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Citizen Kane: The Classic Film Scores of Bernard Herrmann

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 8, 1991
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. On Dangerous Ground:The Death Hunt Bernard Herrmann
  2. Citizen Kane:Prelude/Xanadu/Snow Picture - Bernard Herrmann
  3. Citizen Kane:Theme&Variations (Breakfast Montage) - Bernard Herrmann
  4. Citizen Kane: Aria From Salammbo Bernard Herrmann/Kiri Te Kanawa
  5. Citizen Kane: Rosebud And Finale - Bernard Hermann
  6. Beneath The 12-Mile Reef: The Sea/The Lagoon
  7. Beneath The 12-Mile Reef: Descending
  8. Beneath The 12-Mile Reef: The Octopus/Homecoming
  9. Hangover Square: Concerto Macabre For Pno And Orch
  10. White Witch Doctor: Talking Drums/Prelude/The Riverboad/Petticoat Dance/The Safari
  11. White Witch Doctor: Tarantula/The Lion
  12. White Witch Doctor: Nocturne
  13. White Witch Docotor: Abduction Of The Bakuba Boy/The Skulls
  14. White Witch Doctor: Lonni Bound By Ropes/Departure


Product Details

  • Conductor: Charles Gerhardt
  • Audio CD (March 8, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RCA Legacy
  • ASIN: B000003EM9
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,753 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I treasured several of these Gerhardt/NPO film score releases on cassette as a film-fan teen, and this CD is no different. Gerhardt's interpretations of these selections (with Herrmann present at the sessions) are stunning, true to the original compositions, with all the passion and grandeur that they deserve without having to conform to a) screen timing, and b) the limitations of monaural optical film soundtrack methods of the time. As another reviewer pointed out, Herrmann is known for his great Hitchcock film scores, but his other work was no less marvelous. (Typical example, his score for THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, making exceptional use of piano, deep bass brass and the unusual but appropriate Theremin.)

An intriguing footnote.... For CITIZEN KANE's portrayal of Susan Alexander's disastrous opera debut, Herrmann needed a grand opera excerpt that could convey the pandemonium, confusion, and Wagnerian excess of an opera, and showcase the soprano as having a legitimate voice, but one incapable of matching a smothering orchestra arrangement. No such selection from grand opera sufficed, so Herrmann composed his own. His fictitious SALAMMBO recitative and aria astutely illustrate in abstract, subtextual musical syntax the anguish that Alexander felt participating in Kane's delusion that she would be a great opera star. In fact, the libretto is derived from Racine's "Phedre," in which the heroine begs her lover to kill her and release her from shame. For the film, the light lyric soprano Herrmann used was appropriately overwhelmed by the thunderous arrangement. For this June, 1974, recording, a truly capable, genuine opera star (a then up-and-coming pro named Kiri Te Kanawa ... yes you read that correctly, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa) was recruited.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a vital, and very spectacular, entry in Gerhardt's pioneering Classic Film Scores series, dating from 1974 although it still sounds as if recorded yesterday; this is state-of-the-art recordmaking that directly recalls RCA's glory years of Living Stereo and stupendous feats of analog engineering. Gerhardt's recording cannily avoids the essential Hitchcock scores entirely (for these, check out Elmer Bernstein on Milan and Salonen on Sony) and the scifi/fantasy scores (where Herrmann's own Decca recordings remain authoritative and abidingly weighty and sonically thrilling). And there are several complete recordings of Herrmann's personal favorite, the hyperromantic maritime fantasy GHOST AND MRS. MUIR.

Gerhardt's programme rousingly commences with the Death Hunt from Nick Ray's ambiguous noir ON DANGEROUS GROUND, and this progressive concerto for whooping brass will convince skeptics that Herrmann was a master orchestrator and unafraid of quirky time signatures and rhythms. The CITIZEN KANE score has never sounded so ambitious, and Kiri Te Kanawa, then barely 30 and in brave fresh voice, tackles poor Susan's "impossible" SALAMMBO aria, a masterpiece of pure kitsch Herrmann surely cackled sardonically over devising. The effect, with the cruelly exposed high notes squarely hit and on pitch, is excruciating and quite electrifying, just like a "real" opera. (Whether the Kiwi diva actually hit and then sustained those stratospheric highs for a nanoquaver is a moot point for Anzac opera mavens. Suffice it to say that this entire series was engineered by the legendary ex-Decca Kenneth Wilkinson, whose particular soundboard magic convinced us that Maestro Gerhardt was a great conductor and Dame Kiri a great singer.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What can I say, this was a great recording in the 70's and equally great into the present. I believe a dozen in the series and all equally as good. If ever my house catches fire I would rescue these discs before my wife!
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Folks seem really slow in figuring out this is in SURROUND and sounds great. The new versions of this series or not. What fools these mortals be....
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