Vienna Symphonic Library Forum
Forum Statistics

185,035 users have contributed to 42,375 threads and 255,405 posts.

In the past 24 hours, we have 3 new thread(s), 8 new post(s) and 76 new user(s).

  • B. Herrmann's Psycho - Prelude

    last edited
    last edited

    Hi everybody,

    here I am, still getting acquainted with the Chamber Strings. I've made this before I try the sordino patches. For Gerard, Tom, William, Errikos and Philippe who warmly welcomed me to this forum.

    I hope you enjoy it.

    UPDATED: I uploaded a faster, cleaner performance as suggested by clamnectar and also a "vintage" version with William in mind (^_-). You can compare the three recordings here.


  • Servandus, congratulations on a great job with this!  It is simply excellent in every way.  I have zero criticisms!  Just a beautiful rendition with total realism!  I am severely impressed.   Herrmann is my favorite of all composers (besides Bruckner, Mahler, Vaughn Williams and Holst of course) and I salute you as an expert performer of the greatest film music ever written.  This should go on VSL demos.   

    I have to add it is simply wonderful and invigorating to hear again this great music done so well here...


  • Thanks for the offering Servandus. William is the official curator of Herrmann's estate in this forum at least, so I don't have to add anything to his kind words but my concordance. I just have to confess that to my ears those strings did sound con sord....

    P.S.: I regret you felt you had to amend your last post on that other thread [;)]


  • Quite nicely done. Having listened to real recordings of the psycho soundtrack countless times, I feel that your version is a bit too slow and a bit too buried in reverb. Still, very much in the general vicinity of good.


  • last edited
    last edited

    Thanks everybody for the compliments. It's very encouraging that you find time to listen and comment.

    William, glad that I hit you on your "dearest" one. [:)] Your enthusiasm is contagious, you know?... I think I enjoy my own mockup much more after reading your post [:)] It suddenly sounds better... no further EQ, no more mic-reverb-panning tests, "no nothing" else needed [;)] It's always sweet when somebody appreciates what you're doing, so thank you very, very much.

    Clamnectar, it's fun that you mentioned the tempo. I listened to the author's own recording and I thought the same [^o)], so I decided to "betray" the composer and speed my version a little up. Anyway, I think this music is so solid, and psycologically intense that it tolerates both this and this extremes. Trying a faster, cleaner version that may suit your like will be a good exercise for me. I'll post it later.

    Errikos, glad that you also hear a little of the sordino sound... but it's all EQ. I haven't tried the "sord." samples yet, but I wanted this to sound similar in case I need to mix the "senza sord." with the "sord." patches to add some punch on the accents.

    To answer your PS... I need to go a little personal. I don't feel very confortable doing it, but I think it's worth it because I frankly sympathize with you after reading this. In fact, I think I edited that post at least 4 or 5 times, Errikos [:S]... in less than half an hour!! I'm sure it's a record here [:)] It happened this way: first, my wife (who played the flute in my first tracks) was enjoying your comments and read my original post, looked at me ironically, and said "you always tell me that you feel like a worm at the feet of the masters... how can a worm really have a problem with chimps?". Then, I got a call: my father was in the hospital (heart problems, 3rd surgery in the last year; I spent the whole week at the hospital and he's recovering well and fast now, btw.) How I connected this two apparently unrelated events is hard to explain, but it was very significant for me... and made me change that post almost compulsively until I finally deleted all about the "zoo". I also didn't want to turn my first post into the "planet of the chimps", and end up doing a bad copy of Goldsmith's style for my students [:P]. It was not long ago that I was fighting the same war against what you call "chimps", both the academic-avant-garde ones and the chugga-chugga ones, Errikos, and I sometimes felt very frustrated. Then life visited me in the form of illness and death, two severe but highly efficient masters. In their presence, I found no time to write music... but I realized I had also no time for fighting. When they finished their teachings and left, I discovered I had time for music, but not for fighting. Life is short. Let's everybody do what they want to do; I guess every composer is trying to write the best music they can, or to use music to achieve academic renown, earn a lot of money... whatever, you name it. Everybody must fulfill their desires. Still, when I read something like the post you wrote, I feel I understand you extremely well. I understand your rage, for it's not a trivial fight. It's our capacity to appreciate and value the immense richness of the heritage that the great masters left us what's in play here. We are loosing it, very quickly, and it's sad. Now, I just want you to understand I will fight from now on with the weapons of my music, not my words. So, the last part of my post was finally deleted... and it's well so. Hope you understand.

