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Photo of Bernard Herrmann

Bernard Herrmann Centenary

A series of talks, articles, and interviews celebrating the work of composer Bernard Herrmann, of Psycho, Vertigo and Taxi Driver fame.

June 2011 marked the centenary of Herrmann's birth, and Watershed celebrated his legendary contribution to cinema with a season of films, events, interviews, and articles, exploring the man and his work.

"Bernard Herrmann redefined how music could be used in film with his heart racing, tense, luscious, atmospheric, inventive scores. His musical influence still resonates in contemporary cinema."

Mark Cosgrove, Head of Programme, Watershed

Bernard Herrmann was an American composer who was responsible for creating some of the most recognisable and iconic film scores ever committed to celluloid. From the deeply unsettling, yet strangely haunting strings of Psycho, to the spine-tingling, bittersweet cadences of Vertigo, Herrmann’s is music marked by rushing intensity, enormous pathos, and breath-taking dynamic scope.

Herrmann’s soundtracks consistently reinforce and intensify the drama on screen, as well as embodying the psychological and emotional subtexts of the narrative. The dazzling highs and thunderous lows of Taxi Driver ebb and flow seamlessly through agony and ecstasy, with a sumptuous foreboding that perfectly captures the intense loneliness and volatility of the film’s protagonist. The eerily cheerful whistling of the main theme for Twisted Nerve (made famous in the Kill Bill soundtrack) entwines with dense, menacing horns to characterise the sinister deception at the film’s core. These are just a few examples of the breathtaking scope of Herrmann’s enormous body of work.

Related Links:
The Bernard Herrmann Society

The Bernard Herrmann Estate

Ended in June 2011

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