June 23 – 30, 2011
One of the most important and influential composers to set music to celluloid, Bernard Herrmann (1911 - 1975) indelibly heightened many of film's greatest images with his profoundly affecting scores, which ranged with spellbinding virtuoso from joltingly terrifying to achingly wistful. Herrmann is most frequently and notably associated with suspense maestro Alfred Hitchcock, with whom he collaborated on a substantial number of essential films. The screeching, dagger-like violins that horrifically punctuate the shower scene in PSYCHO (and somewhat unjustly upstage the smoothly careening brilliance of the rest of the film's score) are the creative work of Herrmann, as are the swelling, melancholic movements that make VERTIGO a film of realized obsession.
Yet Herrmann's work extends well beyond the realm of the Hitch, including scores for two of Orson Welles' most brilliant works, CITIZEN KANE and THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, Nicholas Ray's snow-blanketed gem ON DANGEROUS GROUND and Martin Scorsese's methodically scorching neo-noir TAXI DRIVER - for which Herrmann's slow-burning, jazz-inflected score is perfect. Perhaps because of his resolute insistence on zero director interference in the scoring process (an insistence that would ultimately lead him and Hitchcock to irrevocably part ways), Herrmann subscribed to the belief that the best film music should be able to stand alone as music in its own right. This philosophy is absolutely apparent in Herrmann's work, as his pieces are as thrilling to the ear as they are harmonious with the cinematic image.
Join us for a tribute to the career of Bernard Herrmann, including CAPE FEAR, OBSESSION, MARNIE and HANGOVER SQUARE.
On June 16 and June 17, the album "Bernard Herrmann Film Scores: From Citizen Kane to Taxi Driver" can be streamed at listn.to/milanrecords and a track can be downloaded for free. Milan Records will also be giving away a copy of the CD at each screening in this series!
Series compiled by Grant Moninger and Gwen Deglise. Program notes by Beth Hanna.