A Heart at Fire’s Center

Steven Smith deserves the highest praise for having written such an absorbing biography of Bernard Herrmann – the screen’s foremost musical dramatist. The work which has gone into this book is formidable. Meticulously researched (Smith has had access to Herrmann’s letters and papers, whilst every quote is given acknowledgment as to its source) it presents…

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American Film Music

A number of highly recommendable books on the subject of film music have appeared recently, including Christopher Palmer’s ‘The Composer in Hollywood’, Steven Smith’s Bernard Herrmann bio, ‘A Heart at Fire’s Center’ and his treasure-trove Film Composers Guide, and the forthcoming revised edition of Tony Thomas’s archetypal ‘Music for the Movies’. Among them is this…

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Did They Mention the Music?

Film music autobiographies are few are far between. Tiomkin’s ‘Please Don’t Hate Me’ and Rozsa’s ‘Double Life’ are the only two that come to mind, both excellent, multi-faceted portraits of their authors and their experiences in the film music arena. Henry Mancini’s ‘Did They Mention the Music?’ – written in collaboration with lyricist and music…

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Film Music and Everything Else

For many years, film composer Charles Bernstein (no relation to Elmer) has been writing a column about the film scoring process for THE SCORE, the quarterly newsletter of the Society of Composers and Lyricists.  30 of those columns have been collected into this slim but compelling volume.  Bernstein’s expertise and history give him and edge,…

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Hollywood Holyland

Alfred Newman’s score for The Greatest Story Ever Told is regarded by many film music commentators as his finest achievement. Unfortunately, due to the interference and dictates of producer/director George Stevens and his production associates, the music ended up as a pale shadow of Newman’s original conception. As choral director, Ken Darby assisted Alfred Newman…

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John Barry: A Sixties Theme

It’s been like waiting for a bus: You wait for oh-so long and then two come along at once. At the time of writing, Geoff Leonard’s book JOHN BARRY – A LIFE IN MUSIC is not yet out. Consequently, comparison between Leonard’s book and researcher-journalist Eddi Fiegel’s tome, JOHN BARRY – A SIXTIES THEME, is…

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Knowing The Score

In a pleasing change to the traditional collection of interviews by composer, film journalist David Morgan has collected interviews with 16 film composers and one record producer (Robert Townson of Varese Sarabande) and presented them in a topical format. By addressing the topic this way, Morgan paints an intriguing picture of the art and business…

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