Top of the World: Celebrating Bernard Herrmann with 10 Wonderful Scores!

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Yesterday, the famous movie music composer Bernard Herrmann would have been 106 years old. He did not only share his brilliance in his collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock, but in all the movie scores he composed. It’s for that reason that he is a favourite among many cinephiles. He certainly was among those movie composers who perfectly knew how to musically illustrate the atmosphere of a film.

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I didn’t have time to “celebrate” him yesterday as I was working, but I thought I should honour him today with one of my traditional top lists! So, let me introduce you my 10 most favourite Bernard Herrmann scores! Of course, that was a most difficult exercise as he was a master of music. I had to change the order of my top many times.

Before continuing, remember that these are my personal favourite ones, so it’s purely subjective. You obviously can’t contest my personal tastes. 😉

Ok, here we go!

10. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

Ah! How can we forget this haunting music regrouping strings only?! The shower scene is not the most “melodious” Bernard Hermann moment, but probably the one people will remember the most.

9. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

As much as I’m not THAT much a fan of this film (despite the fact that it is considered the best movie of all times and blablabla), there are TWO things that I love enormously about it, one of them being the music (the other one being Joseph Cotten). I love how it is at the time very sinister or very joyful. Typical Herrmann!

 

8.The Man Who Knew Too Much (Alfred Hitchcock, 1956)

My favourite Hitchcock’s film! And certainly one of my favourite Bernard Herrmann scores! It’s so orchestral, I love it! You unfortunately won’t hear it in this clip, but, during the film, there are some notes that remind us a lot of Vertigo‘s score that Herrmann will compose two years later. Of course, we all remember Herrmann’s cameo in the film! 🙂

 

7. Marnie (Alfred Hitchcock, 1964)

Without being Hitchcock’s best film, one can’t deny that this is among Herrmann’s best scores! Actually, it might be the best thing about this film. I absolutely love it.

 

6. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)

When those notes start, you know you are in for something special! Somehow, I can always see Carlotta Valdes’s portrait when I hear this music or the famous dream sequence. A team work between Hitchcock and Hermann always creates prodigies! Another film that is considered “the best of all times” and, once again, Bernard Herrmann had the chance to be part of the team!

 

5. North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)

As far as I can remember, North by Northwest has always been one of my very favourite music scores. It succeeds to so perfectly capture the attention of the viewers. Once again, one can perfectly visualize the film in his/her head while listening to this GREAT score!

 

4. Jane Eyre (Robert Stevenson, 1944)

I must be honest, I didn’t become familiar with that score until… well today. The reason is that I’ve seen the movie only once and quite a long time ago, so let’s say the music was not necessarily fresh in my memory! But when I was re-listening to some of the Herrmann scores, I discovered how great it was! I just can’t believe I haven’t took the time to listen to it more carefully before. It’s just ace! Somehow, I can visualize the movie in my head when I listen to it. It truly makes me want to watch it again! 4m14 – 4m30: this moment is absolutely terrifying, but great!

 

3. The Day the Earth Stood Still (Robert Wise, 1951)

That is THE sound of science-fiction! My favourite sci-fi film and very probably my favourite music score for a sci-fi film. In this score, we can hear both acoustic and electronic instruments, including two Theremins, which create those typical sounds from outer space.

 

2. Obsession (Brian de Palma, 1976)

It goes without saying, I am obsessed with this film score (ouuuu!). It’s just spellbinding. I especially love the first minutes of it. I can always see the scene where Cliff Robertson throws the suitcase with the money on the street or that unforgettable final scene… For a movie that is very similar to Vertigo, Bernard Herrmann was of course the ultimate choice for the music!

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  1. Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)

Ah, the last and ultimate Bernard Herrman’s score! From Citizen Kane (his first movie music score) to Taxi Driver (his last), he proved to be an absolute musical master. Taxi Driver‘s music is so mesmerizing and fits perfectly the dark New-Yorkian atmosphere of the film. It sort of makes me want to take saxophone lessons!

Well, that’s it! I hope you enjoyed! Of course, don’t hesitate to share your personal favourites in the comment section!

Cheers to Herrmann!

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Top of the World: Remembering David Bowie with 15 Favourite Songs

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Already one year ago, on January 10, 2016, a musical legend, David Bowie passed away and left his fans in deep sorrow. He was an icon and a real source of inspiration. This sad event is one that we aren’t completely ready to accept and that seemed to have happened too suddenly. Unexpected deaths like this one are the most painful.

However, I’m strongly convinced that Bowie’s memory will never stop being celebrated. Today, in his honour, I’m back with a top 15 of my favourite Bowie’s songs (already another top? Yes!) Plus, two days ago it was his birthday so that makes it a double occasion. There are moments like this when I allow myself to put movies aside and focus on a different cultural subject. (Yes, David Bowie did play in some films, but that’s another story).

This list is very subjective as these are my personal favourites. I ask you to please respect my choices. If a song you like isn’t part of the top, it’s not because I don’t like it! It’s just not in my top 15.

I love Bowie, but I’m really not an expert. To tell you the sad truth, I discovered most of his songs after his death. (You know, stuff like that always happens). I think I knew 6 of them before. However, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a favourite before his death, and I was one of those who couldn’t believe it. I’m telling you all this because this top mostly contains Bowie’s famous songs, which are the one I know the most. I’m not too familiar with his more obscure songs.

Well, enjoy the top now!

15. Changes (1971)

Seriously, how can we forget this refrain?

14. Let’s Dance (1983)

A perfect song to dance indeed.

13. Under Pressure (1982)

Davie Bowie and Freddy Mercury = priceless

12. Dancing in the Streets ( David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s version: 1985)

This song was originally written by  William Stevenson, Ivy Jo Hunter et Marvin Gaye and contains several different versions. Bowie/Jaggers’s one deserves credits for its video clip only.

11. The Man Who Sold the World (1970)

A “mysterious” song, that’s why I like it.

10. Modern Love (1983)

I know it sounds strange said like that, but I’ve always loved the musicality of this song

9. Rebel Rebel (1974)

Just for that lyric: “Hot tramp, I love you so! “

8. Suffragette City (1972)

Another unforgettable David Bowie’s song

7. Ziggy Stardust (1972)

Because I like the creativity of this song and Bowie’s very sexy voice in it.

(Seriously, his legs are amazing. And this live version is my favourite one)

6. The Jean Genie (1973)

This song has “swag”.

5. Golden Years (1975)

This proves that David was able to perform different styles of music and did them all well.

4. Starman (1972)

The first Bowie’s song I discovered. Used to be my #1 once, but it still has a special place in my heart.

3. Heroes (1977)

A powerful song and Bowie’s voice: OH MY GOD. The emotion.

2. Space Oddity (1969)

Bowie’s most iconic song. Always makes me think of my favourite Quebecker movie, C.R.A.Z.Y (Jean-Marc VallĂ©e) in which the main character is a fan of Bowie and listens to this song in an iconic scene.

The song was originally released in 1969, but my favourite version is the 1972’s re-release, also the most well-known version.

C.R.Z.Y’s scene, in case you are curious.

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  1. China Girl (1977)

Strangely, I used not to like this song very much. But now I love it and… it’s my favourite one. Once again, David Bowie’s voice is amazing and full of emotion, and a song that mentions Marlon Brando’s name is always a winner for me. 😉

That was difficult and I’m still not a 100 % sure of my order of preference. There are some I just love equally.

Anyway, I hope you like these ones too! Please don’t hesitate to share with me what are YOUR favourite David Bowie’s songs.

I watched Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars yesterday and discovered a bunch of other amazing songs in it, but as I’ve heard most of them only once (except those in the top) and because this article was already edited I will leave it as it is now. But a big shout out to this film and its songs!

David Bowie: the man is gone, but the legend will live forever. RIP

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