Listening to any of legendary composer Bernard Herrmann's 48 film scores immediately presents the listener with the difficult task of deciphering the era from which it has been extracted. Herrmann managed to completely avoid the trappings of the pop culture compass throughout his four decades in the business, building a library of music that could be applied to films far into the future without the slightest hint of mustiness -- even Citizen Kane, his first foray into the world of film sounds as contemporary as anything by James Horner, Hans Zimmer, or Thomas Newman. Unfortunately, Silva America's two-disc, 28-track Essential Film Music collection, which allows listeners to sample some of the composer's finest work without investing in each and every "complete" score, is performed by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, not taken from the original recordings. There is not a misplaced note anywhere to be found amidst the towering themes to the "Seventh Voyage of Sinbad," "Ghost and Mrs. Muir," "Vertigo," and "Taxi Driver," and not a composer yet busy in the world who has met the challenges that he set, but it sure would be nice to have a collection of this scope that featured Herrmann's original soundtrack versions.
Bernard Herrmann: The Essential Film Music Collection Review
by James Christopher Monger