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 Posted:   Oct 14, 2013 - 2:57 AM   
 By:   Jim Doherty   (Member)

I was reflecting the other day on how few Bernard Herrmann original soundtrack LPs came out during his lifetime. Considering the great amount of soundtrack LPs that came out through major labels like RCA, Decca and Columbia of great scores and lesser scores (some to rather insignificant films), by Victor Young, Frank Skinner, Max Steiner, George Duning and many others, it always seemed odd to me that Herrmann received so few original soundtrack LPs during his lifetime. Basically he got:

7th VOYAGE OF SINBAD
VERTIGO
THE BRIDE WORE BLACK (a French four track EP)
TWISTED NERVE (only one side of an LP)
THE BATTLE OF NERETVA
SISTERS
OBSESSION
TAXI DRIVER (only one side of original tracks, with one of those cuts obscured by dialogue)

And if you want to stretch a point, there were the non-commercial, corporate-only releases of the TV productions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL and A CHILD IS BORN, basically grabbed from the completed telefilms. Also, there was the THREE WORLDS OF GULLIVER LP, but that too was taken right from the completed film, with dialogue and effects. The 20th-Fox LP of TENDER IS THE NIGHT contained absolutely no Herrmann scoring.

It just doesn't seem right that no label bothered with such classics as NORTH BY NORTHWEST, JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, PSYCHO, MYSTERIOUS ISLAND, JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS, MARNIE, or even the TWILIGHT ZONE scores at the time those films and TV shows came out.

Sure, there were scattered relatively-contemporary re-recordings of a few themes (a relatively-faithful mini-suite from SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO by Al Goodman on RCA, and a recording of the HANGOVER SQUARE concerto by Werner Janssen, also on RCA), but for the most part, Herrmann was overlooked as a candidate for original soundtrack LPs.

I am SO glad that this has been corrected in recent years, to the point where we have almost all of Herrmann's film work, and a fair percentage of his TV work available to us. But I am still perplexed as to why he was so under-represented on LP when the original films came out.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 14, 2013 - 7:00 AM   
 By:   James Corry   (Member)

Record producers (at that period of time) had no idea how to "market" Bernard Herrmann.

J.

 
 Posted:   Oct 14, 2013 - 7:27 AM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

Actually, both "Taxi Driver" and "Obsession" were released posthumously.

Of course, those Phase 4 rerecordings were nothing to sneeze at, and probably presented the music in Herrmann's preferred manner, for the most part.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 14, 2013 - 7:57 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Don't forget the LP of THE EGYPTIAN, which Herrmann shared with Alfred Newman. OK, technically, it was a re-recording, and not an original soundtrack.

 
 Posted:   Oct 14, 2013 - 7:58 AM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

Actually, both "Taxi Driver" and "Obsession" were released posthumously.

Of course, those Phase 4 rerecordings were nothing to sneeze at, and probably presented the music in Herrmann's preferred manner, for the most part.


Those Phase 4 recordings were the first time I ever heard pure Herrmann away from the films (most of which I'd seen only once in a theater). They were absolute JOYS.

 
 Posted:   Oct 14, 2013 - 9:07 AM   
 By:   msmith   (Member)

But didn't Herrmann himself at one time bulk at the idea of his music being heard on records claiming that he meant his music to be best heard married to the movie and not meant to be apart from it?

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 14, 2013 - 9:18 AM   
 By:   Jim Doherty   (Member)

Bob: Somehow I overlooked THE EGYPTIAN. (Shame on me.) Thanks.

SchiffyM: Posthumous TAXI DRIVER and OBSESSION. You're right. I was just thinking that at least they came out when the films did.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 14, 2013 - 9:32 AM   
 By:   John B. Archibald   (Member)

Actually, both "Taxi Driver" and "Obsession" were released posthumously.

Of course, those Phase 4 rerecordings were nothing to sneeze at, and probably presented the music in Herrmann's preferred manner, for the most part.


Those Phase 4 recordings were the first time I ever heard pure Herrmann away from the films (most of which I'd seen only once in a theater). They were absolute JOYS.




I remember playing the main theme from NORTH BY NORTHWEST over and over....

Favorite was FANTASTY FILM WORLD OF BERNARD HERRMANN, especially the FAHRENHEIT 451 suite, whose finale I still think sounds better than the actual tracks...

Herrmann got some success out of these, enough to be asked to do more mainstream scores.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 14, 2013 - 11:02 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Earlier this year I decided to expand my limited collection of his works and so bought several CDs, mostly the re-recordings, which included recent issues of the 1970's Phase 4 albums ... they've been packaged into a couple of double CDs: Film Classics and Cinema Spectacular on the Decca Eloquence label, along with the Rumon Gamba and Esa-Pekka Salonen recordings. Some duplication, of course, but great listens, one and all.

I'm not a total fan ... his style is a little too repetitive for me ... but I love most of the scores/part-scores than I now have.

I've owned the OST of North by North-West for many years - doesn't everyone? smile - and it's one of my favourites (though I do prefer Vertigo and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir for complete listens). I recall that my father bought a Phase 4 compilation LP in the early 70s which included the BH/LPO recording of the main title theme from North by North-West (from the Lp Great Movie Thrillers) - I thought it was wonderful ... my mother had other views!

And I much prefer his thriller/drama scores to his fantasy scores.

