samedi 7 février 2009

Herrmann vu par… Lukas Kendall

Bernard Herrmann may be the single most important person in the history of movie music as far as developing the psychological and emotional possibilities of the art form. I think Max Steiner is absolutely the person who introduced the idea of the dramatic score (with King Kong) but you could say that what Steiner did was adapt the existing operatic and symphonic vocabulary for use in movies. Herrmann came up with a whole new language that was unique to the experience of watching a visual narrative: specifically, his use of instrumental color and the repetition of phrases to mimick interior psychological states.

My favorite Herrmann score might be The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, despite the fact that I have never seen the film (which I hear is wonderful). I only know it from the recordings. As famous as he is for his thriller and adventure scores, his softer, more heartfelt style in movies like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (also in some of his Twilight Zone episodes, like "Walking Distance") might be my my favorite. He managed to write in a style that was simple and achingly beautiful yet full of melancholy -- but also spare, never overdone. His style -- classical gestures developed (or not developed, as the case might be) in a colorful manner for film -- is one of the most splendid innovations in cinema.

Lukas Kendall
Film Score Monthly