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Bernard Herrman - Psycho LP
Herrmann changed the idea of the film score from "incidental music" to one employing bare melody-like gestures (motifs, patterns, "cells") in pure theme-and-variations form. His 1960 music forHitchcock's classic thriller, conducted by the composer on this CD, is a perfect example of that technique. Herrmann chose a string orchestra to make "black-and-white music" in a total of 39 "cues." In the Prelude, we hear the three basic cells varied throughout the picture: (1) an anxious/fearful propulsion, (2) a series of stabbing accents, and (3) a small melody of eight sighing tones, which become Cues 2-4, the music of Marion and Sam's melancholy, hopeless relationship. In Cue 5, a high note continually swells over moving tones, a perfect atmosphere of stealth as Marion takes the money. Cues 6-9 describe Marion's flight using Herrmann's famous minor chord with a major seventh. Cue13 repeats 2, with a weird pulse on muted violas like an electronic buzzing (we see stuffed and mounted animals on the screen). In Cues 14-16, we hear the first counterpoint, high and serenely dissonant. Cues 17 and 18, The Murder and The Body are the ones everyone recalls -- harsh downbows on dissonances combined with fast glissandi upwards like shrieking birds. In Cue 28, detective Arbogast slowly climbs the stairs of the old house, at first to a tango rhythm, then to spooky high harmonics over a pizzicato tremolo. Cue 37, The Cellar, extends an idea from early horror movie music -- a single line of tremolo muted strings -- into suspenseful, quickly rushing chromatic counterpoint. Cue 38, Discovery (of the mummified body), is a brief, wild downward rushing of strings, concluded with a bass hit. Cue 39 uses dissonant counterpoint to describe Norman Bates' final madness and quotes from Cue 14 The Madhouse.