Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Music to be Murdered By

Tonight, to a less than full house, the RTE Concert Orchestra played a concert of film music focussed generally on the works of Bernard Herrmann. The composer of scores for films from 'Citizen Kane' to 'Taxi Driver' with a whole slew of Hitchcock classics in between, he was the Ennio Morricone of Golden Age Hollywood, and a personal favorite of mine.
Overall I was not disappointed. Strangely for a concert concentrating on Herrmann, I found their weakest playing was on some of his faster pieces ('North by Northwest' for instance) and the Concerto Macabre from 'Hangover Square' was a little underwhelming. But then I'm fussy when it comes to his music. I've been playing the same cd of his most famous pieces for nearly 15 years. And anyway they got some of it right. The saxophone on 'Taxi Driver', for instance, was spot on and for the suite from 'Psycho', they played a pizzicato piece I was not familiar with. And then they were very good on music by other composers, the highlight for me being a sumptuous account of Raksin's sentimental music for 'Laura' (the horn on that piece was quintessential 40's America). True, I could have done with more Herrmann (they ended with Rodney Bennett's 'Murder on the Orient Express'), but to hear this evocative music played in the concert hall was still a joy for nostalgic me.
Now I just have to dig up my old Hitchcock collection and have a marathon weekend.

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