Friday, 17 February 2006

Nightmare Romance

Remember the murder in the shower, the knife, the remorseless stabbing, the writhing victim (Janet Leigh), the shrieking violins? Two masters at the height of their powers: Alfred Hitchcock and Bernard Herrmann. Listen again to Herrmann's brilliant scores for Hitchcock classics: Psycho, Vertigo and North by North West, played by the BBC Concert Orchestra at Barbican Hall, London, on 17 March 2006, tickets from £15 to £30. Ouch!
Herrmann used strings alone for his Psycho score to create what he called a "black-and-white sound" for a black-and-white movie. His name also appears in the credits for Hitchcock's misunderstood masterpiece "The Birds" as Sound Consultant, if I remember correctly. He declined to add music to the soundtrack, advising Hitch that the sound of the birds was enough. Brave decision, and it worked! The silences before the birds attack are eerie and threatening.


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