Academic Year 2009-2010

Event Title

Representations of Evil in the Cinema: The Film Music of Bernard Herrmann

Disciplines

Film and Media Studies

Description

From the ominous low-brass chords which open Citizen Kane, to the violin glissandi from the unmistakable shower scene in Psycho, few film composers have had as much impact on the art of film music as Bernard Herrmann (1911–1975). Hermann’s characteristic use of ostinato, drones, and the half-diminished seventh chord to create tension and dread in films, such as J. Lee Thompson’s Cape Fear (1962), represented an advance in film scoring which is still with us today.

This presentation explored the career of the composer, which reached its apotheosis in his collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock, and traced his influence on such modern film composers as John Williams, John Ottman, and others. Film and recordings illustrated the presentation.

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Representations of Evil in the Cinema: The Film Music of Bernard Herrmann

From the ominous low-brass chords which open Citizen Kane, to the violin glissandi from the unmistakable shower scene in Psycho, few film composers have had as much impact on the art of film music as Bernard Herrmann (1911–1975). Hermann’s characteristic use of ostinato, drones, and the half-diminished seventh chord to create tension and dread in films, such as J. Lee Thompson’s Cape Fear (1962), represented an advance in film scoring which is still with us today.

This presentation explored the career of the composer, which reached its apotheosis in his collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock, and traced his influence on such modern film composers as John Williams, John Ottman, and others. Film and recordings illustrated the presentation.