Amazon.com essential recording
Over the years, and thanks to the CD revolution, film music has come into its own. Bernard Herrmann (1911-1975) has given us some of the most distinct film scores of any composer. As the lists of titles show, Herrmann did a number of Alfred Hitchcock movies–Psycho, Marnie, North by Northwest, Vertigo, and Torn Curtain. What is remarkable is how these works cohere as atmospheric tone poems. Fahrenheit 451: Suite for Strings, Harps, and Percussion has the same kind of atmospherics as some of Arnold Bax's tone poems of the 1930s. This music does not need a visual medium. It's that good. –Paul Cook
Hermann was one of the great film music composers of all time, and his scores fit naturally into a great and illustrious tradition, nowhere more so than in this award-winning recording. –David Hurwitz
Citizen Kane: The Classic Film Scores of Bernard Herrmann is probably the best of the entire series by conductor Charles Gerhardt and the National Philharmonic Orchestra. Every track is worthwhile and memorably played, especially Beneath the 12-Mile Reef and the suite from Citizen Kane, the latter highlighted by Kiri Te Kanawa's performance of the Strauss-like aria from Salammbo.
… If you are sold on the SACD format and own a high end system, then by all means grab this disc in its latest incarnation. If you already own it and enjoy it in normal stereo, there's no need to rush out and replace it. But either way, you should own it: you'll find the best available recordings of the music from Psycho, Torn Curtain, and above all, a truly shimmering and mesmerizing account of the suite from Farhenheit 451. I guess the lesson here is simple: great performances and great sound manifest themselves in any format. Period.
This is the movie that gave us the phrase "Klaatu barada nikto!" As befits the film that kicked off the Atomic Age's obsession with flying saucers and giant robots, Bernard Herrmann's score is the last word in 1950s sci-fi. Although many of its elements have become cliches over the years, the original has lost none of its power. Thanks to the many eerie, theremin-drenched passages, it's almost impossible to hear that instrument without thinking about guys in space suits. Other great moments: tinkling space pianos, ominous robot monster chords, and weird, plangent orchestrations. One of Herrmann's most visionary and influential scores.
Varese's original soundtrack to Psycho finds Joel McNeely conducting the Royal Scottish National Orchestra through Bernard Herrmann's classic original score. This album is the first time the entire score has been recorded for an album and its remarkable how eerie and evocative the music is, even when its separated from the film. Psycho stands as one of Herrmann's finest moments, and even if many collectors and film buffs would prefer the original soundtrack recording, this version is essential for fans of the composer, since it is the clearest, cleanest edition of score yet produced.
The least popular of Alfred Hitchcock's late-'50s thrillers – perhaps because it is really a comedy – The Trouble with Harry also has the least well-known of the scores that Bernard Herrmann wrote for Hitchcock's movies. All of that is a shame, because – in keeping with the comedic nature of the movie – Herrmann assumed a lighthearted and upbeat, ironic mask that led to some of the most gorgeous and hauntingly beautiful music of his career; the composer himself clearly felt a fondness for it, as he revived it in 1968 as the basis for his "A Portrait of Hitch." The reed and horn passages are playful and ironic, and the signature string part, bridging the small-town innocence of the movie's setting, is one of the finest things that Herrmann conceived. It all makes for delightful listening, and is some of the best programmatic music to come out of Hollywood in the 1950s. The performance by Joel McNeely and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra is of excellent quality, capturing the finest nuances of the score, and the recording does it full justice.