Listen to the Bernard Herrmann music in The Red Shoes with our playlist
PUBLISHED: 12:06 22 February 2017 | UPDATED: 12:53 22 February 2017
Matthew Bourne picks of the celebrated film composer’s music featured in and that inspired his adaptation of the classic Powell and Pressburger ballet film in our special Spotify playlist.
Matthew Bourne’s production of The Red Shoes is set to a new score arranged by Terry Davies, using the mesmerising music of golden-age Hollywood composer Bernard Herrmann.
Born in New York in 1911, the son of a Jewish middle-class family of Russian origin, Herrmann composed a string of iconic film scores.
He is best known for his collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock, from The Trouble with Harry (1955) to Marnie (1964), a period that also included Vertigo, North by Northwest and Psycho.
He also had a long association with Orson Welles, from his radio performances, including Welles’ famous adaptation of H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, to his first film score for Citizen Kane and Welles’ second film, The Magnificent Ambersons.
His early film scores included All That Money Can Buy (1942), for which picked up his first ever Oscar giving the fantasy film an interesting takes on traditional folk tunes; and The Ghost and Mrs Muir (1947), reportedly Herrmann’s own favourite; you don’t even need to see the film to feel swept away by the overwhelming emotional swells.
Having quit Hollywood for concert works, he returned for The Day The Earth Stood Still, an other-worldly theremin-fuelled sci-fi score that set the musical tone for Cold War hysteria. Cape Fear (1962) saw him set the tone of pervasive creepiness in just four descending notes. He also scored Francois Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451 (1966) with a truly haunting score. His final score for Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver was typically memorable.
“I first became aware of the music of Bernard Herrmann, through his classic scores for many of Alfred Hitchcock’s finest thrillers (represented on this playlist by Psycho, North by Northwest and Hitchcock’s masterpiece, Vertigo),” said Matthew Bourne. “When I decided to bring Powell and Pressburger’s legendary “ballet” film, The Red Shoes, to the stage as a full-length dance drama I felt that Herrmann would be the perfect composer to capture the musical elements needed to tell that story.”
Matthew Bourne on Playlist Selected Cuts
• Concerto Macabre Second Movement (from Hangover Square) — This is the second movement of the classic piano concerto from the brilliant but little known thriller, Hangover Square. We imagine it represents the moody and creatively volatile character of Julian Kraster, the composer who Vicky Page falls in love with.
• Ragtime— From Herrmann’s Citizen Kane inspired Suite, we are utilising this piece as the score for a “Beach Ballet” performed by the Ballet Lermentov.
• The Ghost and Mrs Muir Main title/finale — Herrmann’s favourite score and certainly one of my favourites too. This beautiful, yearning, bittersweet score gives our story its emotional centre and we are using it extensively throughout The Red Shoes.
• The Ghost and Mrs Muir: Andante Cantabile — Another insinuating and gorgeous melody that we are using for the tortured mind of Ballet Impresario, Boris Lermentov.
• Antimacassar — One of the most beautiful discoveries was this mesmerising piece from a suite that Herrmann wrote, using themes from his first film, Citizen Kane.
• Vertigo: Prelude/Nightmare — The greatest Hitchcock movie and one of the best that Herrmann ever wrote. It’s hard to imagine this film without this score...a perfect collaboration.
• North by Northwest/Conversation Piece — Hitchcock’s great “chase” movie with one of Herrmann’s most exciting scores. All Herrmann’s “love” themes suggest a certain amount of unease and “trouble around the next corner”.
• Mysterious Island Prelude/The Balloon — One of Herrmann’s best “Adventure” scores and great to dance to too?
• Fahrenheit 451 — This magical score forms the basis of our score for the “ballet within the ballet”, The Red Shoes. It’s from a slightly later era than the other pieces that we are using in our score and creates its own unique sound world.
• Obsession: Valse Lente — One of Herrmann’s later film scores, a typically bittersweet Waltz.
• Taxi Driver: Night Piece — Herrmann’s last film and a revelation. Totally original and one of the most memorable aspects of Scorsese’s masterpiece.