Bernard Herrmann

Marvellous Film World of Bernard Herrmann

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The German-based Tsunami label has outdone itself here, releasing Bernard Herrmann's unmixed original music tracks (conducted by Herrmann) to Cape Fear, The Garden of Evil, Beneath the Twelve Mile Reef, and King of the Khyber Rifles on this 79-minute CD. Cape Fear makes up most of this CD and is the most valuable piece of music here, as ominous and threatening as anything Herrmann ever wrote for Alfred Hitchcock, and in some respects the opening of the score even recalls his music for Psycho as well as North By Northwest. Beneath the Twelve Mile Reef is one of Herrmann's most impressive scores, a gorgeous Debussy-like tone poem about the sea, which is familiar to people who may scarcely know the drama starring Robert Wagner, Terry Moore, and Gilbert Roland -- the opening track here, "Out to Sea," was used extensively in the early black-and-white episodes of Lost In Space over scenes of Prof. John Robinson's jet-pack flights over the unknown landscape of the planet where his ship crashed. All but that track, among the material here, was re-recorded on the old Charles Gerhardt/Bernard Herrmann film music collection for RCA, but Herrmann was always the best conductor of his own music -- the nuances brought out here are a revelation even to this longtime fan of the original movie. King of the Khyber Rifles is presented here as a symphonic suite, is a pretty flamboyant piece of post-romantic composition, with surprisingly subtle subcontinent exoticism spiced by dramatic timbral effects (especially from the percussion section). The producers felt it necessary to account for deficiencies in the sound on these 40-year-old recordings, but they seem quite clean and sharp.

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