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Film Soundtracks - Released November 28, 1991 | Arista

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The original 1976 record and initial CD versions contain half a magnificent film score, half jazz-lite cover versions of the same music. Bernard Herrmann's soundtrack, full of dark, brooding brass, menacing percussion and a bittersweet dash of jazz saxophone, greatly enhance this big city tale of obsession, paranoia and violence. Robert DeNiro's chilling narration of "Diary of a Taxi Driver" -- including the famous "You talking to me?" monologue -- served as one of the models for the anger and isolation inherent in much of punk music. For some strange reason, the entire first side of the album is devoted to bland covers of Herrmann's music by arranger Dave Blume. Thankfully, Blume's arrangements are unnoticeable in the film itself, but their inclusion here distracts from a powerful soundtrack. Blume's arrangements are firmly rooted in L.A. mid-'70s fuzak, while Herrmann's score is one for the ages. © Rick Watrous /TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released June 13, 2011 | Trunk Records

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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2007 | Varese Sarabande

This is the second major re-recording of Bernard Herrmann's music from North by Northwest to come from Varese Sarabande in a bit over a quarter of a century. The first, dating from 1980, was groundbreaking in its time as a realization of a major chunk of the Herrmann music in reasonably full-measure by a proper-size orchestra, though it was hardly complete. In the 1990s, Turner Entertainment, which had acquired the MGM library (of which North by Northwest was a part), issued a CD of the original Herrmann score recordings from the film itself, which satisfied much of the need for a fuller account of this distinctive and memorable body of music. But that release suffered from technical flaws, owing to the deterioration of the original source material and the fact that the latter had never been intended to be heard fully exposed and free-standing. And now we have at hand Joel McNeely's 2007 re-recording of the complete music -- not just from the film but for the film -- with the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra, finally providing as full an account of Herrmann's music as written (rather than as edited and utilized in the final cut of the movie). And that music is presented in its optimum form. The recording comes from a full-size concert hall for the maximum breadth and sound panorama, but has been recorded and mastered with a very close and intimate sound, which provides us with the best of both worlds from an aesthetic point of view, successfully mixing and, indeed, straddling the spaciousness of a concert presentation and the intimacy of the film experience. What's more, you can hear this music dozens of times and this recording will still provide listening experiences and revelations in the detail that are new, in terms of some of the material; on the most superficial and obvious level, hearing the music in this setting makes it possible to recognize numerous places where Herrmann "stole" from his contemporary work on such pictures as The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and Journey to the Center of the Earth, successfully utilizing similar (or nearly identical) music cues in completely different contexts; there are also, of course, many spots where his "signature" moments come up, and places that more subtly recall his concert works, such as his Symphony. And there are also two major cues presented in their entirety for the first time. Christopher Husted has done an admirable job of restoring the written score. And the package is topped off with excellent annotation. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released March 1, 2011 | RCA Red Seal

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Soundtracks - Released January 5, 1999 | Intrada

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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 1996 | Varese Sarabande

This album (which re-appeared in the late '70s on the Mercury "Gold" line, and later on CD) was, at one time, the best extant version that one could purchase of one of the finest film scores ever written; but life and decisions have since gotten much richer and more complicated for film music enthusiasts. In the 1990s, the score was first re-recorded in full by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under conductor Joel McNeely, and then, a little after that, the original scoring tracks from the movie itself were retrieved, restored, and released commercially, which reduced the significance of this album, without rendering it quite obsolete. As to the music itself, Vertigo was one of best works by Bernard Herrmann, composer for the 1958 Alfred Hitchcock film, and one of his most beautiful and disturbing film scores. He developed longer melodies than usual but employs many of the same variation and motif-mixing techniques that he had previously used, and the result -- listening to just the music, or taking it in as an element of the movie -- is something midway between a symphony and an opera, in terms of the impact on the listener. The work opens in high-energy drama with a propulsive polytonal arpeggio (E flat minor over D minor) in triplets that is one of the central motifs throughout the score (this also recalls the opening of Herrmann's score for The Day the Earth Stood Still, written at the other end of the decade). As an amusing touch, when the credit "Directed by Alfred Hitchcock" appears on the screen, you hear a low rotund D note on the tuba. From that start, you get the musical depiction of violent physical action, sudden death, and the fear motif associated with James Stewart's character that will be central to rest of the plot and the denouement. Along with a bizarrely scored and orchestrated Spanish-themed section, associated with the supposed psychosis of the woman that Stewart's character has been hired to protect (from herself), you get a love theme that has been compared to Wagner's Liebestod from Tristan und Isold in impact and intensity. The score was too complex and challenging to earn any honors from the Hollywood of the late '50s, but it did earn a commercial soundtrack release, the first music associated with a Hitchcock movie so honored. What makes this very complicated for collectors and fans coming in since the mid-'90s is the plethora of Vertigo soundtracks, and the fact that Herrmann didn't conduct them, for the album or for the film itself. It was intended that, as with his other scores, he would do so, in Los Angeles, but a musicians' strike precluded this. Instead, arrangements were made for the score for the movie to be recorded in London under conductor Muir Mathieson, an old film music hand whose work in the field went back to the 1930s. And this was being done when the British musicians' union decided to support their colleagues across the ocean, and so parts of the score then had to be recorded in Vienna, as well, and the latter were in mono, as opposed to the stereo sound on the London-recorded tracks. Finally, when it came time to prepare a commercial soundtrack release, Mathieson was back in England and cut those tracks, 34 minutes' worth of music, with the Sinfonia of London, comprising this album. Those seeking Herrmann's own conducting on the Vertigo music, incidentally, will have to look to the suite that he prepared and recorded on the 1969 album now known as Music from the Great Hitchcock Movie Thrillers. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 1995 | Varese Sarabande

