Bernard Herrmann’s Romantic Score to ‘Marnie’ (Vinyl Review)

Bernard Herrmann sits as one of the titans of cinematic composers and quite rightly so. His scores for Taxi Driver, Citizen Kane and particularly his work with Alfred Hitchcock (Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho) remain as some of the greatest ever created.

After working with Hitchcock on the The Birds, a piece which seemingly without music but Herrmann was integral to the sound design of the film, they re-teamed one final time on Marnie. Hitchcock re-teamed with leading lady Tippi Hedren and a newly famous, post-James Bond, Sean Connery to create a romantic, psychological drama about the tormented titular character.

Creating a stately, erotic, psycho-drama it seemed the culmination of many of themes Hitchcock had dipped his toe into over the years. There’s much to admire in the film but ultimately it remains a fairly flat telling of a story with boundless potential and was seemingly the start of the great ones latter day decline.

Held as one of Herrmann’s great under-appreciated scores, the sound is far more romantic than his other collaborations with Hitchcock. Lush strings abound bringing forward the love element of the story as opposed to the underlining damage of Marnie. It’s a Herrmann score so there’s always something to enjoy, however in this instance the main theme is over used to the point you feel you’re listening to the same music cue over and over.

Herrmann’s widow Norma Shepherd remembers “Marnie held a special place for Benny. He always said to me that out of all of his recordings that one came closest to realising his original ideas. It was his favourite.” Whilst perhaps not to the level of greatness as some of his other works it remains as a curio in his cannon.

Working closely with the families of Herrmann and Hitchcock Stylotone are releasing a Super-Deluxe soundtrack package. The soundtrack (painstakingly restored from the original music masters) has been Assembled, Mastered and Cut at London’s world-famous Abbey Road Studios by Grammy®award-winning engineer Sean Magee.

Over 58 minutes of music – in three formats (Vinyl, CD & Download – including both Hi- Resolution & MP3) – available in a Super-Deluxe package produced to the absolute highest possible standard as if it had been released at the same time as the film, having sourced manufacturers who are able to produce all the parts on exactly the same machines as used in the 1960s.

The Marnie Super-Deluxe soundtrack package is released in a translucent scarlet coloured vinyl edition featuring spot varnished 320gsm tip-on gatefold sleeve and contains:

  • 2 x 180g ‘Scarlet’ Coloured Heavyweight 12” Vinyl LP’s, cut at 45rpm.
  • An Expanded ‘Vinyl’ Replica CD housed in a Scale-Copy of the Gatefold Sleeve – containing the Complete Score plus unused / alternate cues.
  • An Exclusive 45rpm 2-Track 7” Black Vinyl Single featuring Nat King Cole’s rendition of the song ‘Marnie’ co-written by Bernard Herrmann c/w The Main Theme.
  • A Download Card offering exclusive access to High-Resolution 24-bit WAV and 320kbps CBR MP3 Digital Downloads of the LP, CD and unused / alternate cues.
  • A 30” x 40” (762mm x 1016mm) newly commissioned British Quad Film Poster. The poster has been specially printed using original 1960s production processes – matching not only the poster weight of the time but also the correct machine folds (since film posters would be machine folded and inserted into large brown envelopes before arriving in the post at cinemas – this was before digital media, kids!).
  • To round off the Super-Deluxe package Bernard Herrmann’s biographer, Steven C. Smith, offers a unique and compelling insight into this soundtrack with his own sleeve notes.
  • Assembled, Mastered & Cut by Sean Magee at Abbey Road Studios, London

It’s a beautiful package that would be a fine edition to any vinyl collectors shelves.

The Deluxe Vinyl is available from 24th May.

 

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