GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Lethevich on June 03, 2009, 07:44:37 AM

Title: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Lethevich on June 03, 2009, 07:44:37 AM
Wikipedia entry for Bernard Herrmann (1911–75) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Herrmann)

It would be nice to have a thread on this fellow to centralise any discussion. I have had the cantata Moby Dick on my radar for some time due to several mentions by GMG members (Vandermolen in particular, I believe), but so far the only full piece by him that I have heard is the opera Wuthering Heights.

It's a fine, moody piece with some enjoyable Peter Grimes-esque orchestral interludes, and less razzle-dazzle than I had been expecting. With a suitably atmospheric staging, this could make a sumptuous DVD. A promising start! I'll investigate more of his music in the next few days, and hopefully we have some more fans on board!
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: karlhenning on June 03, 2009, 07:48:47 AM
Wikipedia entry for Bernard Herrmann (1911–75) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Herrmann)

It would be nice to have a thread on this fellow to centralise any discussion. I have had the cantata Moby Dick on my radar for some time due to several mentions by GMG members (Vandermolen in particular, I believe), but so far the only full piece by him that I have heard is the opera Wuthering Heights.

It's a fine, moody piece with some enjoyable Peter Grimes-esque orchestral interludes, and less razzle-dazzle than I had been expecting. With a suitably atmospheric staging, this could make a sumptuous DVD. A promising start! I'll investigate more of his music in the next few days, and hopefully we have some more fans on board!

Well done, Sara!

His scoring for Psycho and North By Northwest (which may be all I know of his music) is expert, and value-added to the films.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Dundonnell on June 03, 2009, 07:54:25 AM
The Symphony is superb :) I have it on an old Koch cd(Phoenix Symphony Orchestra/James Sedares) coupled with Schuman's New England Triptych. Should still be available.

Pity he didn't write more orchestral music.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Brewski on June 03, 2009, 08:11:35 AM
Of the few Herrmann pieces I've heard so far, I've not heard any that I didn't like.  The CD below, with Salonen and the LA Phil, is not only a favorite Herrmann recording, but a fave recording, period.

(And thread title du jour, for sure.  ;D)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: karlhenning on June 03, 2009, 08:16:47 AM
Argh, Bruce;  I don't know that I realized before that he'd scored Taxi Driver.  I'm not really keen to watch that flick again, but at some point I should, for purposes of paying attention to the score . . . .
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Dr. Dread on June 03, 2009, 08:25:38 AM
I am about to display my massive Herrmann collection:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51D9RTN59YL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

You are welcome...  0:)
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: karlhenning on June 03, 2009, 08:28:51 AM
Of course, I must see Vertigo . . . which is the one briefly excerpted in Twelve Monkeys, I think.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Brewski on June 03, 2009, 08:58:50 AM
Of course, I must see Vertigo . . . which is the one briefly excerpted in Twelve Monkeys, I think.

Have you not seen Vertigo, Karl?  It is arguably my favorite Hitchcock film, and the score contributes a great deal to its power.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: karlhenning on June 03, 2009, 10:48:54 AM
Have you not seen Vertigo, Karl?  It is arguably my favorite Hitchcock film, and the score contributes a great deal to its power.

Never in toto, Bruce . . . I've certainly seen the odd bit . . . .
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: tjguitar on June 04, 2009, 09:09:34 AM
just ordered this one...

(http://www.screenarchives.com/gifs/large/12466.gif)
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Marc on June 04, 2009, 10:47:08 AM
Have you not seen Vertigo, Karl? It is arguably my favorite Hitchcock film, and the score contributes a great deal to its power.

Count me in!

Although the end is a bit ....
.... hush, maybe Karl doesn't want to know.

The nightmare section with James Stewart is really awesome, and so is Hermann's mesmerizing music!
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2009, 10:49:17 AM
Count me in!

Although the end is a bit ....
.... hush, maybe Karl doesn't want to know.

No spoilers, dude!
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Marc on June 04, 2009, 11:07:20 AM
No spoilers, dude!

Dude = inexperienced European or Asian citizen who moved to the Wild West without actually knowing what he was doing.
Synonyms: greenhorn, tenderfoot.


Of course, this is common knowledge to each and everyone. :)

Well Karl, surely you're a dude yourself, when Hitchcock's Vertigo is concerned! It's a classic, for heaven's sake!

Still, the end of this classic is a bit ..........

;D
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Lethevich on June 04, 2009, 11:27:10 AM
Just listened to Moby Dick - wow, hehe, very blood and thunder. It reminds me a little of Prokofiev's Seven, They Are Seven at times. It has that mid-century impact to it. Also rather massively scored and with a huge sweep. I certainly don't expect something like this from the usually modest form of the cantata - it is rather more like a choral symphony. Gonna be listening to this one a lot more in future :)
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Bogey on June 04, 2009, 12:36:07 PM
Recently picked up some Herrmann on vinyl (as posted in the film music section):

