Bernard Herrmann


Psycho continues to climb up the Classic FM Movie Music Hall of Fame: from 97th in 2012, to 84th last year and 80 this year. The film is perhaps the most effective collaboration between Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Hitchcock.

In 1960 Bernard Herrmann created possibly the greatest piece of horror movie music ever. The sound of the screeching violins attacking a single note over and over again to accompany Psycho's infamous shower scene was an incredibly important feature of one of cinema's most memorable scenes. But this striking minimalist approach was almost out of necessity, with Hitchcock being forced to make the film on a lower budget than his previous films after the studio Paramount initially refused to produce it. Herrmann used the lower budget to his advantage, writing for a string orchestra and ignoring Hitchcock's original request for a jazz score. Hitchcock certainly recognised the power of Hermann's music: his name appeared in the opening credits just after Hitchcock's, a distinction unprecedented in the annals of cinematic music.

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