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It's Alive (1974)
Music by Bernard Herrmann
It's Alive It's Alive
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $19.95
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Silver Age
CD Release: March 2012
Catalog #: Vol. 15, No. 2
# of Discs: 1

The first half of the 1970s witnessed a magnificent resurgence for one of Hollywood’s legendary composers: Bernard Herrmann. Living in England, the notoriously cantankerous Herrmann—a near-pariah within the Hollywood establishment—suddenly became the darling of young directors like Martin Scorsese, Brian de Palma and Larry Cohen.

Cohen wrote, produced and directed It’s Alive near the beginning of a storied career as a high-end exploitation filmmaker. Although his plans to reunite the two principal actors from Psycho for his film about a mutant killer infant came to naught (John Ryan and Sharon Farrell instead played the hapless parents), he did manage to hire the composer of the iconic score for the Hitchcock classic.
Herrmann’s score for It’s Alive represents the epitome of his succinct style. The music evolves from short, mostly conjunct motives (usually only 2–5 notes), repeated sequentially.  There is little in the way of extended melody. The orchestration is also typical for Herrmann: an unusual ensemble consisting of 6 clarinets, 8 French horns, 6 trumpets, 6 trombones, 2 tubas, 2 harps, Moog synthesizer, electric bass guitar, organ and percussion. The only string instrument is a solo viola d’amore, a Baroque-era instrument that the composer previously used for On Dangerous Ground and one of his Twilight Zone episode scores.
This CD features the premiere release of Herrmann’s nearly complete score (only one five-second cue is missing), mastered from a set of ¼″ monaural tapes in the Warner Bros. vaults. (No stereo masters survive.) FSM’s 16-page booklet, designed by Joe Sikoryak, includes a detailed, perceptive essay on film and score by Jeff Bond and Frank K. DeWald.
The film’s tag line reads: “There is only one thing wrong with the Davis baby. It’s alive.” The only thing “wrong” with this CD is that it took 37 years to bring Bernard Herrmann’s third-to-last score to the public. FSM is happy to correct this oversight as a final tribute to the composer at the end of his centennial celebration.
Bernard Herrmann Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Bernard Herrmann (1911-1975) started his film career with Citizen Kane, finished with Taxi Driver, and in-between scored famous projects for Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho, Vertigo), Ray Harryhausen and a host of others—to say nothing of the transcendent beauty of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir or the pioneering timbres of The Day the Earth Stood Still. He practically invented “psychological” film scoring and the use of orchestral color to achieve dramatic ends; his music for radio and television is brilliant despite (or perhaps because of) his limited resources. He was a genius and cast a long shadow on music for film. P.S. Check out On Dangerous Ground. IMDB

Comments (125):Log in or register to post your own comments

Herrmann, a mutated killer baby and a Moog...sign me up!

WOW! Very cool!

I'm sad that it isn't OBSESSION, but IT'S ALIVE was in my top-five Herrmann wants, so I will order it shortly. Good, but not great news, for me.

Hurrah! Great release!! :) I don't even have the LP or the IT'S ALIVE 2 CD, and I've never seen the film, so this will be an entirely new Herrmann to me! I'm not even going to listen to the samples, just want to soak it in when it arrives!

Thanks FSM guys!

So is this the last Herrmann on FSM? (And was BEN-HUR the last Rozsa?)


Thanks, FSM!


Hey Steve? Look at that! They misspelled The Bride Wore Black! ;)

Ooooooooohhhh!!!! Yeah!

I didn't think this score would ever get released!!!

Thank you FSM!!!!!

Is this the final FSM Herrmann? :)

I'm happy to get this. The IT'S ALIVE II score that has been available for years is very good, but it's great to have the Herrmann original.

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