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Hermann: The Devil and Daniel Webster

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 22, 1994
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: James Sedares
  • Composer: Bernard Herrmann
  • Audio CD (March 22, 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Koch Int'l Classics
  • ASIN: B000001SGX
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #265,034 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Milan Records presents Elmer Bernstein conducting The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with this digitally remastered "Bernard Herrmann Film Scores ", from "CITIZEN KANE" [1942], "THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER" [1942], "THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH" [1956], "PSYCHO" [1959], "THE WRONG MAN" [1957], "VERTIGO" [1958], "NORTH BY NORTHWEST" [1959], "THE BRIDE WORE BLACK" [1967], "FAHRENHEIT 451" [1966], "TAXI DRIVER" [1973]...and the final track is "BERNARD HERRMANN ON FILM MUSIC" [recorded early 1970s]...which clearly states why music is an additional character to any film, without it the film would be incomplete...during the silent film era, the piano player kept the audience tuned into what was happening, whether it was a love scene or danger lurking around every corner.

Herrmann completely mesmerizes us with his themes, blending variations with eloquent and subtle cues...depicting each character in the film, and fine tuned to the story-line ~ he was a genius and knew his craft well...relies heavily on strings, usually with lyrical solos for the winds...absolute in capturing the essence of each scene, musically letting the audience in through his score ~ the result is colors come shining through with wonderful arrangements...many of the classic film scores have become cult favorites among "film-score-buffs" like me and collectors alike.

Each film score is superb and very strong...the balance of the instruments and experimental touches of Bernard Herrmann are all just brilliant ~ working with directors like Welles, Dieterle, Hitchcock, Truffaut and Scorsese all were very conscious of classic film music and and Herrmann's cues really came through...each outing was nothing less than a bravo performance...those who ignored Herrmann during his career, really missed out...cause all the diehard collectors of film music knew he was a WINNER! ~ Bernard Herrmann [1911-1975].

Total Time: 69:35 on 11 Tracks ~ Milan Records 36095 ~ (10/26/2004)
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This is an outstanding release, dating from 1992 (recall that Elmer Bernstein recorded Herrmann's rejected score for TORN CURTAIN for Warners as early as 1977, also with the RPO). This release predates Esa-Pekka Salonen's excellent HERRMANN--THE FILM SCORES (Sony) by four years, and both can be highly recommended, for the overlap is not consequential and each recording has considerable virtues which I'll attempt to summarize:

Salonen includes (theme only) MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, rather more of PSYCHO than we really need, a good chunk from MARNIE, the NORTH BY NORTHWEST fandango, a representative bleeding chunk from VERTIGO, cool excerpts from the scrapped TORN CURTAIN score, wonderful snippets from FAHRENHEIT 451 and finally a totally idiomatic mean-streets potpourri (including "Bloodbath") from TAXI DRIVER. His release is unabashedly commercial, designed to appeal to the widest possible audience and a perfect introduction to Herrmann. It is very beautifully played by the LAPO, and quite spectacularly recorded.

Bernstein's very comprehensive survey is more scholarly, more clearly the result of serious thinking by Bernstein and album deviser Christopher Palmer. KANE and DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER (a fascinating score for a very fey film) are given brief due, then we move directly into a complete 12-minute performance of Arthur Benjamin's gloriously kitschy (Elgarian pipe organ and unhesitant cymbalist included) "Storm Clouds Cantata" from MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, set to a text by D.B. Wyndham Lewis and supplied in the booklet. This is a recording premiere (there's a 2012 followup version conducted by Rumon Gamba on Chandos) and reason enough for owning this disc.
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Love these tunes. They bring back great memories
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