1 800 222 6872

Bernard Herrmann: Film Music - Citizen Kane

Audio Samples

>Herrmann, Bernard : Hangover Square, film score
>Shepherd, Norma : Concerto macabre, for piano and orchestra (after Bernard Herrmann's concert version of music from Ha
>Herrmann, Bernard : Citizen Kane

Album Summary

>Herrmann, Bernard : Hangover Square, film score
>Shepherd, Norma : Concerto macabre, for piano and orchestra (after Bernard Herrmann's concert version of music from Ha
>Herrmann, Bernard : Citizen Kane
Performer Conductor Ensemble
  • >
Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Brilliant as both a conductor and composer, Bernard Herrmann was arguably the most innovative film composer of his generation. He provided background music for 47 films released between 1941 and 1976 including such cinema classics as Citizen Kane, Psycho and Taxi Driver and is especially known for his work with Alfred Hitchcock. Citizen Kane needs no introduction and was in fact Herrmann's first film score. The score played no small part in the success of the Orson Welles movie which brought Herrmann an Academy Award nomination for best dramatic score. The disc also features the music for Hangover Square a 'Film Noir' based on Patrick Hamilton's novel which went on to be a significant influence on Stephen Sondheim. On this recording, the BBC Philharmonic is conducted by Rumon Gamba.

The Guardian
the Concerto Macabre, Herrmann's concert version of the lethal concerto from Hangover Square, [is] thrillingly done with the electrifying soloist Martin Roscoe

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester.

Rumon Gamba and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra continue their survey of seemingly every piece of film music worthy of a full recording. In this instance, they've taken on two Bernard Herrmann scores from the 1940s -- Herrmann's Oscar-nominated music from Citizen Kane (which was beaten out for a statuette that year by Herrmann's own score for The Devil and Daniel Webster), and his music for Hangover Square. Both scores have been well-represented by good re-recordings in the past, most notably by Charles Gerhardt for RCA-Victor in the early '70s, but amazingly, this does mark the first full treatment for either. The dark, often snarling score for Hangover Square was a rich source of subsequent thematic material for Herrmann that he mined on and off for nearly three decades, right up to his penultimate film project, Obsession. Here we get the original versions of those and other cues that later became far more famous in other soundtracks, as well as the full Concerto Macabre, the centerpiece of the entire score. It is the main attraction of this CD, owing both to its own virtues and the role that some of this material played in Herrmann's later career. The music from Citizen Kane is more specifically tied to the film for which it was composed -- Herrmann had a chance to indulge in his taste for period music style, as well as to parody other composers' styles (especially Richard Strauss), and he ran with it, all locked to the images of the movie (from which it is impossible to escape while listening to this CD). The one and only major weak point is soprano Orla Boylan's singing on the aria from Salaambo -- she's technically fine, giving the kind of performance that Charles Foster Kane obviously wanted to hear from Susan Alexander Kane; but she is not anywhere near Kiri Te Kanawa, who recorded the aria for Gerhardt, in either her acting intensity or her embrace of the fragmentary role. The sound is first-rate, and the performances are, apart from Boylan's slight deficiency, first-rate, though one wishes that the BBC Philharmonic had put slightly more into the nuances of playing -- Gerhardt's orchestra clearly had more fun with this music, even if they didn't get to play as much of it. ~ Bruce Eder



Reviews

The greatest film music composer
I grew up with Charles Gerhardt’s RCA recordings of film music and his recording of Bernard Herrmann’s music for Citizen Kane was one of my favorites from this sadly out-of-print series. Thankfully, this new recording featuring an extended selection of music from Citizen Kane (almost 50 minutes worth of music) and excerpts from Hangover Square (including the Concerto macabre) is excellent. The Hangover Square music is well-suited to the film’s tale of madness and murder. Menacing piano chords, snarling brass, swirling strings and rattling percussion dominate. It’s not necessarily accessible music, but it certainly does set a mood and you must admire the fiery virtuosity conductor Rumon Gamba draws from the BBC Philharmonic players. The most famous music from Hangover Square is the Concerto Macabre. If you have seen the film you will certainly remember the scene where the deranged composer George Bone hammers away at the piano as a building burns and collapses around him. Herrmann’s concerto owes an obvious debt to Liszt’s Totentanz and pianist Martin Roscoe plays the hell out of it. This is over-the-top music for an extremely over-the-top film sequence. The Citizen Kane music is brilliant. Once again Herrmann serves what appears on the screen with a score that is not easy to pigeon-hole, just like the film’s title character. Herrmann’s music is a riveting mix of antic gallops and dark melancholy. There’s even a faux French grand opera aria that is nicely sung by soprano Orla Boylan. The BBC Philharmonic performances are all top-notch and the sound quality of the CD is stunning. It sounds trite, but when I listen to this CD I see the films in my head, I suspect this is high praise for a recording of film music. No other label comes close to Chandos in their film music series and I hope Gamba and the BBC have more Herrmann in store for us.
Submitted on 05/03/10 by Craig Zeichner 
Login or Create an Account to write a review
 

Also Purchased



Previous


Next


Works Details

>Herrmann, Bernard : Hangover Square, film score
  • Conductor: Rumon Gamba
  • Running Time: 6 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1945

>Shepherd, Norma : Concerto macabre, for piano and orchestra (after Bernard Herrmann's concert version of music from Ha
  • Performer: Martin Roscoe (Piano)
  • Conductor: Rumon Gamba
  • Running Time: 11 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1992

>Herrmann, Bernard : Citizen Kane
  • Conductor: Rumon Gamba
  • Running Time: 8 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Film Score
  • Written: 1941