Thursday, April 03, 2014
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.