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Bernard Herrmann


“[Good film music] ...can invest a scene with terror, grandeur, gaiety or misery ... propel narrative swiftly forward, or slow it down.”



A composition prize winner at age 13, Manhattan-born composer Bernard Herrmann studied at New York University and Julliard before accepting his first conductor’s post at age 20. While he wrote for virtually every branch of the musical theater — ballet, concert hall, opera — Herrmann’s latter-day fame rests squarely on his prolific film work. As one of several composer/conductors retained by the CBS radio network in the mid-1930s (he was briefly married to radio writer Lucille Fletcher, of Sorry Wrong Number fame), Herrmann worked on Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre of the Air. When Welles headed to Hollywood to direct Citizen Kane (1941), he invited Herrmann to write the film’s score, promising the young composer full artistic freedom. Welles so respected Herrmann’s talent that many scenes in Kane were tailored to fit the music, rather than the other way around. Herrmann capped his first year in Hollywood with an Academy Award — not for Kane, but for another RKO production, All That Money… read more


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Howard Orr


First film: "Citizen Kane". Last film: "Taxi Driver". Just about sums up how the man's quality matched the films he worked on.

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Alex Delarge


Just noticed, no IT'S ALIVE on the list above? Worth watching for the soundtrack alone.

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Alex Delarge


Has he ever scored a bad film? Or is it the power of his compositions that a mediocre film is elevated a notch...or two? DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL my favorite, double theremin way cool.


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Favorite Bernard Herrmann Scores

19 posts by 15 people almost 4 years ago