Bernard Herrmann – Prelude (Fahrenheit 451: Original Film Score)

 

 

“When [Francois] Truffaut spoke to me about doing the score for the film, I said, ‘…You’re a great friend of [avant-garde composers] and this is a film that takes place in the future. Why shouldn’t you ask one of them? ‘Oh no, no,’ he said. ‘They’ll give me music of the twentieth century, but you’ll give me music of the twenty-first.’

I felt that the music of the next century would revert to a great lyrical simplicity and that it wouldn’t have truck with all this mechanistic stuff. Their lives would be scrutinized. In their music they would want something of simple nudity, of great elegance and simplicity. So I said, ‘If I do your picture, that’s the kind of score I want to write- strings, harps, and a few percussion instruments. I’m not interested in all this whoopee stuff that goes on being called the music of the future. I think that’s the music of the past.’”

-Herrmann, quoted in Steven Smith’s A Heart at Fire’s Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann

Title: FAHRENHEIT 451 ¥ Year: 1966 ¥ Dir: TRUFFAUT, FRANCOIS ¥ Ref: FAH002CE ¥ Credit: [ ANGLO ENTERPRISE/VINEYARD / THE KOBAL COLLECTION ]

Bernard Herrmann – The .44 Magnum Is a Monster

Bernard HerrmannThe .44 Magnum Is a Monster (Taxi Driver: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

“It wasn’t easy getting Bernard Herrmann to compose the music for Taxi Driver. He was a marvelous, but crotchety old man. I remember the first time I called him to do the picture. He said it was impossible, he was very busy, and then asked what it was called. I told him and he said, ‘Oh, no, that’s not my kind of picture title. No, no, no.’

I said, ‘Well, maybe we can meet and talk about it.’ He said, ‘No, I can’t. What’s it about?’ So I described it and he said, ‘No, no, no. I can’t. Who’s in it?’ So I told him and he said, ‘No, no, no. Well, I guess we can have a quick talk.’

Working with him was so satisfying that when he died, the night he had finished the score, on Christmas Eve in Los Angeles, I said there was no one who could come near him. You get to know what you like if you see enough films, and I thought his music would create the perfect atmosphere for Taxi Driver.”

-Martin Scorsese, Scorsese on Scorsese (1989)

Alfred Hitchcock & Bernard Herrmann

TITLE: HITCHCOCK, ALFRED ¥ PERS: HITCHCOCK, ALFRED ¥ YEAR: 1960 ¥ REF: XHI001KX ¥ CREDIT: [ THE KOBAL COLLECTION / PARAMOUNT ]

Alfred Hitchcock & Bernard Herrmann on the set of Psycho (1960)

“The Hitchcocks often played host to the Herrmanns, especially in the late 1950s. Recalled the third Mrs. Herrmann, Norma Shepard, “Benny used to wash dishes with Hitch, and they’d talk about what they’d do if they weren’t in the film business. Benny wanted to run an English pub, until somebody told him you actually had to open and close at certain hours. Benny asked Hitch what he would be. There was a silence. Hitchcock then turned to Benny, his apron folded on his head, and said solemnly: ‘A hanging judge‘”.

-excerpted from A Heart at Fire’s Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann