Aggie's Music

I usually blab about film scores on this blog, but I don't mind the occasional tangent towards other interests. :)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


A positive thing about having a part-time job during the summer (besides the moolah) is it keeps me from unnecessary drinking. Man, I'm bad.

Anyways, this clip is the opening scene from Hitchcock's "Vertigo". The score is done by one of my favourite film composers, Bernard Herrmann... the genius.

Vertigo is one of his best works, even though people will easily put it behind his score for Psycho. Here's a funny exerpt from a film score book I'm currently reading:

As specific as he was, Hitchcock expected his wishes to be taken seriously. Bernard Herrmann, however, followed his own sensibilities. When he saw powerful dramatic values in the edited version of Psycho, he realized it could be a special film. "Hitchcock... felt it didn't come off," Herrmann recalled. "He wanted to cut it down to an hour television show and get rid of it. I had an idea of what one could do with the film, so I said, 'Why don't you go away for your Christmas holidays, and when you come back we'll record the score and see what you think.....?' 'Well,' he said, 'do what you like, but only one thing I asked of you: please write nothing for the murder in the shower. That must be without music.'"
(taken from Listening to Movies: The Film Lover's Guide to Film Music, by Fred Karlin)

Of course, we know the outcome. Sometimes a director will put too much pressure on a composer, with temp scores, personal taste, etc., but Herrmann definitely kept his independence. That's probably the only time I'll talk about Psycho. Back to Vertigo.

The score, at times, can be very complicated classically (the film itself is a lot harder to follow then, let's say, Rear Window), so I'll only talk about the main title scene, which is easily the 'prettiest' part of the score... yes, I'm including all those 'amour' moments. This track has a dizzy-like motion... you don't just hear it... you feel and see it through the spirals on the clip. And then you see the title is Vertigo and you think, 'holy shit, of course!' And after a quick major version (cue the 'prettiness'), the harp comes in and eventually goes faster and faster, spinning almost out of control. It hits you right from the beginning... that's what film scores are supposed to do.

I bought the score to Vertigo about a week after watching the film. If you don't like the prices in the real world, you might like the Amazon price a lot more:

I'll talk more about it in a later post. I wish youtube had some clips from The Natural... oh well. Maybe Requiem for a Dream.


  • At 2:50 PM, Blogger JohnK said…

    Hi Aggie

    wow your posts about film scores are informative and interesting!

    You like the good stuff.

    You should go to Eddie's blog and talk to him about it.

    He loves Bernard Herrmann too.

  • At 4:19 PM, Blogger Aggie said…

    Thanks a bunch, John! I'll be sure to check out Eddie's blog. :)

  • At 1:43 PM, Blogger oldtownboys said…

    I like it! Good job. Go on.


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