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This article was published 12/6/2009 (4487 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Crime Music: Bernard Herrmann Revisited (XXI/Universal)
Orson Welles once remarked that composer Bernard Herrmann was "50 per cent responsible" for the success of Citizen Kane. Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo and Psycho give further evidence of Herrmann's film music as among the most unique and dramatically relevant in film history. Montreal arranger/pianist Antoine Bustros sets six of Herrmann's scores from a forgotten radio series called Crime Classics for a small ensemble of strings and winds. A suite from the score to Psycho rounds out, as Bustros quite tastefully expands Herrmann's famous repeated kernel-motives to make the music more concert-friendly sans images.
Everything works musically but the project unforgivably isn't what it should have been. Butros's raw-sounding, game but effortful players sound thoroughly taxed. The artificial studio ambience attenuates any attempt at creating atmosphere in this very atmospheric music. One wonders where heads were at, given so much potential. For Herrmann completists only. 'Ö'Ö1/2
-- James Manishen