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22 May 2001
Bernard Herrmann's Radio Music for the Columbia Workshop

Bob Kosovsky's Ph.D. dissertation at the City University of New York, Bernard Herrmann's Radio Music for the Columbia Workshop, is now available for purchase at http://wwwlib.umi.com/dissertations/search [search for Pub Number (PN): AAT 9986347]. The 300-page dissertation can be ordered as a PDF-file download or as bound softcover or hardcover copies. 24-page preview available online.

Author's abstract:
The radio music of Bernard Herrmann (1911-1975) is an area of his output that has escaped serious scrutiny and study. This dissertation examines the composer's development as discerned through his compositions intended to accompany radio dramas, bringing attention not only to his craft but also to the very neglected field of radio music. The Columbia Workshop (beginning in 1936) was the first regular series for which he consistently composed new music. As its music director, Herrmann was able to formulate, develop, and refine his compositional responses to narrative situations. His music for the Columbia Workshop therefore forms a logical unit for study. A brief survey of the state of music on radio reveals that composers made adjustments in orchestration and musical style due to the needs of broadcasting. These alterations lead to the creation of an idiomatic use of music on the radio. The origins and significance of the Columbia Workshop are discussed, focusing on the experimental and adventurous nature of the program. Begun by producer/director Irving Reis (who had begun work as an engineer), the Workshop sought to explore and find innovative ways of using the radio and putting these innovations to work for dramatic narrative. Herrmann's familiarity with theatre and his compositions for ballet sequences in Broadway plays prepared him for composing music for the radio. His first works for the medium, a genre he called “Melodrams,” consisted of poetry recitations to musical scores. This provided a foundation for his introduction to the Columbia Workshop, which began with dramatizations of poetry. His initial efforts for the Workshop revealed certain issues that would remain significant throughout his career on radio as well as in his later work for film and television. These issues involved borrowing and reuse of previously composed music, the influence of narrative sound effects on music, the problem of underscoring dialogue, the creation of a musical continuum parallel to the dramatic narrative, and the creation of structural organization. Various excerpts of incidental music from plays composed during the period 1937-39 are discussed, concluding with an examination of Herrmann's collaborations with author Norman Corwin, in particular the latter's play Untitled. The history of Herrmann's development as a composer is but one part of a larger history of radio music that has yet to be written. This dissertation may serve as the foundation for such a history.

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1 February 2001
2001 CDs
Source: Elmer Bernstein, John Steven Lasher, John Morgan, FSM, Varese Sarabande, and dashrr

Just a quick line-up of what to expect in 2001.

- Fifth Continent have already started the ball with Battle of Neretva and Sisters released last month. Later this year we'll also get Night Digger and The Kentuckian.
- Film Score Monthly have now opened for pre-ordering of the long awaited original tracks from Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (1953).
- Coming in March is McNeely's rendition of The Three Worlds of Gulliver (Varese Sarabande).
- By the end of the year Macro Polo will release Stromberg and Morgan's new recording of The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Five Fingers.
-The last one on my list is Elmer Bernstein's 1975 recording of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (Amber).

Not a totally bad year :) - See the Recordings page for more details.

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5 January 2001
2001 DVDs

New DVD releases coming up. First out is The Bride Wore Black (Truffaut, 1968) on January 23. On February 13 Anchor Bay is releasing Endless Night (Gilliat, 1971). On March 6 Universal continues their Hitchcock series with The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) and The Trouble of Harry (1955) (Torn Curtain is also in that batch but that's not Herrmann, or is it? [no it's not!]). All of these DVD's are region 1 USA/Canada. See the Video/DVD page for more details.

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24 December 2000
Bernard Herrmann 1911-1975

The 25th anniversary of Herrmann's death on December 24, 1975. The entire two-and-a-half hour radio documentary Bernard Herrmann: A Celebration of His Life and Music is made available on this site between December 22 and January 15.

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8 September 2000
25 years with Lasher

John Steven Lasher, director of Fifth Continent, celebrated his 25th anniversary in the music profession on 8th September.

Read more: Press Release

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31 August 2000
Lucille Fletcher dies at age 88

Herrmann's first wife, Lucille Fletcher, dies on August 31, 2000, at St. Mary's Hospital, Lanhorne, USA.

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29 June 2000
The Bernard Herrmann Society

The Bernard Herrmann Web Pages (started in 1994) is discontinued and the Bernard Herrmann Society is born.

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Copyright © 2001 by The Bernard Herrmann Society.
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