Thursday, April 03, 2014

Herrmann/Sondheim



GROSS: Now, you've also mentioned that there was a Bernard Herrmann influence.

SONDHEIM: Yeah, that's it. You know, when you talked about Milton Babbitt's influence, much less Milton Babbitt's influence than Bernard Herrmann. When I was 15 years old, I saw a movie called Hangover Square, which featured a piano concerto that Bernard Herrmann had written, and it's a melodrama about a serial killer who writes this piano concerto. And it particularly impressed me. But all of Bernard Herrmann's music impressed me. And so actually the score of Sweeney Todd is an homage to him.



It's - I remember I played the score for the actor Tony Perkins, who knows movie scores the way I know movie scores or knew movie scores the way I did, and I was, I wasn't 24 bars into the opening number, when he said, oh, Bernard Herrmann. So it was very clear that what I was doing was channeling Herrmann.

And for the listeners who don't know, Bernard Herrmann did a great many of Alfred Hitchcock's movies, including, of course, Psycho.




— Stephen Sondheim talks to Terry Gross, in a 2010 interview on NPR’s Fresh Air.

8 comments:

Michael Dempsey said...

One of Bernard Hermann's loveliest scores is part of "On Dangerous Ground." If memory serves, he once declared it his favorite film score.

yojimboen said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SHUV0RCLmk

Which in turn begat North by Northwest...

Laurence Mintz said...

On Dangerous Ground was indeed Herrmann's favorite from among his scores.

I wonder if Sondheim ever had a look at the score of Herrmann's musical "The King of the Schnorrers."

gmoke said...

I wonder if Herrmann's musical included a nod to "Hurray for Captain Spaulding" and Groucho Marx.

Laurence Mintz said...

Not likely. It's about the rivalry between Sephardic Jews sand German Jews in eighteenth-century London. He should have called it East Side Story.

yojimboen said...

Sadly, your last banner feature has left us: Mickey Rooney has died at 93.

Ring the bell, close the book, quench the candle...

There's no one left, to hold the show right here...

yojimboen said...

RIP Mick, thanks

And goodnight, sweet prince...

DavidEhrenstein said...

There's a moment in "Hangover Square" where you can see the score that Laird Creagar is supposedly conducting. Sondheim went back to see the film over and over in order to copy that piece of sheet music.

Today one can freeze the frame and no problem.

I think Sondheim also got a lot out of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir -- a lovely film and my favorite Bernard Herrmann score.