Davis, de Havilland, Flynn, Cagney, Bogart ...

Davis, de Havilland, Flynn, Cagney, Bogart ...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hitchcock and Herrmann--Alliance of Giants

Nothing lasts forever, but their genius will live on in our dreams.

Today, on Alfred Hitchcock's birthday, I cannot help but think of Bernard Herrmann.  Hitchcock and Herrmann were established professionals when they began to work together ... Hitchcock a great director, and Herrmann a great composer.  They did not need each other to be remembered for their work, but together they created a unique partnership in movie history.  Both were strong-willed men, both clung to their own ideas, and their relationship was stormy.  But what matter to us?  Their film alliance produced some of the best movies ever made, because of Hitchcock's incredible film visions and Herrmann's musical genius.

I have always considered Vertigo to be Hitchcock's masterpiece, and believe it was so in large part because of the perfection of Herrmann's musical score.  To celebrate both, I decided to listen to the Main Theme from Vertigo as interpreted by the fabulous Los Angeles Philharmonic and conductor Esa-Pekka-Salonen.  To those who have seen Vertigo, no more needs to be said.  For those who have not, no more needs to be explained as the strongest recommendation to do so.




Alfred Hitchcock (8/13/99 - 4/29/80. 
Bernard Herrmann (6/29/11 - 12/24/75). 
Equals in greatness.

15 comments:

  1. As you know, not my favorite Hitchcock film. (There's no accounting for me, I know. Ha!) But I do love the music by Herrmann. Wonderful post.

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  2. Vertigo is a strange film, Yvette. It seems to be one of those that people either REALLY LOVE or REALLY DISLIKE! The music is marvelous, though. Thanks so much for your your kind words, and thanks for the idea to give Hitchcock a happy birthday...

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  3. I'm going to come back later and listen to the music a bit more loudly to appreciate it even more. :)

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  4. TRES BIEN!!
    HITCHCOCK helped to make HERMANN and vice versa!!
    the LA PHIL with our little FINNISH conductor is great!! now we have a VENEZUELAN genius...GUSTAVO DUDAMEL!!

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  5. Thank you, Doc! Wasn't that a fabulous performance. I love Salonen's style. I'll have to see if I can find something that shows Dudamel conducting -- if you do before I do, let me know!

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  6. I'm not terribly fond of the movie myself--I think Hitchcock's strongest work is found in Rear Window and Shadow of a Doubt--but I agree that the score to Vertigo is an essential element to the movie.

    I am ashamed to admit (big Hitch fan that I am) that I completely blanked out on today being his birthday. I should be attacked by birds for that transgression! ;)

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  7. Becky, what a lovely post about Bernard Herrmann (go, Bernie!), and what a beautiful piece of music from VERTIGO. Yes, most people either love or hate the movie VERTIGO; it's a strongly emotional film, and it was clearly very personal to Alfred Hitchcock. Personally, I just view it as if Hitchcock viewed it as a fever dream himself. If you've read my tongue-in-cheek blog post about VERTIGO, you'll see what I mean! :-)

    http://doriantb.blogspot.com/2010/08/if-i-let-you-change-me-will-that-do-it.html

    For the record, my favorite Alfred Hitchcock film of all time is NORTH BY NORTHWEST, with REAR WINDOW running a close second. My favorite Hitchcock composers are Bernard Herrmann and Miklos Rosza. Thanks again for a great post, Becky!

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  8. Brandie, you don't deserve being attacked by birds! I didnt' know it his birthday either until Yvette mentioned she was going to do a post about it! You know, I personally love Vertigo, but I consider Shadow of a Doubt to be No. 2! Wonderfully subtle in its horrifying story, even though we know from the beginning what Uncle Charlie is! Great performances, beautifully filmed.

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  9. Becky, Vertigo is my favorite Hitchcock film, although it drives me nuts sometimes. But, it casts a spell over me that is too strong to resist. I'm obsessed (with a film about obsession)! Truly, the beautiful, haunting score add so much to the atmosphere & story. You really FEEL Scotty's longing for Madeleine through the music. And, I'm with you about Shadow of a Doubt! I think we are on the same wave length this week!

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  10. Obsessed with obsession - a good description of this story! I agre, it mesmerizes me too. I can feel the music up my spine and in my stomach. BTW, I think we are usually one the same wavelength! (With some tiny exceptions - LOL!)

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  12. I enjoyed listening to the LA orchestra playing the theme to Vertigo. Now I want to watch it.

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  13. Patrick, Me too! Come on over and watch it with me sometime -- LOL! Don't you love the conductor, his sytle and facial expressions? And what a wonderful orchestra!

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  14. Oddly enough, my favorite Bernard Herrmann score isn't for Hitchcock. For me it's his exotic score for Jason and the Argonauts. I'm also partial to the music on Citizen Kane. My fave of Herrmann's Hitchcock scores is probably Psycho, based on how much the character of that movie is dependent on it, but I have the soundtrack to Vertigo in my iTunes, which says something about me, I guess.

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  15. Hi Vulnavia! (I love saying that name, always got a kick out of it!) That is so intereting that you mention Jason and the Argonauts -- my favorite of Ray Harryhausen's work, and also a BIG favorite of Herrmann's scores. I knew from the first 2-3 notes that it was his music! Psycho was indeed brilliant -- Vertigo is, to me, his best Hitchcock romance score, but Psycho is without doubt of the same quality in the opposite direction! That's just talking about the Hitchcock movies -- citizen Kane, Jane Eyre and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir were all pure genius. Evocative of the stories and characters, original -- just tremendous. And I know exactly what it says about you that you have Vertigo in your ITunes -- you too are a romantic at heart!

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