Teasing the Korean

Bernard Herrmann

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I've been on a real Herrmann kick lately. Just spun "Cape Fear" "Vertigo" and "Taxi Driver."

He is simply one of the great composers of the 20th century.

Anyone here into Benny?

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There's this great solo disc by pianist Stephan Oliva (I'm a fan of his - a specialist in brooding darkish solo performance, he also collaborated with François Raulin on a Tristano project and leads his own small groups or peforms in duos, for instance with Joey Baron - www.stephanoliva.com):

stephan_oliva_hermann_.jpg

The label is Illusions (www.illusionsmusic.fr), it came out in 2007 (recorded last december) and it's a limited edition of 2000, packed in the nice cardboard digipack style that the Sketch label was using (it looks like some kind of Sketch offshoot, with Philippe Ghielmetti producing and designing the cover, recording at Studio La Buissonne by Gérard de Haro, all very Sketch-like).

I gave it a first spin yesterday and found it very good! Here's part of the liners (by Oliva I guess, but it doesn't say so):

"I never try to play his music in totally faithful fashion, and am perfectly willing to make allowances for subjective alterations that may arise through tricks of memory, improvisation or the transposition of orchestral work over to piano; yet when I was recording this CD, I had a twofold feeling -- that of re-experiencing all those films and melodies* as they re-emerged at random inside me, according to the emotions evoed, plus the even stranger feeling of being in the actual process of creating the music for yet another film where the subject would gradually draw a life portrait of Bernard Hermann himself, with allt he complexity that implies. For me, he's a phantom figure, the ghost who'll haunt the spirit of these timeless films for evermore" (typos are mine, of course)

*) music is from "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir", "Journey to the Center of the Earth", "Obsession", "Vertigo", "Psycho", "Fahrenheit 451", "Citizen Kane", "Taxi Driver" and a couple of other films, from 1947 (Mrs. Muir) to 1976 (Obsession).

If you enjoy piano music (I bet you do!), Oliva's disc from the 5CD box "Jazz n (e)motion" is fantastic! It's an all solo thing, too (the other pianists tackling film music are Martial Solal, Steve Kuhn, Alain Jean-Marie and Paul Bley, the box contains a short bonus disc but it may be easier to find some of the discs on their own, as it's all been OOP for a while).

Seems the Hermann disc isn't even listed on the FNAC website and FNAC is the only store in Paris to carry it... if I had known, I'd have gotten a copy for you when I was there last week, but now I'm home again...

Edited by king ubu

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Anyone here into Benny?

I sure am. Has been since I saw 'Citizen Kane' for the first time decades ago. Hisscores for itchcock are etched in my memory.

Herrman also wrote a superb score for François Truffaut 'Fahrenheit 451'. Not Truffaut's best but I stay tuned to the Hermann soundtrack every time I catch the film!

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Herrman also wrote a superb score for François Truffaut 'Fahrenheit 451'. Not Truffaut's best but I stay tuned to the Hermann soundtrack every time I catch the film!

That is one of his best scores ever. There has never been a full recording/release of the score, only suites.

That's about to change.

Naxos is releasing the full scores of both "Mysterious Island" and "Fahrenheit 451" by the Moscow Symphony with Stromberg conducting. These should be out later this month.

Fahrenheit 451 will be an absolute must-have.

The music in the film's final scene has to be some of the most poignant, beautiful music ever composed by Herrmann.

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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Some other startling Hermann ala solo is that heard on Ran Blake's "Vertigo", Owl Records.

I don't have it here and find no info on my Googles. Now if I can only get with the ripping from lp thing. -_-

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Naxos is releasing the full scores of both "Mysterious Island" and "Fahrenheit 451" by the Moscow Symphony with Stromberg conducting. These should be out later this month.

Fahrenheit 451 will be an absolute must-have.

The music in the film's final scene has to be some of the most poignant, beautiful music ever composed by Herrmann.

I'll really be getting that Fahrenheit score!

And another recommendation for that Stephan Oliva CD even - as Ubu already pointed out - it's a very difficult disc to get!

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Hey, i just picked up the Oliva disc at Paris Jazz Corner last week - they had a bundle in stock so could prob supply via their internet site...only one quick sample listen so far but it sounded promising.. the brooding piano thing can be a bit tricky to sustain over a whole album so I need to see if it stands up to a couple of repeats

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I've been on a real Herrmann kick lately. Just spun "Cape Fear" "Vertigo" and "Taxi Driver."

He is simply one of the great composers of the 20th century.

Anyone here into Benny?

You betcha. He's been my favorite film composer for many years. Check out Citizen Kane, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, and The Day the Earth Stood Still. The man was a genius.

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I have two of those three. TDTESS is one of my very favorites of his.

Still need to get "Ghost;" I'll probably go for the Elmer Bernstein re-recording (which is highly regarded, if incomplete).

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If you enjoy Herrmann's music you should read his biography "A Heart at Fire's Center" found here. It really is a history of film music and is a fascinating read.

Here's a review I did of it on Amazon.com:

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful:

A very detailed look at an infuriating composer., March 24, 2000

By Douglas T Martin (Alpharetta, GA USA) - See all my reviews

This review is from: A Heart at Fire's Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann (Hardcover)

The story of Bernard Herrmann does not begin and end with Hitchcock. It actually begins with Charles Ives and ends with Martin Scorcese. Along the way Orson Welles, Francios Trouffet, Brian DePalma, Sinbad, Gulliver, Rod Serling, and the "It's Alive" baby turn up. A biography of Bernard Herrmann tells the history of the use of music in radio, television, and film. It also tells the story of a brilliant, infuriating, and ultimately tragic figure. If you have an interest in film composing - real composing, not gathering 10 pop songs on a CD and calling it a soundtrack - you owe it to yourself to read this biography. And better yet would be to listen to some of his music while reading - the book vividly describes the music but hearing is believing.

