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The Official Bernard Herrmann Thread


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1 minute ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

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

 

I just seem to vaguely recall some discussions on FSM in the early 2000s, where people ragged on it.

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8 minutes ago, Thor said:

 

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.

I really enjoy that recording too, the sound is fairly warm given how stark the music is, especially compared to the very dry Elfman version. Both are great in their own ways, certainly fine interpretations. Can't say I feel like I'm massively missing out not having the original tracks.

 

On a semi-related note, really enjoying Quartet's superb Endless Night recording. I haven't actually read what the issues some people have with it, but coming to it knowing very little about it (never even heard of the film before it was announced), the performance and recording are very fine indeed. I don't think I'd quite class it as top tier Herrmann, but his lesser works are still worth hearing and better than 99% of everything else!

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5 minutes ago, Tom Guernsey said:

I really enjoy that recording too, the sound is fairly warm given how stark the music is, especially compared to the very dry Elfman version. Both are great in their own ways, certainly fine interpretations. Can't say I feel like I'm massively missing out not having the original tracks.

 

Elfman hasn't done CITIZEN KANE. You're probably thinking of PSYCHO.

 

5 minutes ago, Tom Guernsey said:

On a semi-related note, really enjoying Quartet's superb Endless Night recording. I haven't actually read what the issues some people have with it, but coming to it knowing very little about it (never even heard of the film before it was announced), the performance and recording are very fine indeed. I don't think I'd quite class it as top tier Herrmann, but his lesser works are still worth hearing and better than 99% of everything else!

 

Yes, indeed! It's my second favourite archival release of 2020, as I also said on FSM. Only beaten by Dominik Scherrer's MISS MARPLE.

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15 minutes ago, Thor said:

 

Elfman hasn't done CITIZEN KANE. You're probably thinking of PSYCHO.

 

 

Yes, indeed! It's my second favourite archival release of 2020, as I also said on FSM. Only beaten by Dominik Scherrer's MISS MARPLE.

D'oh, you're quite right, sorry I misread the thread of the, erm, thread. Funnily enough, I listened to the Gamba Citizen Kane yesterday and thought it was very fine indeed but have the McNeely one on my (almost moronically long) upcoming music playlist. Having listened to the McNeely one for years, I recall finding the Gamba one much more satisfying, but I can't remember why. Then again, Matthew Sweet played a selection from the McNeely album on Sound of Cinema on BBC Radio 3 the other week on his Orson Welles show and I thought it sounded great.

 

I shall have to check out Miss Marple...

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30 minutes ago, Thor said:

Elfman hasn't done CITIZEN KANE. You're probably thinking of PSYCHO.

 

And I was talking about North by Northwest, so there may be two layers of confusion here, depending on which score you were referring to.

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7 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

Me too! I don't find McNeely's rerecording of Kane all that good.

 

So you're in line with the FSM people of the early 2000s, then.

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Probably what they thought too. Personally, I've always found it excellent. But then, I'm rarely investigating orchestral performances with a magnifying glass, like so many do here. It will have to be really bad for me to take notice, like Horner's BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS and that kind of stuff.

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1 minute ago, Thor said:

Probably what they thought too. Personally, I've always found it excellent. But then, I'm rarely investigating orchestral performances with a magnifying glass, like so many do here. It will have to be really bad for me to take notice, like Horner's BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS and that kind of stuff.

 

I've never investigated this score in much detail either, but when you get the feeling that some of the players are really struggling with the tempo in your favourite track, and the tempo is already too slow, it's kind of a deal-breaker.

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This CD is recommended by some classical sites, your impression?

 

As I understand, it's the Suite Herrmann wrote from his score, not the score itself.

 

Correct me, but it seems the original score has never been re-recorded yet?

Herrmann: The Devil And Daniel Webster / James Sedares

Hermann: The Devil and Daniel Webster

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Yes, the original score has never been fully recorded. Have I have this fabulous recording and the sound quality is very good. This Devil Webster is not the full recording but an extended suite. The Charles Ives tribute suite is another winner. John Williams conducted two cues including the Ives piece in a concert in NY. 

 

This is a must have! 

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Oh there is another recording of the same Daniel Webster suite on the Unicorn Kanchana label. It's also a good recording being conducted by Herrmann himself. 

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3 minutes ago, Brundlefly said:

What was the best recording of Psycho and Vertigo again?

