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Citizen Kane: The Essential Bernard Herrmann Film Music Collection

Citizen Kane: The Essential Bernard Herrmann Film Music Collection

City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Paul Bateman and Nic Raine.

Silva FILMXCD 308 (UK, CD, 1999); Silva SSD 1093 (USA, CD, 1999).
Everything except 2 minutes of this 111-minute CD from Silva Screen has been previously released. It's a compilation. Another one. So why do we care?

This new double CD contains every cue ever recorded by Silva, from 1993 to 1999. It spans Herrmann's entire film music career from his first film score, Citizen Kane, to his last, Taxi Driver.

The die-hard Herrmann fan having a wall of Herrmann CDs already is not the one who'll be getting the most out of this CD. Many of the selections are better performed on other CDs; the performances are very uneven ranging from the superb to, well, not-so-good. Compare the Prelude of On Dangerous Ground to Gerhardt's 1974 recording to see what I mean.

But as a Herrmann "starter", for people wanting an introduction to Herrmann's film music you could hardly do better than this CD. Though many of the scores are just represented by a single cue, the disc manages somehow to give a decent overview of the composer's film music. Most of the "essentials" are present; most of the Hitchcock films, the four Harryhausen films, Mrs. Muir, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Taxi Driver ... There's even a few scores not available elsewhere, like a 10-minute suite from On Dangerous Ground and the Prelude from the 1958 film The Naked and the Dead. The latter one having its premiere release on this CD so it's going to draw some attention from Herrmann completists.

I only wish they could have included more from Citizen Kane (which is the title track) and perhaps a suite from Fahrenheit 451 while they're at it. But I wish this album were available when I first started looking for Herrmann recordings; as a 4 LP set.

Listen to audio excerpts (ra, 303K) from Citizen Kane, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Vertigo, Psycho and Taxi Driver.

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International Society for the Appreciation of the Music of Bernard Herrmann (1911-1975)