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 Posted:   Aug 14, 2014 - 2:16 AM   
 By:   Steve Vertlieb   (Member)

Commemorating Sir Alfred Hitchcock's one hundred fifteenth birthday (August 13th, 1899)...A look at a legendary collaboration.


http://www.bernardherrmann.org/articles/misc-torncurtain/



Steve

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 14, 2014 - 3:27 AM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Steve, this is absolutely excellent. Thank you. I sure could have used some of this earlier this year when I ran a 2 hour lecture for Music Appreciation which I called "A Terrifying Partnership: the Collaboration between Alfred Hitchcock and Bernard Herrmann".

You know, I couldn't find a CD of "The Trouble With Harry" anywhere - only the film on DVD and it didn't work when I cued it to play the opening title music. I also couldn't find any original Herrmann for "The Man Who Knew Too Much", only his 'arrangement' of the choral work in the Albert Hall, so I avoided discussing that film altogether.

Actually, "Torn Curtain" represented the end of their partnership because Hitch thought Benny was 're-cycling' his own work. Herrmann was a terribly interesting man - he alienated many people, but he had an extraordinary love for and knowledge of contemporary American art music. And he knew EVERYBODY who mattered, cultivating them because he understood their significance.

I know I would have liked him!!

 
 Posted:   Aug 14, 2014 - 4:03 AM   
 By:   spielboy   (Member)

You know, I couldn't find a CD of "The Trouble With Harry" anywhere - only the film on DVD and it didn't work when I cued it to play the opening title music. I also couldn't find any original Herrmann for "The Man Who Knew Too Much", only his 'arrangement' of the choral work in the Albert Hall, so I avoided discussing that film altogether.


Spotify

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 14, 2014 - 6:07 AM   
 By:   TerraEpon   (Member)


You know, I couldn't find a CD of "The Trouble With Harry" anywhere -


http://www.amazon.com/Trouble-With-Harry-1998-Re-recording/dp/B00000DCZO/

Didn't realize it was so expensive, I got it for under $20 a couple years ago...

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 15, 2014 - 2:33 AM   
 By:   Steve Vertlieb   (Member)

Thank you, Regie. I'm delighted that you found some value in my work, even though it was written way back in 2000. Thought you'd like to know that, while I never had an opportunity to actually meet Bernard Herrmann, I did present his daughter (Dorothy Herrmann) with a posthumous life achievement award (an "Obie") on stage at a film conference in Crystal City, Virginia in 2000. Pat Hitchcock and Janet Leigh were there, as well. I sat next to Pat Hitchcock on a panel discussion of her father's work. I had invited Dorothy to attend and share the stage with me, and she arrived with her nephews who helped her accept the trophy and speak on her father's behalf. Dorothy approached me at the end of the Hitchcock panel discussion and introduced herself. I nearly ducked when she approached Pat Hitchcock and I, fearing that some of their fathers' legendary volatility might spill over onto their daughters. Happily, however, both Pat and Dorothy got along famously, and joked about their parents' parting feud. Later that evening, I presented the award to Dorothy before a packed auditorium, as a film clip of Benny conducting the orchestra at Royal Albert Hall (from "The Man Who Knew Too Much") played out on a giant screen behind me.

Steve

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 15, 2014 - 2:39 AM   
 By:   Steve Vertlieb   (Member)

Incidentally, I will be spending two weeks in Los Angeles beginning Thursday, August 21st, and shall be attending the "Fans Of Film Music" event on Saturday, August 30th, as well as both the John Williams and David Newman concerts at The Hollywood Bowl August 30th and 31st. If you're in town, as well, it would be lovely to meet you and say hello.

Steve

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 15, 2014 - 3:27 AM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Steve, absolutely loved the anecdotes about Pat Hitchcock and Dorothy Herrmann. Both most be getting along in years now.

I'd absolutely love to attend those events in LA but unfortunately I live in Sydney, Australia. I say "unfortunately" because, well, it IS unfortunate!! So far from the action!! I'm redressing that later this year with a year-long return to live in Vienna (to again enjoy the VPO, Wiener Staatsoper et al).

What I'd love to hear is some of Benny's 'suites' from "Taxi Driver" and "Fahrenheit 451" (that latter I just adore). Seriously, I haven't ever heard any of these in Europe though I understand they do appear rather sporadically in concerts in your country. Audiences can become rather sniffy about film music, as we know, and yet it is based on the most rigorous harmonic principals and compositional practices used in western art music.

My audience at Music Appreciation loved the Hitchcock/Herrmann lecture and only two weeks ago a friend said, "I watched 'North by Northwest' recently, remembering what you'd said, and it all made sense to me". Yes, that was a buzz.

The material for the "Vertigo" lecture was rather more academic than the rest of the films under discussion. Talking about cues in the film and the subliminal 'information' being given to audiences about what those cues might mean or foretell was actually as interesting to research as to present.

I love it all! Thanks Steve.

 
 Posted:   Aug 15, 2014 - 3:29 AM   
 By:   orbital   (Member)

Very interesting read. Thanks for sharing, Steve!

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 15, 2014 - 11:30 AM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

REGIE,

For future reference, the Main Title from THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH is available on at least two CD's, including:

http://www.amazon.com/Herrmann-Bernard-Essential-Film-Music/dp/B000F9038K

 
 Posted:   Aug 15, 2014 - 11:51 AM   
 By:   Advise & Consent   (Member)

REGIE,

For future reference, the Main Title from THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH is available on at least two CD's, including:

http://www.amazon.com/Herrmann-Bernard-Essential-Film-Music/dp/B000F9038K


Make that three.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 15, 2014 - 12:05 PM   
 By:   ChristianK├╝hn   (Member)

Lovely article, Steve, thanks a lot.

Just a quick query, however: "So the story goes that his associates, as a prank, took the morning scoring sessions on one particular film, and replayed the tape of his newest composition through the radio in his studio bungalow that evening. Steiner nearly threw away the theme, thinking that he had inadvertently copied the work of another composer. "

Wasn't it Victor Young who played this trick on Steiner by listening to Steiner recording a score for a new film, then making an arrangement of that new score, recording it the same day with his (Young's) orchestra and playing it back that evening when Steiner and other acquiantances met at Young's place for poker? (Something along those lines...I think Tony Thomas recounts this story in his book.)

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 15, 2014 - 12:12 PM   
 By:   Steve Vertlieb   (Member)

You're probably correct about that. I've heard a number of variations over the years regarding dear Max. It's likely a true story, no matter who pulled the prank. After composing some three hundred fifty film scores in one's remarkably prolific career, who keeps track? He must have had thousands of melodies circling round in his ever agile musical mind. God rest his wonderful soul.

 
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