It is prized not simply for its razor-sharp suspense technique but also for its air of mystery, its tragic dimension, its literary layering of memory and obsession. Scholars have compared it to Proust, ''Tristan und Isolde'' and the Orpheus myth; critics have voted it Hitchcock's masterpiece. Robert Harris and James Katz, the film restorers who previously revived ''Lawrence of Arabia'' and ''Spartacus,'' have completed the canonization by releasing ''Vertigo'' in a millimeter, digital-sound version, which opens today with a video to follow early next year. It would be heresy to suggest that the greatness of ''Vertigo'' is owed to anyone but Hitchcock, whose fingerprints cover every aspect of the production. But there is a second genius at work in ''Vertigo,'' and his voice will be heard more clearly in the restoration.
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Notes By David Cooper. Film Score Guides, 2. Westport, Conn. ISBN X. The history of film music studies has been marked by its slow acceptance within the scholarly community.
Though there have been rumblings of scholarly attention as far back as the s, it is in the last thirty years that a continuous thread of high quality work has emerged and matured from within the academy. Hence, Greenwood Press's series Film Score Guides in which an entire monograph is devoted to a single film score the second issue is under review here heralds a notable step in the development of the field.
Approaching this body of music with scholarly apparatus and analytical rigor will doubtless go far in moving film music studies further within the mainstream of musicology. In lieu of a series introduction or explanation I could not find any statement of aims in either the books or on the publisher's Web site , speculation arises as to why Greenwood has selected the designation "handbook" for the Film Score Guides.
Devoting an entire book to one film score suggests an investigative depth rarely found for this kind of music. In this context, the word "handbook" evokes a welcoming format akin to the familiar Cambridge Music Handbooks from Cambridge University Press , allaying fears that the writing would be inaccessible to professionals and laypersons alike.
The Cambridge series usually deals with very well-known works and can draw upon a large body of literature combined with original thinking on the part of the authors. In the case of this Greenwood series, the lack of a prodigious body of literature let alone scholarly writings obliges the authors to lean heavily on originality in offering analyses and meaningful discussions.
But there is a particular difference that marks the Film Score Guides series. Complete scores to the films discussed are generally unavailable, unless one is either willing to travel to the libraries where they are located, or go through the arduous procedure of obtaining permissions and reproductions.
Scholars can hope for a favorable response from copyright holders when asking for permission to reproduce scores for personal study, but this is by no means a guaranteed right. Imagine the difficulties faced by those who are unaffiliated with academic institutions.
Though there are numerous music examples in the book mostly in piano reduction or short score , even for those who have memorized the sound of the music from recordings or repeated screenings of the films, having the full score at hand is a prerequisite for serious study. It does seem odd that Cooper mentions having seen only a microfilm copy of Vertigo 's score, and never mentions the manuscript's actual location, among the Bernard Herrmann papers in the Arts Library of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Thus, readers of this Greenwood series are faced with the peculiar paradox of having thorough discussions of works whose scores are unavailable. In spite of the user-friendly handbook designation, those who will want to truly benefit from film score study will have to obtain scores, a preparatory task which may discourage many. I urge Greenwood and the series advisor Kate Daubney author of the first handbook in the series, a discussion of Max Steiner's score for Now Voyager to do all they can to ease the reader's burden and include extensive if not complete reproductions of full scores under discussion.
Cooper sets the stage for his discussion by providing an overview of Herrmann's career up to , the year of Vertigo 's release. Unlike Smith, who eschewed discussion of music, Cooper writes briefly about the musical Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves.
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Bernard Herrmann’s score of longing and loss in ‘Vertigo’
The recordings were made in London and Vienna , with orchestra conducted by Muir Mathieson. A musicians' strike had prevented the score from being recorded in Los Angeles with Herrmann conducting. What follows is a list of the music cues that appear in the film and where or if they can be found on the various releases of the original soundtrack recordings and significant re-recordings of the score. Bernard Herrmann's score for Vertigo consists of 42 cues, which comprise about 74 minutes of music heard in the film.
The Music That Casts The Spells Of 'Vertigo'
Scottie becomes increasingly enamored of Madeleine, as observation turns to obsession. They fall in love, only to have his fear of heights allow her to die tragically. However, in trying to re-create the past and remake her in the image of the dead Madeleine, he becomes obsessive again. It is an exquisitely detailed soundstage duplication of the then-venerable San Francisco eatery. The Palace of the Legion of Honor, where Madeleine sits fascinated by a portrait of the mysterious Carlotta, her dead relative. Herrmann may have something to say here!