(http://tbn1.google.com/images?q=tbn:rde1xb3ADDeo5M:http://www.soundtrackcollector.com/images/cd/large/Music_great_movie_Thrillers_PFS4173.jpg)  (http://www5a.biglobe.ne.jp/~lestudio/photo_film/dec_4213.jpg)  (http://tbn1.google.com/images?q=tbn:eAGRYayPWlMevM:http://static.rateyourmusic.com/album_images/s268609.jpg)
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Catison on June 04, 2009, 01:04:23 PM
Reading the title of this thread, I got vertigo until I looked north by northwest and saw the taxi driver with the sisters's torn curtains.  My temperature went to Fahrenheit 451, because the Egyptian is always letting the birds into the garden of evil.  That is the trouble with Harry, giving me a twisted nerve and no joy in the morning.  You couldn't say he was man who knew too much, but he was always the man in the gray flannel suit.  He told me the day the earth stood still we were on dangerous ground.  I thought he was psycho, because he is always talking about the naked and the dead for endless nights.  Perhaps that is why he likes his blue denim cape. Fear the wrong man, and it's alive.  Any citizen kane tell you that.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Guido on June 04, 2009, 03:22:53 PM
Just listened to Moby Dick - wow, hehe, very blood and thunder. It reminds me a little of Prokofiev's Seven, They Are Seven at times. It has that mid-century impact to it. Also rather massively scored and with a huge sweep. I certainly don't expect something like this from the usually modest form of the cantata - it is rather more like a choral symphony. Gonna be listening to this one a lot more in future :)

Where are you finding these CDs? Are you paying the extortionate prices that Amazon sellers seem to be charging?
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Dundonnell on June 04, 2009, 03:48:42 PM
At the risk of repeating myself(which I am doing ;D) Bernard Herrmann would have wanted you to have listened to his only Symphony as well as the admittedly excellent film music.

The Symphony was written in 1941 on commission from the New York Philharmonic and CBS-a prestigious commission for a 30 year old composer. The CBS Symphony Orchestra gave the first performance two hours before Herrmann's wife gave birth to a daughter :)

Herrmann tried to get Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra to perform the splendidly neo-romantic piece but Ormandy wanted to slash 15 minutes out of the score...the great conductor had an unfortunate tendency to want such cuts in other works too.

Some reviews-

http://www.amazon.com/Herrmann-Symphony-Schuman-England-Triptych/dp/B000001SF8

Herrmann was a very fine conductor as well, a great anglophile and supporter of British composers like Richard Arnell(whilst the young
Arnell was living and working in New Yourk during the war).
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2009, 03:57:22 PM
At the risk of repeating myself(which I am doing ;D)

Oh, it's past risk, then  ;D
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Guido on June 04, 2009, 04:03:35 PM
At the risk of repeating myself(which I am doing ;D) Bernard Herrmann would have wanted you to have listened to his only Symphony as well as the admittedly excellent film music.

The Symphony was written in 1941 on commission from the New York Philharmonic and CBS-a prestigious commission for a 30 year old composer. The CBS Symphony Orchestra gave the first performance two hours before Herrmann's wife gave birth to a daughter :)

Herrmann tried to get Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra to perform the splendidly neo-romantic piece but Ormandy wanted to slash 15 minutes out of the score...the great conductor had an unfortunate tendency to want such cuts in other works too.

Some reviews-

http://www.amazon.com/Herrmann-Symphony-Schuman-England-Triptych/dp/B000001SF8

Herrmann was a very fine conductor as well, a great anglophile and supporter of British composers like Richard Arnell(whilst the young
Arnell was living and working in New Yourk during the war).

I can only see it on Amazon where it is ridiculously expensive...
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Dundonnell on June 04, 2009, 04:09:17 PM
I can only see it on Amazon where it is ridiculously expensive...

If you are interested Guido.....let me know ;D
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Lethevich on June 04, 2009, 04:15:04 PM
Where are you finding these CDs? Are you paying the extortionate prices that Amazon sellers seem to be charging?

Demonoid* - I'm not often interested in paying new prices for secondhand CDs, let alone double or quadrouple. DLing these out of print discs that have put several composers on the map for me, meaning if a new recording or reissue of Moby Dick becomes available, I will buy it in a heartbeat. Weird how hopeless some labels are at capitalism. Make them available as downloads with linear notes (which has almost zero overhead fees after setup costs), and we will buy them. Goddamn it!

*There has been a lot of rare stuff uploaded recently - lots of American composers on the defunct Bay Cities label, etc.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Brian on June 04, 2009, 06:25:10 PM
Reading the title of this thread, I got vertigo until I looked north by northwest and saw the taxi driver with the sisters's torn curtains.  My temperature went to Fahrenheit 451, because the Egyptian is always letting the birds into the garden of evil.  That is the trouble with Harry, giving me a twisted nerve and no joy in the morning.  You couldn't say he was man who knew too much, but he was always the man in the gray flannel suit.  He told me the day the earth stood still we were on dangerous ground.  I thought he was psycho, because he is always talking about the naked and the dead for endless nights.  Perhaps that is why he likes his blue denim cape. Fear the wrong man, and it's alive.  Any citizen kane tell you that.
;D This post took my breath away. Bravo!
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: karlhenning on June 12, 2009, 05:15:04 AM
Too much Hitchock not enough Herrmann on this thread  $:)  ;D
Title: Re: Herrmann's Opera Wuthering Heights in Minnesota
Post by: Cato on March 27, 2011, 03:47:54 PM
Right before Easter, the Minnesota Opera is offering a new production of Bernard Herrmann's opera Wuthering Heights:

http://www.mnopera.org/season/performances?module=performances&showid=1949 (http://www.mnopera.org/season/performances?module=performances&showid=1949)

Be there, or be a rhombus!   :o

We do indeed hope that a CD will be available!
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: eyeresist on March 27, 2011, 07:56:58 PM
Hopefully this will be the start of a general revival...
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: listener on March 27, 2011, 09:44:05 PM
Another collection, non-Hitchcock, on CD
and I have the OOP? Koch 3-7225 recording of the Concerto Macabre from Hangover Square in my collection.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: drogulus on March 27, 2011, 10:28:37 PM
     Herrmann favorites of mine:

     The original (1959) opening and closing music for The Twilight Zone.

     The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) which featured the first appearance of the amplified solid body bass.

     The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

     Fahrenheit 451 (1966)

     Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

     Mysterious Island (1961)
     

     
Title: Re: Herrmann's Opera Wuthering Heights in Minnesota: Review
Post by: Cato on April 21, 2011, 04:53:58 AM
Heidi Waleson of the Wall Street Journal offered a review of Wuthering Heights, which was recently performed by the Minnesota Opera.

"The composer Bernard Herrmann (1911-1975) is best known for his atmospheric scores on such films as "Citizen Kane," "Vertigo," "Psycho" and "Taxi Driver," but he considered his only opera, "Wuthering Heights," completed in 1951, to be his masterwork. The opera was never performed in his lifetime, apparently because Herrmann refused to permit any cuts or alterations to its 3½ hours of music; it finally had one production in 1982 at the Portland Opera. This season, the Minnesota Opera mounted the piece as part of its multiyear New Works Initiative. Trimmed to just under three hours, including one intermission, the work comes off as an intriguing artifact by a composer who was clearly devoted to every one of the far too many notes that he wrote for it...

Herrmann's best work is in the lush and colorful orchestration, which powerfully conjures up the natural world that plays such an important role in the story—the changing seasons and the violent storms of the Yorkshire moors that symbolize Cathy and Heathcliff's turbulent bond.

The vocal writing is less persuasive, much of it a shapeless parlando that is merely a vehicle for the text. A few eloquent arias, like Cathy's "I have dreamt," advance the action and the character development, but others, like her husband Edgar's "Now art thou dear," in which he reads a poem out loud to her, are more like set pieces designed to give the singers a showcase. There are no multivoice ensembles, and even with the relatively fleet tempi adopted by conductor Michael Christie, the piece still feels too long, particularly in the first half. Ironically, it would have benefited from cinematic dramaturgy, a world whose constraints Herrmann was no doubt trying to escape...."

Waleson praises the singers and conductor for doing their best with what she obviously considers to be a lengthy mediocrity.

For the entire review:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703916004576271104170753020.html?mod=WSJ_ArtsEnt_LifestyleArtEnt_4 (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703916004576271104170753020.html?mod=WSJ_ArtsEnt_LifestyleArtEnt_4)
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: karlhenning on April 21, 2011, 04:55:16 AM
Thanks for that, Cato!
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Brewski on April 21, 2011, 06:18:59 AM
Great news: the Minnesota Opera is recording Wuthering Heights in HD. More information here (http://www.mnopera.org/files/content/files/2011-04-15_wutheringheightsinhd_pr.pdf), from the opera company's website.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Cato on April 21, 2011, 06:55:28 AM
Great news: the Minnesota Opera is recording Wuthering Heights in HD. More information here (http://www.mnopera.org/files/content/files/2011-04-15_wutheringheightsinhd_pr.pdf), from the opera company's website.

--Bruce

Thanks to Bruce Brewski! And you can check out small excerpts here:

http://www.mnopera.org/watchlisten#tab1&vid=3 (http://www.mnopera.org/watchlisten#tab1&vid=3)

The "On the Moors" staging strikes me as something out of the Pre-Raphaelites.

e.g.

(http://www.arthistoryspot.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/La-Belle-Dame-Sans-Merci.jpg)
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 22, 2011, 10:14:46 AM
This is the site to be, with some excellent articles:


http://www.bernardherrmann.org/
Title: Re: Herrmann's 100th Birthday
Post by: Cato on June 29, 2011, 08:35:33 AM
Herrmann's 100th birthday has generated an article in the Wall Street Journal today (June 29, 2011).

See:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303339904576403661596180184.html?KEYWORDS=Herrmann (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303339904576403661596180184.html?KEYWORDS=Herrmann)

Excerpts:

"Thus Herrmann became America's greatest film composer not on the basis of a few extraordinary pieces, but for an unsurpassed and complex body of work in the service of story. No other composer so consistently enriched the audience's understanding of a character's emotional and psychological state.

"That was his great skill—his understanding of the psychology of character," the film composer Howard Shore said. "

And:

"As a composer for hire, Herrmann's unflagging belief in his own opinions about music served him as well as his supreme skill at composition and orchestration. He once told William S. Paley, the president of CBS for whom he worked for 15 years starting in 1933: "You're assuming the public is as ignorant about music as you."

"He was not a collegial guy," said (Composer John) Williams, who worked with Herrmann in Universal Studios' TV department. "He was contemptuous of a certain kind of populism. He had his strong points of vision and had no truck for people he felt didn't have integrity in their work. But with me he was very kind."

And:

"Herrmann was nominated for an Academy Award for "Kane" and "The Devil and Daniel Webster," winning the award for the latter—his sole Oscar. With those two works, he established himself as a visionary film composer—with a formidable and prickly personality. In 1942, he demanded his name be removed from the credits to Welles's "The Magnificent Ambersons" after RKO famously re-edited and butchered the film."
Title: Re: Herrmann's 100th Birthday
Post by: karlhenning on June 29, 2011, 08:42:59 AM
Nice. Knew there was some cosmic reason I was revisiting North by Northwest, Vertigo & Psycho this year!
Title: Herrmann's Scores On The Piano
Post by: Cato on July 08, 2011, 06:57:12 AM
I came across this by chance: an arrangement for solo piano of parts of various movie scores, including Sisters (one of the most under-rated scores Herrmann ever produced).

Here is an example of Vertigo:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003P9SZ2S/ref=dm_mu_dp_trk4 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003P9SZ2S/ref=dm_mu_dp_trk4)

I was not all that impressed with the arrangements as heard from the little snippets (they sounded awfully thin), but in case anyone is interested...
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: cassandra on July 08, 2011, 02:52:11 PM
Hi, this is my first posting so be gentle with me!

I remember John Amis relating how, when a composition student asked Herrmann for some tips, he snarled "When the composer's name comes up in the titles, go into the major key!" True or not, it fits in with the character we have been handed down.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: vandermolen on October 06, 2011, 12:49:12 PM
This new release looks very interesting!  I have the old Unicorn CD of 'Moby Dick' with Herrmann conducting the 'National Philharmonic Orchestra' - but such an exciting work deserves a modern recording.  I hope that the same forces go on to record Bernard Herrmann's ' Symphony No.1'.

Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Lethevich on October 06, 2011, 01:00:57 PM
I hope that the same forces go on to record Bernard Herrmann's ' Symphony No.1'.

Big time! That would be a timely release too, coinciding with both Chandos's traversal of Rózsa's concert music, and also the Havergal Brian revival, whose craggy music has some similarities with Herrmann's symphony.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Bogey on October 08, 2011, 03:58:23 AM
Thanks for the heads up on this one, Van!
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: relm1 on October 08, 2011, 08:31:10 AM
I own both recordings of Herrmann's "Moby Dick" cantata and here are my impressions. 

Herrmann's cantata demonstrates his early influences of Vaughan Williams and Britten at their most austere. To be compared with these titans of English music is a good thing. As one would expect from anything by Herrmann, there is atmosphere and moodiness aplenty. The music is dark and troubled and this new Chandos CD is very well recorded with some lovely performances.  In general, this recording is polished with deep bass and rich sonorities but at some instances, the strings sound a bit thin, and the brass lack the bite that Herrmann’s own recording from the late 1960s had.  Perhaps Herrmann's style of conducting lends itself to being over the top in a way that we have become accustomed to in his music and when it is played "straight", it feels somewhat restrained. The Chandos percussion and winds sound excellent. “Ishmael – It was a clear steel blue day” and the monologues of Ahab are particularly beautiful.  Comparing this recording to the composers own demonstrates how skilled a conductor he was.  It does inhabit the same sound world of some of his contemporary scores such as the masterpiece, “Citizen Kane” and his Symphony. It would have been nice if Chandos included a performance of some other rare concert piece by Herrmann such as his delicate early work, “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”. From a compositional point of view, Herrmann’s piece is at its best during the somber moments. The longer movements seem a bit disjointed lacking a sense of overall structure.  Herrmann here reminds me of Vaughan Williams somewhat earlier cantatas such as “Sancta Civitas” but the Vaughan Williams has more structural clarity.

To summarize, it is hard to beat the composers own version with its intensity however the Herrmann performance featured clipping and shows its age. This Chandos version is the technical winner though lacking some of the intensity those familiar with the original recording would expect.  As a more mellow performance, this newer recording succeeds very well in the more tranquil moments that are played dramatically and recorded beautifully. Those who can’t get enough Herrmann will enjoy this CD but will probably keep around Herrmann’s own recording for its boldness despite its clipping. 
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Dundonnell on October 08, 2011, 08:58:26 AM
I listened to the new Chandos recording the other night.

I am interested in your comments about the "early influences of Vaughan Wiliams and Britten". I agree that I hear both composers in the work but I wonder whether Herrmann-who wrote 'Moby Dick' between 1936 and 1938-was influenced by Britten or influenced Britten. How much early Britten would Herrmann actually have heard before 1938? Britten apparently attended a New York Phil. performance under Barbirolli. I just wonder if the influence was as much the other way?
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on October 08, 2011, 09:42:02 AM
Interesting question, Colin... And Karim, thanks for sharing your impressions!
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: relm1 on October 08, 2011, 11:04:26 AM
I listened to the new Chandos recording the other night.

I am interested in your comments about the "early influences of Vaughan Wiliams and Britten". I agree that I hear both composers in the work but I wonder whether Herrmann-who wrote 'Moby Dick' between 1936 and 1938-was influenced by Britten or influenced Britten. How much early Britten would Herrmann actually have heard before 1938? Britten apparently attended a New York Phil. performance under Barbirolli. I just wonder if the influence was as much the other way?

Wow, I didn't realize that.  Interesting point! 
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Cato on October 09, 2011, 06:10:42 PM
Many thanks to all for their comments: let's hope that Wuthering Heights might also be in the works for a new CD!
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Cato on February 02, 2012, 11:53:58 AM
Recently I obtained the original soundtrack of On Dangerous Ground made by Film Score Monthly (the CD is out-of-print unfortunately), and I must say this score ranks with Herrmann's best.  One hears premonitions of Vertigo, North By Northwest, and even Psycho in the music.

The CD came from tracks, some of which were damaged, meaning that a revolving hiss or scratchiness is sometimes present: for most of them, however, (especially the rousing "Hunt" tracks, the sound is very good, although monaural.  With some tinkering a sound system can bring out the orchestra.

The movie I saw many moons ago, and recall the score being a little buried: it is a Nicholas Ray movie about a rogue detective sent away from the city who becomes involved in a murder investigation in the "far north" of New York state.

Anyway, SOMEBODY please record the score in this century!
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Bogey on February 03, 2012, 08:04:22 AM
Recently I obtained the original soundtrack of On Dangerous Ground made by Film Score Monthly (the CD is out-of-print unfortunately), and I must say this score ranks with Herrmann's best.  One hears premonitions of Vertigo, North By Northwest, and even Psycho in the music.