He also wrote some good classical music such as his symphony and some chamber music.

l091476gyp6.jpg

On another note, I just got a copy of David Shire's soundtrack to Taking Pelham One Two Three which is an unholy mixture of Shaft and Schoenberg. Really. Big band horns playing 12-tone charts over a funk rhythm section. Far out stuff.

d25902pjquy.jpg

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bernard herrmann - one of my two favourites (the other one is charles koechlin)!

love his "vertigo". and everytime i hear his work "for the fallen", i can´t hold my tears. it´s absolutly deep emotional music for me that touched my mind!!

"beneath the 12-mile reef" is also very moving! you can feel the up and down of the sea!!

amazing is the "snow ride" of "the magnificent ambersons": the unheard combination of nine (!) celestas!!!

have a lot of the "varese sarabande" cd´s with joel mcneely and the seattle symphony orchestra or the royal scotish orch.

but i prefer the original recordings with herrmann himself as conductor also on various labels as "varese sarabande", "film score monthly", "tcm", "cloud nine records", "tsunami" and "sound factory". the last two are kind of bootlegs (?).

and think of all the music in hitchcock´s films. (including the sound effects in "the birds")!

a great, great composter!!

keep boppin´

marcel

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ups! i mean composer! -sorry, folks!

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I have a earlier version of this:

sp_tor2.gif

Strange, brooding music.

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If you enjoy Herrmann's music you should read his biography "A Heart at Fire's Center" found here. It really is a history of film music and is a fascinating read.

Here's a review I did of it on Amazon.com:

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful:

A very detailed look at an infuriating composer., March 24, 2000

By Douglas T Martin (Alpharetta, GA USA) - See all my reviews

This review is from: A Heart at Fire's Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann (Hardcover)

The story of Bernard Herrmann does not begin and end with Hitchcock. It actually begins with Charles Ives and ends with Martin Scorcese. Along the way Orson Welles, Francios Trouffet, Brian DePalma, Sinbad, Gulliver, Rod Serling, and the "It's Alive" baby turn up. A biography of Bernard Herrmann tells the history of the use of music in radio, television, and film. It also tells the story of a brilliant, infuriating, and ultimately tragic figure. If you have an interest in film composing - real composing, not gathering 10 pop songs on a CD and calling it a soundtrack - you owe it to yourself to read this biography. And better yet would be to listen to some of his music while reading - the book vividly describes the music but hearing is believing.

That book is a very good and engaging biography. I read it on the recommendation of a board-member, in fact (Kalo), about a year ago. A must for any and all Herrmann fans.

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On another note, I just got a copy of David Shire's soundtrack to Taking Pelham One Two Three which is an unholy mixture of Shaft and Schoenberg. Really. Big band horns playing 12-tone charts over a funk rhythm section. Far out stuff.

d25902pjquy.jpg

"Bump bump BUMP...

Ba dump bump BUMP--" :)

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d25902pjquy.jpg

"Bump bump BUMP...

Ba dump bump BUMP--" :)

You said it. I finally got to listen to the whole soundtrack. If I didn't already know that the movie was about a train, I'd have guessed it from the music. Now I gotta rent the movie...

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years ago when I was doing a lot of transfer work someone sent me cassettes that clearly contained reels of out-takes from Herrmann movie music - orchestral works, fascinating bits and pieces, probably bootlegged from some movie studio - stupidly I did NOT make copies for myself - does anybody have any idea if this stuff has ever come out elsewhere?

by the way, Taking ot eh Pelham...is a terrific movie. Robert Shaw was one of my favorite actors.

Edited by AllenLowe

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years ago when I was doing a lot of transfer work someone sent me cassettes that clearly contained reels of out-takes from Herrmann movie music - orchestral works, fascinating bits and pieces, probably bootlegged from some movie studio - stupidly I did NOT make copies for myself - does anybody have any idea if this stuff has ever come out elsewhere?

by the way, Taking ot eh Pelham...is a terrific movie. Robert Shaw was one of my favorite actors.

Hard to say without knowing more details. Sometimes contractual isses or the condition of tapes prevent an offical LP/CD releases of film scoring sessions.

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years ago when I was doing a lot of transfer work someone sent me cassettes that clearly contained reels of out-takes from Herrmann movie music - orchestral works, fascinating bits and pieces, probably bootlegged from some movie studio - stupidly I did NOT make copies for myself - does anybody have any idea if this stuff has ever come out elsewhere?

by the way, Taking ot eh Pelham...is a terrific movie. Robert Shaw was one of my favorite actors.

Both Shaw and Matthau are wonderful in Pellham. And one of the great things about that movie is how it's almost a time capsule of mid-70's New York.

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yes, terrific film, very good Martin Balsam as well; also, Jerry Stiller as a transit cop (Stiller, by the way, is a big jazz fan; when I lived in NYC I saw him more than once at various clubs; twice I saw him in the audience to hear Barry Harris) -

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It's also kind of funny how much the younger Jerry Stiller resembles the present-day Ben Stiller.

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