Bernard Herrmann — the composer of such classics as Citizen Kane, Vertigo, Psycho and North by Northwest — is today more revered and influential than even during his lifetime. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and The Film Music Foundation deemed his legacy important enough to launch an oral-history project focusing on this key American composer. So far we have done nearly four hours of interviews with biographer Steven Smith, director Larry Cohen, editor Paul Hirsch, conductor Richard Kaufman, the composer’s daughter Dorothy Herrmann, and Foundation executive Les Zador. They are all available here, at the Foundation’s website. More interviews are expected to be done in December.
Next week, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is playing Leonard Bernstein’s only original film score, for 1954’s On the Waterfront, in a live-to-picture concert presentation conducted by Richard Kaufman. Because of my extensive research into the background of Bernstein’s involvement — first in the essay collection On the Waterfront, later for the Criterion Collection DVD/Blu package — the CSO asked me to participate in a Q&A on the score. Here’s that piece.