'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

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Miles Davis, Stravinsky, Herrmann and The Beatles - A Musical Connection?

One of the nice parts of Robin being home for a few weeks is that we get to spend time together listening to music.
Generally the whole family is involved in this practice and occasionally some strange conversations ensue.

It's so important for everyone to listen to a variety of styles, but more so for musicians.
For centuries musicians from all genres have listened to and learnt from their predecessors. Inevitably they are influenced by the music they hear and especially those pieces which have a powerful effect on them.

The whole conversation started as we listened to the Psycho Suite by Bernard Herrmann.
The original handwritten score for this seminal piece of film music was recently offered for auction but, suprisingly, didn't reach it's minimum price.

Herrmann always will be associated with the many fabulous scores he wrote to complement some of Alfred Hitchcock's most successful films.
One of the most famous being 'Psycho'.
Most people recognise the famous dissonant violin glissandi which are inextricably linked to the famous shower scene, but in fact the entire score is an outstanding piece of music.

This brought the conversation round to George Martin and The Beatles.
Apparently, after seeing Psycho, George Martin was inspired to write the string quartet arrangement for Eleanor Rigby.
When you listen to the original Beatles track rcorded in 1966 you can certainly hear the 'Psycho' influence.

But our musical connections route continued.
Robin felt there was another connection to Igor Stravinsky's 'The Rite of Spring'.
As we listened we both could hear echoes of Herrmann's Psycho Suite.
Could it be that Bernard Herrmann had been inspired by The Rite of Spring?

Then an even more unusual twist.
Robin realised there was a possible connection between the second lyrical theme from the Psycho score and Miles Davis' second contrasting lyrical theme from 'Milestones'....could it be that Herrmann was, wittingly or unwittingly, also influenced by Milestones?

We could certainly hear similarities between this and the second theme of Psycho which provides a perfect release of the tension created by the initial rhythmic and nervous twitching of the strings.
'Milestones' predates Psycho and could well have been part of Herrman's musical landscape.
No music is composed in a vacuum and influences can be very diverse and, sometimes, completely unexpected.

No comments: