Dark, lush, often more thrilling and scary than the movies they are written for, Pino Donaggio's motion picture underscores have propelled many a gory tale. For Brian De Palma, Donaggio was very much the perfect replacement for the late Bernard Herrmann, helping De Palma to continue his Hitchcockian obsessions (and sometimes helping with his ventures outside of that box, such as the peculiar Home Movies.) The elements that drew De Palma to Donaggio are plainly obvious, with Donaggio writing the kinds of cues that Herrmann excelled at for Hitchcock: great muscular fanfares trimmed around with counterpoint, variations, and endless kinds of frills. Despite this, Donaggio's music tends to be very distinct from Herrmann's; where Herrmann leaned towards a mathematical precision that bordered on the icy, Donaggio tends to move towards a more romantic, warmer structure. Overall, this collection of excerpts from Carrie, Home Movies, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Body Double, and Raising Cain is a solid and engaging introduction.
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AllMusic Review by Steven McDonald