Vertigo I’d say the Joel McNeely version, although it’s not quite complete but covers a majority of the score in a superb performance with tremendous sound. Psycho with the same forces is (I believe) complete but is less favourably regarded but I still find to be a fine recording. I guess the warmth and depth of sound that benefits Vertigo isn’t as suitable for Psycho but still great. However, the Danny Elfman remake versions from 1998 is considered to more closely match the intensity of the original but has the downsides of being incomplete (albeit not missing anything major) and hard to find.

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1 hour ago, Brundlefly said:

McNeely version is that the one released by Varese Sarabane in the late 90s?

That’s the one. And I agree with @Jurassic Shark that the Herrmann suite versions are quite ponderous. Also they are suites rather than more or less the complete score. Indeed his movie thrillers album is probably my least favourite of the phase 4 albums. The fantasy ones are much more enjoyable and the more colourful instrumentation benefits from the super up-front recording. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I listened to the first album of Herrmann's own re-recordings with the National/London Philh O.

 

Great sound for 1969!

 

The Suite from Psycho is conducted a bit slowly, I wonder if it was the wish of Herrmann, or because the orchestra could'nt follow! 

 

Well, it's different, but I have to admit we have SO MANY good re-recordings of those works those days, that these recordings represent a "rarity". But in those years, I guess it was the only way to hear these wonderfull works in all their glory.

 

Bernard Herrmann / London Philharmonic Orchestra ‎– Music From The Great Movie Thrillers (1969)

R-9460170-1480961794-6321.jpeg.jpg

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Bespin said:

I listened to the first album of Herrmann's own re-recordings with the National/London Philh O.

 

Great sound for 1969!

 

The Suite from Psycho is conducted a bit slowly, I wonder if it was the wish of Herrmann, or because the orchestra could'nt follow! 

The Philharmonia recordings are glorious phase 4 stereo, aren't they?

 

Herrmann conducted slowly at the time and later because his progressing illness made him slower to react in general. By 1975 he had to pass on the conducting duties on Taxi Driver because he couldn't move fast enough. The problem was mental more than physical (say, arms).

 

But at least that resulted in an unforgettable Thaxted in his recording of The Planets.

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9 minutes ago, Bespin said:

Taxi Driver is conducted by him?

Oh, mea culpa. I mixed it up with a story from the Psycho re-recording:

Quote

The clarity and excitement of the new Psycho recording made at Barking Assembly Hall with the National Philharmonic's string section hardly seemed possible at the outset of the one-day session, at which Herrmann was weak and tense. "Benny started rehearsal with the prelude," John Goldsmith recalled, "and although he was never the world's greatest conductor, he certainly wasn't himself healthwise. He began conducting the opening at a crawl and Laurie Johnson and I just looked at each other. Benny turned to us and said, 'Whaddaya think?' I said, 'A bit slow.' 'Whaddaya mean?' he said. 'This ain't the film!' 'Well, I know it's not the film, Benny; but it's much slower.' So he did it again, and Laurie jollied him on a bit more. Benny kept doing it, and doing it, and finally gave the baton to Laurie and said, 'Awww, Christ you do it!' After Laurie recorded the first track, Benny woke himself up and did better."

 

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16 minutes ago, Jay said:

R-1238862-1567058380-1146.jpeg.jpg

 

R-1238862-1567058380-6376.jpeg.jpg

 

Yes that's what I recalled, that Bernard Herrmann conducted the score himself, that's why I asked Fabulin.

 

The "horrible" recordings on the A-side where made after Herrmann's death, especially for the OST. Happily, now we have the complete score on CD.

 

Anyway  the 1969 Psycho re-recording remains a bit slow, but nothing dramatic. That was what, 6 years before Herrmann's death?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Like discussed on another thread, I gave this wonderful recording a little help by adding a light touch of compression.

 

I have become so picky over the years! But all the new recordings are compressed now, so it's always a bit odd to listen to an album which is not. In my case, it's because I listen mostly my music with headphones, so I appreciate less volume difference between very quiet parts and very louder ones. And my compression process is very "light".

Bernard Herrmann: The Devil and Daniel Webster, etc ...

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So they divided the albums to recreate the original LP programs... that's how I listen to them anyway!

 

"Music From Great Shakespearean Films" and "Great British Film Scores" doesn't contain any music composed by Herrmann, so for me they are less interesting...

 

I just purchased this 1994 UK CD, for getting the Obsession OST. I think it'll do the job!

 

Welles Raises Kane / Devil & Daniel Webster

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