Did you like the opera? I had the Lp set for a while. I bought it from a market stall. It was ex Swansea Library,I believe;but in good condition. Later,I was shocked to see the prices for the s/h cds. The Unicorns are some of the ones affected by bronzing,though! I quite liked the opera. The bits for orchestra alone were very filmic,as one might expect. Quite enjoyable,though. But I can see (hear?) why it hasn't caught on. And not just because it's traditionally tonal.
Yes, it does have its moments: its emotional range would seem to be perfect for the composer of the Psycho
score, but the latter is superior to the opera. And so the question could be posed: is it possible Herrmann
needed the visual element in some way? Would he have done better if Wuthering Heights
were a movie to be scored?
...then there's this, from 1935
Speaking of the composer of the Psycho
score, no visual stimulus was needed for this masterpiece!
Did you hear the strange audio interview with him in 1970 (during his self imposed exile from Hollywood) http://www.filmmusicsociety.org/news_events/features/2006/041006.html ? You get a sense of a bizarre personality...a man child full of whiny tantrums and instability. Meanwhile, he still had a lot of great music in him. His then wife was so much younger then him and he must have been a real challenge to deal with. Herrmann was 57 when he married his third wife, Norma Shepard who was three decades younger but far more mature!!
Thanks for the link!
When you go through three wives, it would seem that there must be something wrong with you
...or you have severe problems in judging personalities...or maybe both! If neither of those truly apply, I suppose it is possible that one could suffer some unusually bad luck.
The impression of instability and immaturity probably explains the marital problems. Nevertheless, Herrmann
undoubtedly had a great talent despite his quirks.
In the early 1970's, Brian de Palma
wrote an article about Herrmann
called Murder by Moog
: he took Herrmann's
advice on various things, although admits to being skeptical when Herrmann
told him that - after seeing the opening of the movie - a musical idea using synthesizers had come to him. Herrmann's
fee was the largest part of the movie's budget!
The usual story about Torn Curtain
is that Hitchcock
came in and saw the highly idiosyncratic orchestra (e.g. 10 flutes) and fired Herrmann
for obviously not acquiescing to the studio's "hit-song" demand.