The CD came from tracks, some of which were damaged, meaning that a revolving hiss or scratchiness is sometimes present: for most of them, however, (especially the rousing "Hunt" tracks, the sound is very good, although monaural.  With some tinkering a sound system can bring out the orchestra.

The movie I saw many moons ago, and recall the score being a little buried: it is a Nicholas Ray movie about a rogue detective sent away from the city who becomes involved in a murder investigation in the "far north" of New York state.

Anyway, SOMEBODY please record the score in this century!

That one has been on my wish list for some time.  I used to subscribe to FSM until they went digital.  Some of their cds are amazing and can fetch high sums after they go OOP.  I might want to pull the trigger on this one.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Cato on February 03, 2012, 09:29:24 AM
That one has been on my wish list for some time.  I used to subscribe to FSM until they went digital.  Some of their cds are amazing and can fetch high sums after they go OOP.  I might want to pull the trigger on this one.

If you are a Herrmann fan, this is something you will most probably be delighted to have, even with the monaural sound and the noise from some of the damaged originals.

It also has short outtakes of Herrmann talking to the orchestra: classic nasal New Yawk accent!   8)
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Bogey on February 03, 2012, 09:52:11 AM
If you are a Herrmann fan, this is something you will most probably be delighted to have, even with the monaural sound and the noise from some of the damaged originals.

It also has short outtakes of Herrmann talking to the orchestra: classic nasal New Yawk accent!   8)

Thanks!  Just snapped one up off of Ebay.  Only one seller, but less than the Amazon group.  Looks as if the availability is starting to dry up a bit, so thought it prudent to order now.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Bogey on February 03, 2012, 09:54:02 AM
Love this shot of Benny  and Hitch....may have to make it my avatar for a bit.

(http://www.bernardherrmann.org/legacy/site/articles/misc/torncurtain/hitch_herrmann_1.jpg)
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Cato on February 06, 2012, 07:09:38 PM
My brother sent me this Los Angeles Philharmonic performance of The Death Hunt from On Dangerous Ground:

http://www.youtube.com/v/lqL5gEoXWBk
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Bogey on February 06, 2012, 08:52:37 PM
My brother sent me this Los Angeles Philharmonic performance of The Death Hunt from On Dangerous Ground:

http://www.youtube.com/v/lqL5gEoXWBk

That was cool!
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Cato on September 06, 2012, 04:15:36 AM
We have written NOTHING since February here???!!!   :o

I have just received the French performance of Herrmann's opera Wuthering Heights.

So far I have only had time to hear the opening CD but was very happy with the sound and performance quality.



Available for c. $30.00 from a British seller.  I received it within 2 weeks.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on September 06, 2012, 08:52:45 AM
Les Hauts de Hurlevent, I like the title even better en français.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on September 06, 2012, 08:55:12 AM
A subtle touch which escaped me the first few times I watched Twelve Monkeys: even when Cole and Railly are no longer actually watching Vertigo, the soundtrack continues to play Herrmann's score from the Hitchcock film.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Cato on September 06, 2012, 09:56:46 AM
A subtle touch which escaped me the first few times I watched Twelve Monkeys: even when Cole and Railly are no longer actually watching Vertigo, the soundtrack continues to play Herrmann's score from the Hitchcock film.

Okay, so I need to hit the library and find Twelve Monkeys!   ;D
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Cato on September 06, 2012, 11:07:41 AM
I have just listened to CD 2 of Wuthering Heights: again, very nice!  The ending of Act II is not to be missed, and Act III (so far) has some very fine moments.

I should admit that I am concentrating more on what the orchestra is doing, and on the music itself, rather than on the words.  A second hearing will be done with more attention to the text.




Title: Herrmann's Psycho and ...Eleanor Rigby???
Post by: Cato on September 12, 2012, 05:46:43 AM
From a Wall Street Journal article about "producer" George Martin and the Beatles:

Quote
"In June 1965, Mr. Martin launched his rock-classical experiments, beginning with "Yesterday." "We had never done anything like that before—and no one else had either. When I first suggested adding a string quartet, Paul [McCartney] grimaced and said, 'I don't want Mantovani, thank you.' I said, 'It doesn't have to be like that—we can be more clinical. We can use a baroque string quartet.'"

When "Eleanor Rigby" was slated for recording a year later, Mr. McCartney pushed for strings. "My approach was greatly influenced by Bernard Herrmann and his film score for 'Psycho,'" Mr. Martin said. "He had a way of making violins sound fierce. That inspired me to have the strings play short notes forcefully, giving the song a nice punch."

See:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444327204577617182988336066.html?mod=WSJ_ArtsEnt_LifestyleArtEnt_4 (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444327204577617182988336066.html?mod=WSJ_ArtsEnt_LifestyleArtEnt_4)
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: cilgwyn on September 12, 2012, 02:13:05 PM
I have just listened to CD 2 of Wuthering Heights: again, very nice!  The ending of Act II is not to be missed, and Act III (so far) has some very fine moments.

I should admit that I am concentrating more on what the orchestra is doing, and on the music itself, rather than on the words.  A second hearing will be done with more attention to the text.