    Again, many thanks to you all.


  • I'm sorry for your trials and tribulations, I know what it's like, I lost my father as a teenager, and a close family member every few years since. If you feel like you need to get personal in the future there is always the PM (Private Message) facility here, as well as regular e-mail (some of us Usual Suspects confer and conspire in that manner).

    I'm glad I brought some merriment to you and your family with my posts - the ones to which you refer are by far the milder... - and it is nice when wives can bring us back to reality when it is necessary (when they have good instincts as to when to do so). The word chimps I am using refers to the "mindless" imitational behaviour those sweet animals exhibit. As far as music is concerned, you are right in that this analogy applies both to recent film-music as it does to 'serious' music (and there's the tragedy). I have never heard music more glutted with clicheds and chimp-like imitation as the so-called avant-garde; a complete contradiction in terms for the last how many decades, and an Emperor's New Clothes kind of academic hypocricy and travesty.

    P.S.: I have said quite a few times that my "fight" is not against Hans per se, who I believe actually writes as best he can (sad, isn't it?...). I am however astounded with the number of directors/producers who contract him to score so many expensive films (doesn't matter how trivial), and disgusted as this has enabled millions of others - who never dreamed they could hope for a career in the film-music industry - to clone his asininities (some of these people are so incompetent they actually need software in order to do so!...) and punish the rest of us both artistically and professionally...


  • Another thing on the performance - I didn't agree with the criticism on the amount of reverb, and it struck me as just right.  It sounds like the right amount of space for the relatively small ensemble.   Another thing that struck me really well was how it is accurate, but not Midi Sheet Music Playback accurate.  I hear that all the time - even on this site - and it destroys the reality of a MIDI performance.  I probably tend to go too far in the direction of sloppiness, but always notice that if you listen to even the greatest orchestras, there is an enormous amount of LACK of perfection in timing, intonation, dynamic consistency, in fact all musical factors, on any individual "track" (or line in orchestral terms).  It is the overall mass of sound that comes together into a marvellously expressive blend.  I think I noticed this the most ever, when once trying to listen to individual lines of a Bernstein-conducted performance of some famous orchestral showpieces.  They were fantastically powerful performances, but the New York Philharmonic was just all over the place.  But they came together at exactly the right places.  That is a key in doing a MIDI performance.  And this one of Herrmann has it just right. 

    Also, on the tempos - I have all of Herrmann's recordings that he conducted. If you listen to the original soundtrack, you will hear it done very fast and "savagely"  (probably the word).  However, if you listen to Herrmann's own conducting on the old LP records he did with London FFFR Records (which were tremendous quality performances and recording quality) he slows it down, much slower than this.  He tended to slow down tempo in his purely musical conducting as opposed to the click track conducting he did for film. I think he was bringing out more nuances this way.  And as you note, the music is powerful enough to reveal more when performed either way.   An analogous effect of tempo is how Bernstein changed the way Shostakovich's 5th was conducted.  Prior to him, the finale was always performed very slowly, to make it more stately.  He conducted it like a maniac, with the tempo fast and furious to the point of frenzy.  And it was so good that it simultaneously shocked and changed the minds of even the Russian listeners who were used to the slower tempo. 


  • last edited
    last edited

    Errikos, I just discovered that if you click on anyone's name it let's you send a private message [8-|] Good to know. I understand "the fight" is not against any particular composer, but against the anti-creative inertia that pervades much of the music industry nowadays... not even the industry, I'd say, but the musical attitude of many musicians themselves. Anyway, I think we can only win the game on an individual level... and the best way for me is striving to write and perform good music.