I don't know enough about him to assess whether he was reluctant to publish his scores or was not savvy enough (as per, e.g. Henry Mancini) to have his scores released but I'm sure these albums recorded and released in the late 60s onwards rectified that ... at least until we OST-fans demanded more smile

Mitch

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 14, 2013 - 11:34 AM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

I was reflecting the other day on how few Bernard Herrmann original soundtrack LPs came out during his lifetime. Considering the great amount of soundtrack LPs that came out through major labels like RCA, Decca and Columbia of great scores and lesser scores (some to rather insignificant films), by Victor Young, Frank Skinner, Max Steiner, George Duning and many others, it always seemed odd to me that Herrmann received so few original soundtrack LPs during his lifetime. Basically he got:

7th VOYAGE OF SINBAD
VERTIGO
THE BRIDE WORE BLACK (a French four track EP)
TWISTED NERVE (only one side of an LP)
THE BATTLE OF NERETVA
SISTERS
OBSESSION
TAXI DRIVER (only one side of original tracks, with one of those cuts obscured by dialogue)

And if you want to stretch a point, there were the non-commercial, corporate-only releases of the TV productions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL and A CHILD IS BORN, basically grabbed from the completed telefilms. Also, there was the THREE WORLDS OF GULLIVER LP, but that too was taken right from the completed film, with dialogue and effects. The 20th-Fox LP of TENDER IS THE NIGHT contained absolutely no Herrmann scoring.

It just doesn't seem right that no label bothered with such classics as NORTH BY NORTHWEST, JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, PSYCHO, MYSTERIOUS ISLAND, JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS, MARNIE, or even the TWILIGHT ZONE scores at the time those films and TV shows came out.

Sure, there were scattered relatively-contemporary re-recordings of a few themes (a relatively-faithful mini-suite from SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO by Al Goodman on RCA, and a recording of the HANGOVER SQUARE concerto by Werner Janssen, also on RCA), but for the most part, Herrmann was overlooked as a candidate for original soundtrack LPs.

I am SO glad that this has been corrected in recent years, to the point where we have almost all of Herrmann's film work, and a fair percentage of his TV work available to us. But I am still perplexed as to why he was so under-represented on LP when the original films came out.



Jim.....in your zeal to champion Herrmann, I think you've overlooked the point that though a number of film composers were represented by soundtrack lps during the 50s-60s period, individually most were like Herrmann and had very few official soundtrack LPs released.

Let's take your example of Max Steiner. Although there were certainly a number of compilations, the only (relatively) full-score soundtrack LPs I can think of for Steiner during this period are:

BAND OF ANGELS
GONE WITH THE WIND
JOHN PAUL JONES
MARJORIE MORNINGSTAR
PARRISH
ROME ADVENTURE

(Note also that several of these are cut-down re-recordings and not soundtracks.)

Perhaps we could throw in THIS IS CINERAMA (which is iffy---more like a slice-and-dice representation of Steiner---and others'---work), THE CAINE MUTINY (all 5 copies!!! smile smile ), and DEATH OF A SCOUNDREL (45 ep).


And, considering Victor Young's career output, the number of Young's lp releases during the short period of the '50s in which he was still alive is shockingly small including SAMSON AND DELILAH, THE QUIET MAN. WRITTEN ON THE WIND (half-disc), and THE BRAVE ONE. (The Heindorf FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, RUN OF THE ARROW and OMAR KHAYYAM (half-disc) were all released posthumously, I believe, and the Decca GOLDEN EARRINGS and FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS were 78 sets reissued on LP.) Was there anything more of length during his lifetime?

Of Stothart's (1888-1949) career of over 150+ scores and multiple Oscar nominations, there were NO soundtrack scores on 78rpm, and only ONE posthumous one (WIZARD OF OZ) on LP in the '50s and '60s until the issue of the Tony Thomas/LP boot of the cut-down ANNA KARENINA/MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY/DAVID COPPERFIELD/VIVA VILLA scores in the '70s, and then Lukas' CD release of RANDOM HARVEST/THE YEARLING, followed by several more in the 2000's. Whatever one thinks of Stothart's music, it can hardly be judged in depth by the few recordings of it.

I suspect you could go through ANY composer's recorded career during this period in time and find relatively few soundtrack lp recordings for them. My guess is that Rozsa would fare the best in total releases of the Golden Agers during this period. (Were there ANY David Raksin full scores released at all in the 1950s???)

Chalk all of this up to the AFM re-use fees and the lack of studio-owned record companies (other than MGM), until, essentially the late '50s and then into the '60s. It also turned out that the musician's strike of 1957-58 was a boon to the soundtrack industry (if not the musicians, who seriously miscalculated), because the record companies could then release foreign-recorded scores with less cost, leading, of course to the major push to disband the studio orchestras, and record offshore regularly. Nick Redman's initial negotiations with the AFM several decades ago also was vital to our getting the mass of soundtracks we have today.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 14, 2013 - 11:37 AM   
 By:   Eugene Iemola   (Member)

Please don't forget the incredible suite found on the "Welles Raises Kane" LP from the early seventies which, aside from Herrmann's own suite from Citizen Kane there's the suite from The Devil and Daniel Webster, an absolute favorite of mine and under the baton of Mr. Herrmann.

 
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