions, and Herrmann, as always, was equal to the task.

 

• “Cape Fear” (1962). Herrmann’s score for J. Lee Thompson’s shocker about a revenge-crazed ex-con (Robert Mitchum) who goes after the lawyer (Gregory Peck) who put him behind bars has all the impact of “Psycho,” heightened still further by the explosive use of French horns in the main-title cue. It’s as scary as the film—and that’s saying something.

 

• “Fahrenheit 451” (1966). Herrmann himself recalled with typical forthrightness his collaboration with Truffaut on the film version of Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel about a future society in which all books are banned: “I felt that the music of the next century would revert to a great lyrical simplicity….In their music they would want something of simple nudity, of great elegance and simplicity. So I said, ‘If I do your picture, that’s the kind of score I want to write—strings, harps, and a few percussion instruments. I’m not interested in all this whoopee stuff that goes on being called the music of the future. I think that’s the music of the past.’” The result was a magical score whose slowly shifting harmonies (a Herrmann trademark) are heartbreakingly poignant.

 

• “Taxi Driver” (1976). Herrmann needed help to finish his last score, recorded on the day before his death—Christopher Palmer composed the familiar saxophone theme, since Herrmann had no experience writing jazz—but the music for the climactic scene, a shooting match that leaves Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel drenched in their own blood, is all his own and adds immeasurably to the scene’s apocalyptic effect.

 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/bernard-herrmann-beyond-hitchcock-11598464769

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/19/2020 at 12:33 AM, Jurassic Shark said:

The Psycho prelude is taken waaay to slow here!

 

 

That took a while for Herrmann to conduct this cue for this album [UNICORN Release] . Apparently the initial performance was way too slow. Herrmann attempted again and it was still slow. At this point he gave up and asked a collegue (Raksin or some one, I cant rememebr who exactly) to conduct it. That version was the right tempo and its then then Herrmann sort of woke up and reconducted this cue at the current pace. In my opinion its is still slow but Herrmann probably wanted to take it at a leisurly pace since the film was not being timed to here. As a indpendent inititaive it still works fine although it does take some time to get used to. I liek the overall nuance to it. One of my favourites.

 

The Elfman-Bartek recording is the superior version to date. The recording techniques  and the conducting is superb. I wish someone would release the whole recording someday. Maybe LLL...

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

A nice starter: 

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

A nice starter: 

Hard to narrow it down but to the above I’d add the Gerhardt Citizen Kane compilation which is brilliantly performed in great sound but has some less well known gems like White Witch Doctor and Beneath the 12 Mile Reef (one score I’d love to have re-recorded in full I must admit). 
 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Brundlefly said:

So, what is the 10 most essential film scores of this composer and their most recommendable editions?

 

I plan on getting Vertigo and Psycho, but I have no clue about the releases.

 

Many have been mentioned already,  but I would pick these 10 as essentials:

 

CITIZEN KANE - the McNeely rerecording

JANE EYRE - the Naxos release

THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR - the 97 Varese release

THE KENTUCKIAN/WILLIAMSBURG

THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY - the Varese rerecording

PSYCHO - the Elfman rerecording.

THE BRIDE WORE BLACK - the Velazquez recording

ENDLESS NIGHT - the Velazquez recording

Bernard Herrmann - The Concert Suites

....and, if you can find it, A Celebration of His Life and Music: A Radio Documentary, broadcast in 1988 (but recorded in the early 70s, I believe)

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, GerateWohl said:

I am aware of eight:

 

Vertigo, Fahrenheit 451, Marnie, The Trouble with Harry, Psycho, North by Northwest, Citizen Kane, The Torn Curtain (rejected score)

The Day the Earth Stood Still is another McNeely rerecording well worth checking out! One of my favourite of Herrmann's. :music:

 

Day The Earth Stood Still, The (Digital) | Varèse Sarabande

 

EDIT: @Jurassic Sharkbeat me to it. Great minds think alike, I suppose! :lol:

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

A nice starter: 

 

6 hours ago, Tom Guernsey said:

Hard to narrow it down but to the above I’d add the Gerhardt Citizen Kane compilation which is brilliantly performed in great sound but has some less well known gems like White Witch Doctor and Beneath the 12 Mile Reef (one score I’d love to have re-recorded in full I must admit). 
 

 

Those. (Although my editions of the Phase 4 albums are quite different and don't include the non-Herrmann stuff and I think not even all of his own pieces that the above links have)

Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

 

 

Those. (Although my editions of the Phase 4 albums are quite different and don't include the non-Herrmann stuff and I think not even all of his own pieces that the above links have)

 

Yeah, the content has been released quite a few times. These most recent releases are currently on sale, btw.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

My Mission today, to find the version of Citizen Kane I like the most, among all the available re-recordings.

 

Hmmm, I love the Gerhardt Suite, but it's incomplete... and this Gamba recording is clearly superior to the old McNeely one... hmmm...

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's in stereo, well... interesting, I didn't know about this release... well maybe...

 

I'm always reluctant about pre-70's recordings...

 

Bernard Herrmann's scores are rich and intense, they deserve a real good sound in my opinion.

Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Bespin said:

It's in stereo, well... interesting, I didn't know about this release... well maybe...

 

All releases since at least the 90s Rhino have been in stereo (I don't know any of the earlier ones). I still haven't heard the McNeely (it's the one McNeely Herrmann I really want but missed), but I've heard several other recordings of the main title fandango, and none of them felt quite right. They're either too slow and without energy, or rushed. And that includes the Salonen recording (the rest of his album is fabulous). I have a feeling not even Gerhardt would have gotten it right for my taste.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

 

All releases since at least the 90s Rhino have been in stereo (I don't know any of the earlier ones).

 

I was talking about the original 1961 recording of North by Northwest...

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Bespin said:

My Mission today, to find the version of Citizen Kane I like the most, among all the available re-recordings.

 

Hmmm, I love the Gerhardt Suite, but it's incomplete... and this Gamba recording is clearly superior to the old McNeely one... hmmm...

 

 

There's also this one:

 

Karol

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

 

All releases since at least the 90s Rhino have been in stereo (I don't know any of the earlier ones). I still haven't heard the McNeely (it's the one McNeely Herrmann I really want but missed)

 

The McNeely is the only one I have, and the one I prefer the most (I've sampled a few others). Even though it tends to be unpopular in film music circles, for some reason. Every time I play it, I'm surprised to hear how well edited it is - a whole bunch of short cues that flow together very nicely and organically; I never think about the fact that it has a whopping 40 tracks.

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Thor said:

Even though it tends to be unpopular in film music circles, for some reason.

 

Where do you have that from? The rerecording has been going for good prices on the secondary market for many years!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.