Entertainment Weekly - 10/12/01, p.29Ranked #13
in EW's "100 Best Movie Soundtracks" - "...Great subtlety...The harpy chorus of violin shrieks that accompany Marion crane's death changed the art of scoring..."
This reissue of PSYCHO contains the full audio program from the movie, much of which has been unreleased until now.
Original score composed by Bernard Herrmann.
Performed by The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by Joel McNeely.
Liner Note Author: Kevin Mulhall.
Recording information: City Halls, Glasgow, Scotland (09/05/1996).
Directors: Peter Yates ; Larry Cohen; Gary Goddard; Richard Donner; Anthony Hickox; Roland Emmerich; Brian Yuzna; Kathryn Bigelow; Clive Barker; John Carpenter ; Alfred Hitchcock.
Photographer: Matthew Peak.
Unknown Contributor Role: Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Bernard Herrmann was not only responsible for completely changing the face of film soundtracks, he also had his finger on the pulse of contemporary classical music. His innovative, brilliantly conceived soundtracks from the 1950s and '60s often employed structural rhythmic patterns, repetitions, and melodic theme and variation in evocative, minimal ways, and as such, have much in common with the music of Phillip Glass and Steve Reich. Like all his best work, PSYCHO stands as a unique, absorbing musical experience.
Before Herrmann, film music was often overpowering and melodramatic; it told the audience what to feel, rather than creating an atmospheric subtext to complement the images. The PSYCHO score, with a few exceptions (namely the piercing, avant violin attack of "The Murder," which cues the famed shower scene), is understated, using dynamic tension and subtle instrumental interplay to create incredible tension. The string section carries most of the weight, with violins and cellos surging and playing pizzicato; veering from lush orchestral calm ("The City") to unsettling abstract movements ("The Peephole"). In writing for Hitchcock's brilliant, deeply disturbing film of psychological horror, Herrmann created one of his finest scores: a masterpiece for a masterpiece.