mercredi 6 juillet 2011

Herrmann vu par... Douglass Fake

Herrmann’s most attractive gift to me was his sense of orchestral colour. Orchestration was his strongest suit. He blended woodwind sonorities especially well, but really, was gifted at all of the orchestral families : strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion. He wrote exceptionally well for the harp, too.
I found working on his Jason and the Argonauts to be quite revealing. Even though it was designed for recording and editing into a mono film soundtrack, he devised numerous individual “conversations” between various instrumental groups. Things like having trumpets split into two groups with some playing muted, some playing open. Or having the bassoons play a figure and have an answer motif from the clarinets. His harp parts were actually “question and answer” ideas. I think he intentionally scored his music with the idea that the sounds would appear and blend with each other on the recording stage in ways that most other composers wouldn’t be aware of.

I also admire the extraordinary use he made of the interval of the tri-tone. He came up with amazing ways to incorporate a chord progression using two major chords, literally a tri-tone apart. This striking progression became a personal signature of his !

My own favourite score by Herrmann is probably Journey to the Center of the Earth. I particularly liked the harmonies he used. The tri-tone chord progression is there but also a another very interesting motif, again more of a chord progression than a melody. It was a pair of alternating minor chords. Somehow, Herrmann Managed to make simple ideas – like two shifting chords – become such all-important musical motifs !

Douglass Fake
Editeur Musical
Intrada Label

2220 Mountain Blvd. Suite 220
Ookland, CA 94611

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