They release some interesting stuff. I bought their live recording of Pizzetti's opera,Fedra (also Montpelier). Great sound,very little,if any,in the way of annoying coughing or feet clumping about! And Pizzetti's opulent,symphonic approach to opera kept me listening,despite the absence of an english libretto. And very cheap too! (Around twelve quid for a new release;wish they were all that low!) Anyway,Bernard Herrmann in French sounds pretty cool! I liked the Unicorn Lp version,and the prospect of Herrmanns lush orchestration in digital sound quality is VERY tempting!
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Cato on September 12, 2012, 02:54:53 PM
Anyway,Bernard Herrmann in French sounds pretty cool! I liked the Unicorn Lp version,and the prospect of Herrmanns lush orchestration in digital sound quality is VERY tempting!

I wondered about that when I bought it, but no, everything is in English.

About the rest of the 3rd CD with the opera's conclusion I have not written anything: as with the other parts, the music is evocative of the story, and the death of the heroine is exquisitely handled.  This is not Wagner nor is it the Herrmann of the fantasy movies like Jason and the Argonauts.  The music is rather understated, and large loud orchestral sections are rare.

The performance is very fine: and yes, the audience does not intrude at all.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: cilgwyn on September 12, 2012, 03:28:18 PM
Sorry Cato,I think that can of Stella was colouring my memory a little. It's a long time since I heard those Lps,to be honest (and I think I have them somewhere,but no turntable! :( ). Now I remember it a little more clearly :-[ the orchestration was very restrained;although I seem to remember that there were one or two purely orchestral passages where Herrmann's cinematic credentials were evoked. I also remember that I enjoyed every moment of it & found the conclusion quite moving!

I suppose I'm glad it's in english.I was preparing myself for a Wuthering Heights in sexy sounding French! ;D
Title: Re: Re: Herrmann's Psycho and ...Eleanor Rigby???
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on September 12, 2012, 05:38:35 PM
From a Wall Street Journal article about "producer" George Martin and the Beatles:

See:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444327204577617182988336066.html?mod=WSJ_ArtsEnt_LifestyleArtEnt_4 (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444327204577617182988336066.html?mod=WSJ_ArtsEnt_LifestyleArtEnt_4)

Maybe Macca grimaced at George Martin's suggestion that the string quartet writing for "Yesterday" had aught to do with the Baroque.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: cilgwyn on September 13, 2012, 05:12:16 AM
The Accord set of Herrmann's 'Les Hauts de Hurlevent is quite a bit more expensive than their Pizzetti Fedra set!! Very tempting indeed! But this is one temptress that is going to have to wait! :(
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Cato on September 13, 2012, 07:44:36 AM
The Accord set of Herrmann's 'Les Hauts de Hurlevent is quite a bit more expensive than their Pizzetti Fedra set!! Very tempting indeed! But this is one temptress that is going to have to wait! :(

I saw that - suddenly - the set is no longer available in the U.S. via Amazon!!!  I am happy that I ordered it when I did: it came from a company in the U.K.  And yes, suddenly Amazon.UK has it for more than - Oy!  ???   - 30 Pounds, more than double what I paid back in August.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on September 13, 2012, 07:47:27 AM
Good catch, Cato!
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Cato on September 13, 2012, 08:53:43 AM
Good catch, Cato!

Actually I have been lucky twice this summer: somebody was selling the famous movie version of War and Peace directed by Sergei Bondarchuk on a 5-DVD set for $10.00...and for months the only ones available were over $100.00 !

I thought it had to be a mistake in zeroes, but no: ten bucks snagged it!   0:)
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Bogey on October 28, 2012, 08:40:47 AM
(http://www.pictures.martysaudiophilevinylcollection.com/Soundtracks/slides/herrmann-conducts%20great%20british%20film%20scores.jpg)

Starting today's music with this LP.  The Phase 4 Stereo sounds excellent on my system.  The vinyl is fairly heavy and holds fast.  Except for the Oliver Twist, I am not familiar with any of the works here, so the music will have to stand on its own, which it seems to be doing very nicely.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: cilgwyn on February 13, 2013, 09:15:26 AM
Yipeeeeeeeeee! :) I finally secured the Koch cd of Hermann's Symphony at a reasonable price! :) Unlike the one I obtained a couple of years ago,this one doesn't seem to freeze up. The Unicorn is too pricey for me! :( Anyway,this performance sounds pretty good. Smashing sound quality,too! If only Koch hadn't gone. They were an enterprising label.
Hermann's a culty sort of movie composer,and a very good one too. I'm surprised a new recording hasn't been released!

Having said that;while I enjoyed the Herrmann symphony,I'm not sure if the Schuman 'fill-up' was a good idea. The distinctiveness & concentration of Schuman's ideas do somehow leave the Herrmann standing...........as much as I really DO love it!! :( ;D Maybe an ALL Herrmann cd would have been a better idea?
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Bogey on July 30, 2013, 05:18:18 AM
My friend passed this one on to me:

(http://img687.imageshack.us/img687/5198/front500n.jpg)

(http://i41.tinypic.com/1182hq8.jpg)
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Cato on July 24, 2016, 02:12:40 AM
Bernard Herrmann's unused score for Torn Curtain is the subject of a Wall Street Journal article:


Quote
Bernard Herrmann’s music for Alfred Hitchcock’s “Torn Curtain”—a harrowing and haunting score—sundered what many believe is the greatest director-composer collaboration in Hollywood history. Pressured by Universal Pictures to deliver pop-oriented music in tune with the times, Hitchcock demanded that Herrmann eschew his “old pattern” of symphonic composition and deliver ’60s “beat and rhythm.” Incorrigibly independent as ever, Herrmann composed a dense, brutal, unapologetically symphonic score powered by 12 flutes, 16 horns, nine trombones, two tubas, double timpani, eight cellos and eight basses. He also, as in “Psycho,” composed an electrifying murder cue even though Hitchcock specified no music. Normally averse to unpleasantness, Hitchcock came unannounced to a recording session at Goldwyn Studios, listened to the Prelude, and angrily dismissed Herrmann in front of his orchestra colleagues, who cheered the score even as Hitchcock renounced it. The two never spoke again....

