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Cinema Spectacular / Bernard Herrmann

Hermann / London Phil Orch
Release Date: 11/19/2010 
Label:  Eloquence   Catalog #: 4803787   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Constant LambertArnold BaxArthur BenjaminRalph Vaughan Williams,   ... 
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic OrchestraLondon Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is one of three Eloquence Herrmann/Rozsa film music discs issued last November 2010. It’s soon to be joined by a revival of Herrmann’s sole commercial recording of Holst’s The Planets.

The first disc launches with a marginally too expansive Walton Richard III Prelude where Herrmann italicises every grunt and angle. It’s total immersion in the regal and the tragic. On occasions it’s more of a march than a Prelude even if it is a slow cortege. Even then it has a romantic trio. Towards the end at 6:40 the measured gait pays generous dividends in lyrical release. Four pieces from Lambert’s Anna Karenina are rife with Lambert hallmarks among the tumult of Odeon hyper-romance, Russian romance and
Read more sinister tragedy. Rather like his Coronation March (1953) the two pieces from Bax’s music for the David Lean film give us Bax’s heartsick public face – his heart was not in it but it does the commissioned job. Arthur Benjamin plays the Ravel-Strauss card with the Waltz and Galop from An Ideal Husband. It parallels Herrmann’s music for The Magnificent Ambersons and the more exuberant parts of Citizen Kane. The Walton music for Escape Me Never is strangely unWaltonian – more like Benjamin. The RVW music for the prelude to The 49 th Parallel is wonderfully strung out and protracted. That treasure of a broad theme – taken very broadly indeed - yearns mightily at this glacially affecting pace. I am very happy to hear it at this tempo – it can take it. In fact the music laps it up. The fifteen minute and five movement suite from Bliss’s Things to Come is lavishly done with care for each intricate detail of the scoring as well as for the grand sweep. The grittily merciless and iron-shod March is taken broadly which is good for its nobilmente but a bit disorientating if you are used to swifter approaches (Bliss, Groves, Hickox). I think this must be the most extended version in the catalogue. Attack on the Moon Gun seems to have been written after hearing Beethoven’s Fifth. The epilogue is staid, its emotions stream by at an andante and its tread is grave, wondering, thoughtful and awed.

The second disc takes us first to Herrmann conducting Herrmann. There’s his most famous score – for Psycho. The strings have something of a manic glare – well suited to the mise-en-scène - but they still reap rewards. The Narrative is a nice compression of the plot. The Marnie music is amongst my favourites – with its uber-romance setting pushed to the extremes of despair and desire laced with mayhem. The North by Northwest piece has plenty of desperately dynamic movement across the stereo stage. Unicorn (KP9000) was soon to overtake that part of the original PFS LP with Laurie Johnson’s 40 minute recording with the London Studio Orchestra. You can now experience the sound of the original 1958 musical soundtrack in full – all 64:49 - on Sony 88697638422. In the tripartite Vertigo sequence the vortex of panic finally slackens its grip for another of those melancholy and hope-filled Scènes d’Amours. A Portrait of Hitch is touching and witty using music from the film The Trouble With Harry. After this comes six movements from Shostakovich’s music from the Soviet film of Hamlet. It is, aptly enough, laced with bleakness and doom, desperate playfulness somewhat in the manner of Prokofiev ( Ball), raging brass-roared horror (The Ghost) and stridently portentous fanfares ( Arrival of the players). The blistering cue for the Duel and death of Hamlet ends the suite and the disc.

The useful note is by Kenneth Chalmers.

An essential complement to the Herrmann Film Classics CD on Eloquence.


-- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. Anna Karenina: Suite by Constant Lambert
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948; England 
2. Oliver Twist: Fagin's Romp by Arnold Bax
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948; England 
3. Oliver Twist: Finale by Arnold Bax
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948; England 
4. An Ideal Husband: Galop by Arthur Benjamin
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; England 
5. An Ideal Husband: Galop by Arthur Benjamin
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; England 
6. Forty-Ninth Parallel: Prelude by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
7. Escape Me Never: Suite by Sir William Walton
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; England 
8. Richard III: Prelude by Sir William Walton
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955; England 
9. Things to Come, F 131: Suite by Sir Arthur Bliss
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934-1935; England 
10. Psycho: A Narrative for Orchestra by Bernard Herrmann
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1960; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1968 
Venue:  Decca Studio no 3, W Hampstead, London 
Length: 14 Minutes 31 Secs. 
11. Marnie by Bernard Herrmann
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1964; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1968 
Venue:  Decca Studio no 3, W Hampstead, London 
Length: 10 Minutes 8 Secs. 
12. North by Northwest: Main title by Bernard Herrmann
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1959; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1968 
Venue:  Decca Studio no 3, W Hampstead, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 6 Secs. 
13. Vertigo: Prelude by Bernard Herrmann
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1958; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1968 
Venue:  Decca Studio no 3, W Hampstead, London 
Length: 10 Minutes 35 Secs. 
14. Vertigo: The nightmare by Bernard Herrmann
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1958; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1968 
Venue:  Decca Studio no 3, W Hampstead, London 
15. Vertigo: Scene d'Amour by Bernard Herrmann
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1958; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1968 
Venue:  Decca Studio no 3, W Hampstead, London 
16. A Portrait of 'Hitch' by Bernard Herrmann
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1968 
Venue:  Decca Studio no 3, W Hampstead, London 
Length: 8 Minutes 19 Secs. 
17. Hamlet: Suite, Op. 116a - no 1, Introduction by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Date of Recording: 03/1974 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 28 Secs. 
18. Hamlet: Suite, Op. 116a - no 2, Ball at the palace by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Date of Recording: 03/1974 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 3 Secs. 
19. Hamlet: Suite, Op. 116a - no 3, The ghost by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Date of Recording: 03/1974 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 16 Secs. 
20. Hamlet: Suite, Op. 116a - no 5, Scene of the poisoning by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Date of Recording: 03/1974 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 17 Secs. 
21. Hamlet: Suite, Op. 116a - no 8, The duel and death of Hamlet by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Date of Recording: 03/1974 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 35 Secs. 
22. Hamlet: Suite, Op. 116a - no 6, Arrival & scene of the players by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1964; USSR 
Date of Recording: 03/1974 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 52 Secs. 

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