CD Reviews Bernard Herrmann

Battle of Neretva

The sound quality of this disc is incredible, allowing Herrmann’s driving score to bellow forth in unadulterated splendor. Herrmann’s score is a professional, compelling and solid work, though it is not one of his most representative or distinctive. Called upon to provide a traditional war score, he does so beautifully, eschewing his characteristic, lovely musical … Continue reading Battle of Neretva

It’s Alive

IT’S ALIVE is Bernard Herrmann in uncompromising mood with a score of such unsettling grand guignol terror as to make the listener want to turn up the house lights and lock the doors and windows! Laurie Johnson refashioned the score for the sequel IT’S ALIVE 2 (aka IT’S LIVES AGAIN) and hitherto that has served … Continue reading It’s Alive

It’s Alive 2

In December 1975 Bernard Herrmann died in Hollywood just after completing his score for Taxi Driver, his 49th film. There was, however, one more movie yet to come to bring the Herrmann filmography to an even 50. In 1974 he had scored “It’s Alive” for Larry Cohen; when the picture’s surprise success led to a … Continue reading It’s Alive 2

Jane Eyre

The timing of this release is perhaps unfortunate, coming so soon after excerpts from Bernard Herrmann’s own recording of the soundtrack appeared on the 20th Century Fox film music label. Nevertheless, that does not mean collectors should pass up the opportunity of obtaining this excellent new recording of the complete score, as interpreted by Adriano … Continue reading Jane Eyre

Jason and the Argonauts

Bernard Herrmann’s long lost JASON score finally sees the light of day. In this excellent recording, with Bruce Broughton helming the Sinfonia of London. Herrmann’s score – hitherto available only via excerpts on collections – is brought to vivid life in its complete form, from the rhythmic chords of its opening prelude, drawn from the … Continue reading Jason and the Argonauts

Taxi Driver

Bernard Herrmann is brilliantly experimental in his final score TAXI DRIVER. On one hand, a unique Herrmann experiment in the kind of laidback, bluesy jazz score that Barry or Mancini would have been proud of. On the other, a study of the disturbed, obsessed mind of walking time bomb Travis Bickle. Herrmann’s music doesn’t only … Continue reading Taxi Driver

The Day the Earth Stood Still

The fifth release in Fox Records’ commendable first set of ‘Classic Series’ soundtrack restorations is one of Bernard Herrmann’s best scores. The first composer’s’ outright science fiction score, this 1951 cautionary tale contained the first electronic science fiction score of the decade, and one that remains to this day a landmark of genre film music. … Continue reading The Day the Earth Stood Still

The Egyptian

Few film scores are as beautifully melodic, or as spiritually uplifting, as THE EGYPTIAN (1954). The popularity of the music is evidenced by the fact that the score, on LP or CD, has rarely been out of print over the past fifty years. Just about the only other soundtrack to have received similar uninterrupted availability … Continue reading The Egyptian

The Egyptian

This splendid new recording in true stereo of one of the classic collaborations of Hollywood composers derives itself from the original score composition to present the music as it was intended to appear in the film. The “original score recording” (reissued beautifully on CD by Varèse Sarabande) was a monophonic re-recording by Alfred Newman, in … Continue reading The Egyptian

The Magnificent Ambersons

A fine idea well executed. This new digital recording of Bernard Herrmann’s exquisite score for the 1942 film (including the cues written for the later-excised scenes) captures the many emotional nuances of the chamber-like qualities of the intricate orchestrations, and allows a close examination of one of Herrmann’s most finely crafted works. THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, … Continue reading The Magnificent Ambersons

The Night Digger

Previously issued in 1994, Label X has reissued Bernard Herrmann’s score for the 1971 film THE NIGHT DIGGER in a remastered format with a few minutes of additional music. Sound quality, with well-defined spacious stereo sound, is excellent. The film – about a frustrated middle-aged spinster who falls in love with a young psychopathic motor-cyclist … Continue reading The Night Digger

The Snows of Kilimanjaro

The welcome outpouring of previously unrecorded 20th Century-Fox scores continues with a new Stromberg/Morgan release, THE SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO and FIVE FINGERS, two lesser-known Herrmann scores from 1952. The screenplay for SNOWS is a series of flashbacks, and more a Technicolor fantasia on Hemingway themes than a valid adaptation of the author’s original short story … Continue reading The Snows of Kilimanjaro

The View from Pompey’s Head / Blue Denim

If anyone neeads proof that Elmer Bernstein and Bernard Herrmann are among the greatest film music masters, then this disc should provide it. It contains the scores for two lesser-known films from the 1950s. Both scores have more to offer than the films themselves, yet the scores don’t call attention to themselves in any overindulgent … Continue reading The View from Pompey’s Head / Blue Denim


Joel McNeely conducts this very welcome recording of Herrmann’s VERTIGO, which features nearly thirty minutes of music not included on the original Mercury soundtrack album. Although still about ten minutes short of being complete, it manages to cover most of the score’s major moments, resulting in a new appreciation of the structure of the score. … Continue reading Vertigo