...With the Herrmann score, the film’s central characters, secret agent Michael Armstrong and his lover, Sarah Sherman, move furtively through the film as if pursued by the composer’s icy brass unisons and stalking chords. The moments of lyricism we get in other Herrmann-Hitchcock films are absent. The closest we get to melody are ominous bass and woodwind lines in cues like “The Formula” and “The Blackboard,” moments reminiscent of Shostakovich, whom Hitchcock tried to land for his next Cold War picture, “Topaz.” (Needless to say, the Soviet authorities were not cooperative.)

Despite the exotic orchestration—Herrmann promised that “the sound of 12 flutes will be terrifying”—there is something fundamental about this score. The most disturbing cue is the one Hitchcock explicitly forbade for the killing of the Soviet agent Gromek, an explosion of rage and violence in the timpani and lower brass, a premonition of Herrmann’s gathering storm with Hitchcock. Equally daring is the quiet music where Herrmann strips his huge orchestra down to intimate chamber ensembles: the queasy atonal sequence with agitated flutes depicting the cat-and-mouse movements of Michael and Gromek, or the sinister dialogue between brass and basses in “The Search.”...

In the one surviving music note from Hitchcock to Herrmann, Hitchcock requested for the Prelude “an exciting, arresting, and rhythmic piece of music whose function would be to immediately rivet the audience’s attention.” Riveting it certainly is, but a ’60s beat is nowhere to be found. Ironically, Addison’s replacement prelude, a glum waltz, doesn’t have it either, nor do any of his cues....


See:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-different-way-to-master-suspense-1469213842 (http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-different-way-to-master-suspense-1469213842)
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 24, 2016, 03:17:40 AM
Bernard Herrmann's unused score for Torn Curtain is the subject of a Wall Street Journal article:

Thanks for that. It inspired a mp3 download of the album conducted by Elmer Bernstein. The Prelude is smashing (and Sacre-like  8) )

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/feb2016/Torn%20Curtain.jpg)


Sarge
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Jo498 on July 24, 2016, 07:49:54 AM
Can anyone comment on the clarinet quintet "souvenirs de voyage"? Is this also based on film music and if so which one?
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 24, 2016, 08:33:58 AM
Can anyone comment on the clarinet quintet "souvenirs de voyage"? Is this also based on film music and if so which one?

I have a recording. The music is late Romantic, very lyrical (perhaps a few moments of schmaltz too). All that the notes say about the origin of the piece is that it was composed shortly after he'd traveled from Cali to England. No mention that it derived from film music (although I can imagine a bittersweet romance it could accompany).

Sarge
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Cato on July 24, 2016, 10:09:59 AM
Can anyone comment on the clarinet quintet "souvenirs de voyage"? Is this also based on film music and if so which one?

It has a melancholy air, not dissonant like the Psycho score: perhaps closer in atmosphere to the score for Brian de Palma's Obsession.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: relm1 on March 11, 2017, 05:19:54 PM
Bernard Herrmann's unused score for Torn Curtain is the subject of a Wall Street Journal article:



See:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-different-way-to-master-suspense-1469213842 (http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-different-way-to-master-suspense-1469213842)


I know this is an old post, but I know someone who was at the session of torn curtain and has a different take.  She said Bernie was called into the booth to discuss a cue with Hitch who was munching on English snack food (I forget what it was but something like french fries) with pieces all over his gut.  Herrmann walked out to the stage and said the fat guy wants us to try something different not realizing the recording mics were broadcasting into the booth where Hitch heard it on the live mics.  Bernie was called back into the booth and after a few nervous minutes, the orchestra was told they were unexpectedly done for the day and will be notified when the next session will be.  There never was another session and Bernie and Hitch never worked together again.  From her story, this was not a creative difference, but two major egos having a personal issue that resulted in the end of one of the greatest collaborative success stories in Hollywood history.  Since she was in the room, I believe her version.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: vandermolen on March 12, 2017, 01:08:16 AM

I know this is an old post, but I know someone who was at the session of torn curtain and has a different take.  She said Bernie was called into the booth to discuss a cue with Hitch who was munching on English snack food (I forget what it was but something like french fries) with pieces all over his gut.  Herrmann walked out to the stage and said the fat guy wants us to try something different not realizing the recording mics were broadcasting into the booth where Hitch heard it on the live mics.  Bernie was called back into the booth and after a few nervous minutes, the orchestra was told they were unexpectedly done for the day and will be notified when the next session will be.  There never was another session and Bernie and Hitch never worked together again.  From her story, this was not a creative difference, but two major egos having a personal issue that resulted in the end of one of the greatest collaborative success stories in Hollywood history.  Since she was in the room, I believe her version.
Very interesting and has the ring of truth about it. I love Herrmann's music but he was clearly a very difficult person to work with from what I have read and seen, especially as he got older. The biography 'A Heart at Fire's Center' about Herrmann is excellent. Years ago there was a great TV documentary about Herrmann but sadly never repeated.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: cilgwyn on March 12, 2017, 05:30:02 AM
I saw that - suddenly - the set is no longer available in the U.S. via Amazon!!!  I am happy that I ordered it when I did: it came from a company in the U.K.  And yes, suddenly Amazon.UK has it for more than - Oy!  ???   - 30 Pounds, more than double what I paid back in August.
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.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Monsieur Croche on March 12, 2017, 10:10:44 PM
...then there's this, from 1935

