Herrmann: Knowing the Score

Bernard Herrmann is the legendary composer responsible for a huge number of iconic soundtracks to classic films such as Psycho, Vertigo, and Taxi Driver. He is often credited as being one of the most influential film score composers of all time, with many of today’s most successful composers citing him as an influence.

Perhaps key to his brilliance, is the way in which Herrmann used music to tell a story. He was able to use music to perfectly reflect the narrative and imagery of a film, as well as creating moods and textures that could exist independently of the pictures that inspired them.

In this talk, writer and composer Neil Brand considers the nuts and bolts of Herrmann’s craft, revealing the methods and techniques employed in shaping some of the most effective, well-known, and emotionally powerful scores of all time. What are the hidden elements that make the music of Psycho so chilling and unsettling? How do the painfully bittersweet cadences of Vertigo combine romance with suspense? Using clips from films and illustrating key music points on piano, Neil addresses these questions and more in this illustrated guide to the phenomenal music of one of cinema’s greatest artists.

Neil Brand is a renowned writer and composer, who has been accompanying silent films for over 25 years. He has worked with the National Film Theatre, throughout the UK, and at a number of film festivals and special events throughout the world. Neil is also responsible for a new score for the restored 1928 film The Wrecker, and has a long working relationship with the BBC as both a playwright and composer.

Related Links:
Neil Brand
On Dangerous Ground: The Cinema of Bernard Herrmann

Posted on Sun 19 June 2011.