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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 1999 | Varese Sarabande

Varese's 1999 Citizen Kane presents a re-recording of Bernard Herrman's entire original score for Orson Welles' modernist masterpiece, as performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under the direction of Joel McNeely. This recording does not reinterpret the score, it simply offers an excellent straight-ahead rendition of one of the greatest musical works in film history. It may not be definitive, but it will be close enough for many listeners. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 1998 | Varese Sarabande

Alfred Hitchcock's film Torn Curtain had two scores written, but only one was used. The music heard in the film was written by John Addison, but an alternate score by famed cinematic composer Bernard Herrmann has also been released on CD no less than three times, Alfred Hitchcock's Torn Curtain: The Unused Score. The legend of the scores is that Herrmann refused to craft his composition toward the director's and studio's preferred pop direction. After an amazing nine efforts, Hitchcock and Herrmann parted ways after collaborating on some of the most famous soundtrack music of all time, including that for Psycho, Vertigo, and North by Northwest. The Addison version is about half as long, probably due to resultant time constraints. "Main Title" is sweeping with some jazzy hints, while "Love Theme" sounds like most upbeat romantic cues of the time. Whereas Herrmann's unused score has moody and paranoid undertones throughout (as befitting a 1966 Cold War drama), Addison's only occasionally repeats those darker motifs. Herrmann's, with so many more cues and subsidiary pieces, provided a much deeper musical experience. So soundtrack fans are presented with a wonderful debate: which score is better? The one used is top-notch, but the unused has cache and a lot more music. While Addison used melody to propel the story ahead, Herrmann chose to forgo Hollywood's melodic conventions to further a brooding mood. The soundtrack to Torn Curtain shows that the tensions between producers and artists is universal and that the corporate needs with regard to film music are probably as old as film itself. Like with Orson Welles' unsuccessful struggle to make The Lady From Shanghai (and its music) more alienating and frightful, Bernard Herrmann was unsuccessful in forcing his musical vision upon Hitchcock. The used score is undeniably lesser, but also a good piece of work. The two scores together make for an interesting history lesson for the students of film music. Highly recommended to anyone who studies the craft of film music or Hollywood film production. © JT Griffith /TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released November 16, 1999 | Varese Sarabande

One is grateful for the very notion of making a 1990s recording of seven of Bernard Herrmann's scores for the Twilight Zone series from the early '60s. As recently as the 1980s, anyone suggesting such an idea to most record labels would have been shown the door in a less-than-polite manner, but Herrmann's music seems to sell, and the continuing interest in The Twilight Zone doesn't hurt. Of all the music here, Herrmann's score for the episode "Walking Distance" holds up the best, a sweetly elegiac ode to passing youth and passing time that stands on its own. Much of the rest, although often very interesting, is simply not that good as music -- Herrmann did as bidden and created very effective, surprising, even other-worldly scores for "Little Girl Lost" and "Living Doll," using instruments such as harps, guitars, and bassoon with great facility, but these still aren't remotely of the quality of his film scores of the same era. It is possible, listening to this material, to discern his further use of such works as Gustav Holst's "The Planets," whose influence could be felt in his music for Alfred Hitchcock's The Trouble with Harry, and it's easy to admire the man's inventiveness and creativity. The recording is excellent, and the performance a perhaps a bit too serious, which is ironic since, as a substantial body of music, this lengthy set doesn't hold up. It is too long for its own good, except from the standpoint of the Herrmann completists, who will love it. © TiVo
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Symphonic Music - Released August 1, 2012 | Screenland Records