https://www.youtube.com/v/bXXN9rCVadg
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 13, 2017, 05:39:40 AM
I know this is an old post, but I know someone who was at the session of torn curtain and has a different take.  She said Bernie was called into the booth to discuss a cue with Hitch who was munching on English snack food (I forget what it was but something like french fries) with pieces all over his gut.  Herrmann walked out to the stage and said the fat guy wants us to try something different not realizing the recording mics were broadcasting into the booth where Hitch heard it on the live mics.  Bernie was called back into the booth and after a few nervous minutes, the orchestra was told they were unexpectedly done for the day and will be notified when the next session will be.  There never was another session and Bernie and Hitch never worked together again.  From her story, this was not a creative difference, but two major egos having a personal issue that resulted in the end of one of the greatest collaborative success stories in Hollywood history.  Since she was in the room, I believe her version.

Illustrative of the classic caution:  Just because a thought occurs to you, doesn't mean you have to give it voice.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: relm1 on March 13, 2017, 06:17:26 AM
Illustrative of the classic caution:  Just because a thought occurs to you, doesn't mean you have to give it voice.

Yes.  Bernie was known to have a very big mouth and I'm sure it frequently got him in trouble.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 13, 2017, 08:24:38 AM
Yes.  Bernie was known to have a very big mouth and I'm sure it frequently got him in trouble.

And it isn't as if he were somewhere he ought not to have expected mics to be live.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: relm1 on March 13, 2017, 04:07:45 PM
And it isn't as if he were somewhere he ought not to have expected mics to be live.

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!!
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Cato on March 13, 2017, 05:08:18 PM
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

https://www.youtube.com/v/bXXN9rCVadg

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.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: vandermolen on March 14, 2017, 12:12:11 AM
I remember that during the old TV documentary Herrmann talked about meeting Charles Ives whom he idolised. He was conducting a work by Ives and asked the composer for some advice about a passage. Ives said 'just add in something of your own' showing a total lack of self-importance.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Temple Of Worship
Post by: Cato on June 30, 2017, 04:29:43 AM
To start, the Vertigo score will forever stick with me, such a powerful score. Psycho? sure, North By Northwest, Taxi Driver, etc.

He's done some good Noirs too,
overall a deserved film legend and a cool concert composer in his own right. I remember picking up one of his symphonies at one point and being thrilled how he carried over his epic, psychological, cinematic style to the symphony form.

Yep, I think that Vertigo score sticks in my mind even stronger than the movie itself (though I can't possibly forget it)  :)

Do you know the score for On Dangerous Ground ?

https://www.youtube.com/v/Fq1Uy2OZ1ug

The entire score - original soundtrack - is available in a Mono and semi-damaged state: it includes Herrmann talking with the orchestra.  The Noo Yawk accent is very thick indeed!

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51X9jvjmAxL._SL500_SY300_.jpg (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51X9jvjmAxL._SL500_SY300_.jpg)

Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: Cato on October 26, 2018, 02:23:32 PM
I happened to see this anecdote on IMDB: from the information about Brian De Palma's Obsession

Quote
   

Composer Bernard Herrmann became infatuated with Geneviève Bujold after seeing her performance in an early cut of "Obsession". His feelings were heightened by Bujold's surprise visit to the soundtrack recording sessions in London in July 1975, the only time the two met in person. Herrmann's friend Charles Gerhardt recalled, "As she spoke to Benny in a heavy French accent I could tell he was about to get the hanky out. She told him of all the trouble she'd had with Cliff Robertson because he spent all his time in makeup and didn't make their love scenes meaningful. She said, 'Mr. Herrmann, he wouldn't make love to me - but you made love to me with your music'. And Benny started to cry. He would tell that story over and over at dinner, and start crying again every time". After Herrmann's death five months later, his widow found a photo of Bujold in his wallet.

:

Title: Re: Herrmann's Whitman
Post by: Cato on December 21, 2020, 03:15:57 PM
This came across my screen today unexpectedly:


(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71VxhAKKdpL._SL600_.jpg)



Here is the opening of the work - with links to other movements -  on You Tube:


https://www.youtube.com/v/ob5SrjwvG9o&list=OLAK5uy_kRVOZ5DYSAyRR9Lr-oLJLlBvfw4gUL25o
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on December 21, 2020, 04:12:53 PM
most interesting.
Title: Re: Herrmann's Humdinging House of (Hardly Haphazard) Harmonic Hoots
Post by: vandermolen on December 23, 2020, 12:04:29 AM
I just received that disc. Hope to play it fully today.
Have been playing this as well:
(http://)
Title: Re: Herrmann's Whitman
Post by: Cato on January 09, 2021, 10:02:53 AM
This came across my screen today unexpectedly:


(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71VxhAKKdpL._SL600_.jpg)



Here is the opening of the work - with links to other movements -  on You Tube:


https://www.youtube.com/v/ob5SrjwvG9o&list=OLAK5uy_kRVOZ5DYSAyRR9Lr-oLJLlBvfw4gUL25o


Herrmann's Whitman has an "Americana" sound related to the Citizen Kane and The Devil and Daniel Webster scores.  The text uses Whitman poems, but is semi-wartime propaganda: it is spoken, not sung, not Schoenbergian Sprechgesang.  It has some compelling sections. 


The essay accompanying the CD said that there are a total of 21 such radio dramas for which Herrmann provided music.  It would have been nice to have more of those, rather than another version of his chamber work and of Psycho.  But perhaps the music is not extant, or the funds for reviving them were not available.