Today is the birthday of Bernard Herrmann.
Composed the score of "Vertigo".
Listen to Scene d'amour and you will determine
Of this genre of music, he was the maestro.*
*The "Vertigo" score vastly enriches the images it accompanies, but it has also found a life outside the film. As an excellent complete recording on the Varèse Sarabande label testifies, it can be heard on its own terms -- if not quite as a coherent narrative, then as a mesmerizing succession of fragments. Herrmann is a puzzling paradox: most of his ''serious'' compositions don't quite come off, yet his film scores can be taken seriously as concert music. Esa-Pekka Salonen, the rigorously European-trained conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, proves as much with a new Herrmann anthology on the Sony Classical label.
Alas, the original 1958 recording suffered from less than ideal conditions. Herrmann could not conduct it himself because of a musicians' strike; most of it was recorded in London, the rest in Vienna. The playing sometimes sounds ragged and murky, at least on current copies.
The restoration may tell a different story: Mr. Harris and Mr. Katz have discovered a clear original tape, partly in true stereo, and revamped the whole soundtrack in digital sound. Royal treatment indeed for a mere movie score -- but there is none greater than ''Vertigo.'' (Alex Ross, movie critic of the New Yorker)