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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 1997 | Varese Sarabande

Varese's original soundtrack to Psycho finds Joel McNeely conducting the Royal Scottish National Orchestra through Bernard Herrmann's classic original score. This album is the first time the entire score has been recorded for an album and its remarkable how eerie and evocative the music is, even when its separated from the film. Psycho stands as one of Herrmann's finest moments, and even if many collectors and film buffs would prefer the original soundtrack recording, this version is essential for fans of the composer, since it is the clearest, cleanest edition of score yet produced. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released September 26, 1959 | WaterTower Music

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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2000 | Varese Sarabande

One of Bernard Herrmann's lesser-known scores for Alfred Hitchcock -- mostly by virtue of the fact that the movie for which it was written was a box office failure -- Marnie deserves a fair hearing as music, either in the original movie score conducted by the composer on this CD, or in the 1990s re-recording issued by Varese. The sound on this CD is a bit more compressed than that of the modern re-recording, but the disc still reveals a rich tonal tapestry, glittering harps ornamenting pensive, unsettling string passages, and brass strings. One will also hear material that echoes both earlier and later Herrmann scores, including key elements of The Devil and Daniel Webster (specifically the "Miser's Waltz") and Obsession. The producers have done an excellent job with the four-decade-old source material, bringing out the finely nuanced playing and the most delicate elements of the score, and the result is a CD that is essential listening for any fan of the composer, the movie, or the director. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released October 26, 2004 | Milan Music

4 Stars - Excellent - "...an entertaining, melodramatic collection...." © TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 1995 | Varese Sarabande

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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2003 | Varese

Amidst all the endless issues and reissues of the standard repertoire, there are still recordings released of the less-than-standard repertoire, of the masses of Ockeghem, of the symphonies of Krauss, and of the songs of Hahn. But of all the projects dedicated to the less-than-standard repertoire, perhaps the most needful and certainly the most interesting is Varese Sarabande's series of recordings of the film scores of Bernard Herrmann. Herrmann's scores are not only supremely effective as soundtracks, but extremely evocative and even deeply moving as pieces of music, and listening to the scores for Vertigo or Citizen Kane is as involving and exciting as listening to the Four Seasons or the 1812 Overture. But in most cases, Herrmann's scores are either recorded only in parts or unrecorded altogether, and it was not until Varese Sarabande began its Herrmann series that many of his complete scores could be heard. This 2002 recording of the complete score of Herrmann's The Day the Earth Stood Still conducted by Joel McNeely is the first recording of all the music for the score -- even the original soundtrack only includes 18 of its 33 cues. And like the previous nine titles in the series, it is magnificent. McNeely and his 30-piece orchestra of brass, percussion, keyboards, and Theremin perform as well and often better than Herrmann's own recording and producer Robert Townson's superlative sound that is far, far better than the sound of the original 1951 recording. The score itself is wonderful: vivid, colorful, terrifying, awe-inspiring, and always and everywhere gripping. For anyone who likes film scores in general, or Herrmann's scores in particular, this disc is mandatory. And for anyone who simply likes great music, this disc will be a welcome relief from the standard repertoire. © TiVo
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Pop - Released October 16, 2018 | Soundtrack Records

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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 1998 | Varese Sarabande

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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 1997 | Varese Sarabande

Arguably the best soundtrack that Bernard Herrmann ever composed, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir was his most expressive body of dramatic music, not really a surprise since a portion of its material was "stolen" by Herrmann from his own contemporary opera Wuthering Heights. The thematic material displays a level of elegance and delicacy that put it head and shoulders above the standard for film scores of its era, and made it one of the crowning achievements of film music composition in Hollywood. This recording, originally made by Elmer Bernstein and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for his Film Music Society, was considered a landmark in its time for recreating -- with extraordinary faithfulness -- the main body of the original 1947 score in all of its nuances. It holds up extremely well even a quarter century later. Bernstein took a great deal of care with this score, and although it now competes with the original unmixed tracks from the film conducted by Herrmann himself, it should not be dismissed out of hand as superfluous. The modern fidelity will make it more impressive on many sound systems, and all of the content that makes the Herrmann music so special is here. © Bruce Eder /TiVo