Monday, June 29, 2009

Bernard Herrmann, 1911-1975

It was on this day in 1911 that film composer Bernard Herrmann was born. To be honest, composers don't get quite as much attention as they deserve. Herrmann was one of the best, writing amongst others the memorable string music for Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. There's an apocryphal story that the reason behind this is that Hitchcock was trying to make Psycho for a relatively low budget, and one of the ways Herrmann was able to help Hitchcock save money was by using only strings in the score, which meant having to pay fewer musicians. (Somehow, I doubt it's true, but it's a fun story nonetheless.)

Herrmann's career in the movies started two decades earlier, when he composed music for the 1941 classic Citizen Kane. Interestingly, the actress who played Kane's wife, Ruth Warrick, was also born on this day, but in 1915.

Herrmann's other work includes the original version of Cape Fear, along with the original version of The Day the Earth Stood Still and Fahrenheit 451.

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