Bernard Herrmann / June 29, 1911 - Dec 24, 1975

A very significant 20th-century composer, Bernard Herrmann is best known for his film scores, especially for Alfred Hitchcock. A Russian-American Jew, he grew up in NYC and found work as a composer and conductor in the world of classical music after his schooling at Julliard. During the Great Depression of the '30s he was able to put together his own orchestra of out-of-work musicians and played the music of underknown composers, including Charles Ives, whom Herrmann championed. He did a lot of work for Orson Welles, including scoring Welles' first film Citizen Kane, as well as several radio works such as War of the Worlds

After having his work on The Magnificent Ambersons edited and butchered (as happened to Welles for the film itself), he only accepted jobs where he had complete artistic control. This would include the Psycho shower scene, as Hitchcock originally wanted the scene silent. He ended his association with Hitchcock after the director tried to get him to do a pop music score for Torn Curtain. Bernard walked off the project.

His films for Hitchcock included Psycho (those strings!), North By Northwest, Marnie, The Wrong Man, Vertigo and others. Other well known cinematic works of his doing include the original Cape Fear, the classic use of theremin for 1951's The Day The Earth Stood Still and work for Francois Truffaut, Brian DePalma, Nicolas Ray and Martin Scorsese. And that doesn't include his concert music, compositions for TV (The Twilight Zone) and radio (he scored Aldous Huxley's Brave New World) and the project that took up the largest number of years to make, his Wuthering Heights opera ('51), which never saw a complete production of it in his lifetime. He died the day after he finished the score for Taxi Driver.

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published