Bernard Herrmann ‘Film Scores On Phase 4’ Box Set Announced

Bernard Herrmann’s complete film score recordings for Phase 4 will be released to mark the 110th anniversary of the birth of the great composer.

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Bernard Herrmann Film Scores on Phase 4 cover

To celebrate the 110th anniversary of the birth of Bernard Herrmann, one of the most original and distinctive composers to work in film, a 7 CD box set of his complete film score recordings for Decca’s Phase 4 Stereo imprint will be released on 30 July 2021. The Film Scores On Phase 4, a collection of seven original albums recorded between 1968 and 1975, remastered from the original analogue master tapes, provides an overview of Bernard Herrmann’s multifaceted musicodramatic genius and his distinctive style. BBC Music Magazine noted, “This collection of London recordings by the legendary Bernard Herrmann is a must-have.”

Reprint: Bernard Herrmann: The Complete Film Score Recordings on Phase 4 (trailer)

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Features Bernard Herrmann’s classic scores

The Film Scores On Phase 4 features Bernard Herrmann’s classic scores for the Hitchcock films Psycho, Vertigo, North by Northwest and other thrillers. His scores from great classic films including Citizen Kane, Jane Eyre, the Academy Award-winning The Devil and Daniel Webster, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, and the sci-fi and fantasy classics Journey to the Centre of the Earth, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, The Three Worlds of Gulliver, Mysterious Island and Jason and the Argonauts plus his score for the 1975 film Obsession are also included. Two of the albums in this collection, Great Shakespearean Films and Great British Film Music provide a showcase for the innovative programming that characterized Bernard Herrmann’s career as a concert conductor.

Bernard Herrmann (“Benny” to his friends) was born in New York City on 29 June 1911 and grew up in a cultured household steeped in music, literature, and the arts. After studying composition at the Juilliard School and at New York University, Herrmann joined CBS radio in 1934 as a staff composer and conductor. During the 1930s he collaborated with the actor and director Orson Welles on numerous radio shows (including the notorious 1938 The War of the Worlds broadcast) and was the obvious choice to score Welles’ film debut, Citizen Kane, which launched his career in film music.

One of the most original and distinctive film composers

Bernard Herrmann was a prolific film composer who produced some of his most memorable work for Alfred Hitchcock, for whom he wrote nine scores. He remains to this day one of the most original and distinctive composers ever to work in film.

When Bernard Herrmann died of heart failure on Christmas Eve 1975, he had just finished supervising the recording sessions of his score for Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. Thirty-five years earlier, Herrmann’s career as a film composer had begun with Citizen Kane. Like the protagonists in these two films that bookended Herrmann’s tumultuous career the temperamental composer was haunted by solitude and melancholy.

Torn between his frustrated ambition to become a successful conductor and opera composer and his true calling to film music, Bernard Herrmann externalized his bitterness by becoming, as described by his colleague David Raksin, a “virtuoso of unspecified anger.” However Herrmann was able to sublimate his inner darkness into some of the most effective and psychologically incisive music ever composed for the screen.

Bernard Herrmann left an extraordinary musical legacy and he is possibly the only composer of his generation to remain a direct influence on contemporary film scoring today. “Film music must supply what the actors cannot say,” he observed. “The music can give to an audience their feelings. It must really convey what the word cannot do.”

The recordings

CD1 Great Movie Thrillers
Psycho (A Narrative for Orchestra)
Marnie – Prelude & Hunting Scene
North By Northwest – Overture
Vertigo – Prelude – The Nightmare – Scène d’amour
A Portrait of ‘Hitch’ (from The Trouble with Harry)

CD2 Great Film Classics
Jane Eyre (selections)
The Snows of Kilimanjaro – Interlude & The Memory Waltz
Citizen Kane – Overture, Variations, Ragtime & Finale
The Devil and Daniel Webster – Sleigh-Ride
Swing Your Partners

CD3 Fantasy Film World
Music from Journey to the Centre of the Earth
The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Fahrenheit 451

CD4 Great Shakespearean Films
Shostakovich: Music from the film Hamlet
Walton: Richard III Prelude
Rósza: Julius Caesar – Suite from the Incidental Music

CD5 Mysterious Film World
Mysterious Island – Suite
Music from Jason and the Argonauts
Music from The Three Worlds of Gulliver

CD6 Great British Film Music
Lambert: Anna Karenina – Suite
Bax: Oliver Twist
Benjamin: Hyde Par Galop from An Ideal Husband
Walton: Escape Me Never
Vaughan Williams: The Invaders from 49th Parallel
Bliss: Things to Come – Suite

CD7 Obsession OST

Bernard Herrmann’s The Film Scores On Phase 4 will be released on 30 July 2021 and can be pre-ordered here.

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