Tuesday, March 28, 2017

2m1 Vertigo: The Harmony of Herrmann

Today we unveil the next film score in our series, the mysterious and romantic score to Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 classic, Vertigo. This week we begin by celebrating composer Bernard Herrmann, who in addition to being Hitchcock's long-standing musical collaborator is one of the most important and influential names in the landscape of film music. We examine some of the many musical traits that embody Herrmann's stellar output and contextualize this month's seminal score in the process. Join us as we dive into cinema's other great master of suspense!

Citizen Kane - Bernard Herrmann - 1941 - RKO Pictures (Orson Welles, dir,)
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir - B. Herrmann -1947 -20th Century Fox (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, dir.)
-Andante Cantabile
The Day the Earth Stood Still - B. Herrmann - 1951 - 20th Century Fox (Robert Wise, dir.)
-Suite from 'The Day the Earth Stood Still'
North By Northwest - B. Herrmann - 1959 - MGM (Alfred Hitchcock, dir.)
-The Airport
-Concersation Piece
Cape Fear - B. Herrmann - 1962 - Universal Pictures (J. Lee Thompson, dir.)
-Main Title
Marnie - B. Herrmann - 1964 - Universal Pictures (Alfred Hitchcock, dir.)
Psycho - B. Herrmann - 1960 - Paramount Pictures (Alfred Hitchcock, dir.)
-The Storm
Vertigo - B. Herrmann - 1958 - Paramount/Universal (Alfred Hitchcock, dir.)
Twisted Nerve - Herrmann - 1968 - National General Pictures (Roy Boulting, dir.)
-Suite from 'Twisted Nerve'

For score reductions, additional links and more,
the discussion continues at: www.underscorepodcast.com


  1. This was fantastic - can't wait for the rest of the Vertigo dissection. Loved all the music theory in there. Excellent point about Hermann creating an "environment" so to speak. He does more than score a film but in his "overtures" creates the platform and sets the stage. I feel like modern day composers don't do this as much - the accompany the action. And like Hermann using instruments very carefully, Bear McCreary did the same for 10 Cloverfield Lane in using the blaster beam to really create a very eerie (and again mental) landscape for the film. Very much looking forward to more podcasts.

  2. Thanks so much for listening - great point about McCreary's score (he is one inventive composer to be sure :)