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Bernard Herrmann (Composer): Obsession

Album Notes

Performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Philharmonic Orchestra, and conducted by the composer, this piece was written in June and July of 1975. The score for Brian De Palma's 1976 film of the same name, Obsession was one of Herrmann's last works. Similar to Hitchcock's Vertigo (itself based on the Tristan and Isolde story), the film is a tale of double identities and hidden schemes. Herrmann again creates an unusual combination to underscore the drama: a large cathedral organ (recorded in the church of St. Giles, Cripplegate, London) and tympani as primary musical signature characters, and a small choir of wordless and sighing female voices, horns, winds and strings. "My Obsession score has two distinct elements: romance and tension. They usually go hand-in-hand" (Herrmann). This is an elegant summing-up of his film score techniques -- rich impressionist harmonies unfolded amidst captivating rhythmic minimalism, brilliant scoring with clearly denoted lines and a wide spectrum of orchestral timbres, and last but not least, a musical sensitivity perfectly in touch with the characters and their circumstances. ~ "Blue" Gene Tyranny


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