Original Score

Trouble with Harry

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The least popular of Alfred Hitchcock's late-'50s thrillers -- perhaps because it is really a comedy -- The Trouble with Harry also has the least well-known of the scores that Bernard Herrmann wrote for Hitchcock's movies. All of that is a shame, because -- in keeping with the comedic nature of the movie -- Herrmann assumed a lighthearted and upbeat, ironic mask that led to some of the most gorgeous and hauntingly beautiful music of his career; the composer himself clearly felt a fondness for it, as he revived it in 1968 as the basis for his "A Portrait of Hitch." The reed and horn passages are playful and ironic, and the signature string part, bridging the small-town innocence of the movie's setting, is one of the finest things that Herrmann conceived. It all makes for delightful listening, and is some of the best programmatic music to come out of Hollywood in the 1950s. The performance by Joel McNeely and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra is of excellent quality, capturing the finest nuances of the score, and the recording does it full justice.

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