'As always, it was sheer pleasure to observe Robin Hill's remarkable fluent technique: everything looks easy when he plays it.' Colin Cooper- Classical Guitar Magazine ----- 'Wonderful for their (Hill & Wiltschinsky) precision, touch and clarity of sound... refined virtuosity, the achievement of a long interpretive process.' Il Giornale D'Italia (Rome) ----- 'I loved your CD and thought your technique and performance were fabulous...' Rick Wakeman

Saturday, July 14, 2007

From Proms to Psycho

What a delight.
To turn on the television and find the 'First Night of the Proms' in full swing. The joy of watching musicians perform, to a packed house, could only have been bettered if I had been in the audience myself.
Unfortunately Robin was out all evening and therefore missed the lot. He did 'phone home at one point and was very envious that I was currently enjoying Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

It was pretty late when Robin got home but he was very excited about a purchase he had made earlier in the day.
A box set of 12 Alfred Hitchcock films.
So despite the hour we chose to start with Hitchcock's masterpiece, 'Psycho'.
This has long been a favourite of ours and it amazes me that every time I watch it I see something new.
Each shot carefully thought out and planned, with the famous 'shower scene' taking seven days to shoot, using seventy camera setups, and the final take only lasting 45 seconds.

What makes the whole 'Hitchcock' experience even better is of course the music.
The inspirational score was composed by Bernard Herrmann.
Herrmann was born in New York in 1911 and studied at New York University and the Juilliard School.
As well as a composer, Herrmann was a conductor, and at the age of 20 formed the New Chamber Orchestra.
Herrmann was particularly interested in new and rarely performed works, and gave the American premiere of many English works including Walton's First Symphony.
As a composer for the cinema Herrmannn proved himself a master at providing a psychological edge and dramatic tension through his music.

This is what we were admiring late last night.
The film 'Psycho' is an all time classic and the score cranks up the tension with every scene.
One feels that Stravinsky must have been an inspiration, especially with the frenetic, motor rhythms, which instantly identify the film.
This is then contrasted with a release of tension as the soaring, lyrical second theme takes over.
Pure genius.

George Martin has remarked that Bernard Herrmann's score inspired him to write the string quartet arrangement for The Beatles, 'Eleanor Rigby', a perfect artistic symbiosis.

If you are not familiar with the film 'Psycho' then I strongly recommend watching it. You must be over 15, and be warned, you may well prefer to take a bath in the future...

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