How Bernard Herrmann introduced avant-garde music to the masses.
Film is the 20th century's own art form and many of the most emotive musical moments in cinema history came from the pen of Bernard Herrmann. According to Howard Goodall, Herrmann put film music on the map, and his compositions will be remembered by generations of filmgoers, long after other composers have been forgotten. Born in 1911, his life spanned the period when film was breaking new ground and gaining huge audiences.
Though Herrmann is not as well-known as other avant-garde composers like John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen, his electrifyingly mood-changing music is recognised by millions of filmgoers. Who can forget the terrifying orchestral shrieks that accompany the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho? Or the eerie sounds that form the backdrop to the arrival of an alien in The Day the Earth Stood Still?