    William, I absolutely agree with what you said about the "lack of perfection" in almost every great performance you could possibly come across. It's ironic, but as a pianist, I've always striven for precision and regularity in all the aspects you mentioned... as a "VSLer", I must now strive just for the opposite!! So it's life... A computer is damn exact!! But the good people of VSL developed a "humanize feature" which is heaven sent (should I say "Vienna sent?"). The right amount of sloppiness and imprecision you talk about would have been an inhuman task without this great tool. A little difficult to predict, but a marvelous time saver.

    Anyway, here you have two new different mixes, just for fun. The first is a cleaner, tighter one; the second is just a joke you may like. I think Clamnectar's perception was due not only to the room but also to the "con sordino" EQ I was testing. I am doing all kind of tests and have 1001 questions for Dietz regarding MIR mics, character presets, Vienna Suite EQ presets and every possible little thing you can imagine. The only thing preventing me to ask, is that I don't know where to begin... Anyway, I must confess I should read the manual first... (^_^)


  • When you listen to the opening of the Psycho Suite, it's worth bearing in mind that there was a union strike in Hollywood in 1960 when the original was recorded. So it was recorded in europe and conducted by Muir Mathieson. Had Herrmann conducted it, it would almost definitely been quite a bit slower.

    It's a great piece of film scoring and set new standards for that genre of film and film music scoring.


  •  Hey Paul wasn't that Vertigo that was farmed out to Muir Mathieson?  I hadn't heard that about Psycho. On the tempo though, as I noted,  if you listen to the film soundtrack, the tempo is very, very fast.  If you then listen to Herrmann's own recording of the suite from Psycho, on LP record, it is very slow.  Much slower than this. 

    Anyway, it's true this is a work that set a new standard.  Hitchcock himself was shocked by the music, and altered what he - The Master - did, simply to accomodate the genius of Herrmann.  The greatest fiasco of film music was when, several years later, there was a falling out of Herrmann and Hitchcock on Torn Curtain.   Hitchcock never forgave Herrmann, and wouldn't speak to him after that!  Herrmann was actually more forgiving (odd, considering how obnoxious a curmudgeon he was). 


  • last edited
    last edited

    @William said:

     Hey Paul wasn't that Vertigo that was farmed out to Muir Mathieson?  I hadn't heard that about Psycho. On the tempo though, as I noted,  if you listen to the film soundtrack, the tempo is very, very fast.  If you then listen to Herrmann's own recording of the suite from Psycho, on LP record, it is very slow.  Much slower than this. 

    Anyway, it's true this is a work that set a new standard.  Hitchcock himself was shocked by the music, and altered what he - The Master - did, simply to accomodate the genius of Herrmann.  The greatest fiasco of film music was when, several years later, there was a falling out of Herrmann and Hitchcock on Torn Curtain.   Hitchcock never forgave Herrmann, and wouldn't speak to him after that!  Herrmann was actually more forgiving (odd, considering how obnoxious a curmudgeon he was). 

    Yes of course it was Vertigo!!! What am I talking about. Psycho was recorded in that now defunct famous studio in Los Angeles and I think Vertigo was recorded in Vienna.

    I can't really stand Torn Curtain as you know. The only interesting thing about any of that debacle is the comparison between the used score and the unused Herrmann score. I don't think Herrmann really got to grips with where he was going after that for years. Taxi Driver just showed what kind of writer Herrmann could be. Naturally when you have a score turn up like Taxi Driver - you give the Oscar to The Omen. What else would you do? [*-)]

    Hitchcock had serious personal issues. (understatement of 2012). I must come up with some more just like that.


  •  Torn Curtain is a bad film overall, with Paul Newman in a very irritating performance.  The only good thing in it is the killing of Gromek.  (Also his name.)   But the score was amazing and brilliant with a unique orchestration. 

    Taxi Driver or The Omen?  Now take those two scores, and try and figure out which is better.  Herrmann or Goldsmith in full glory.   And then compare them to right now. 


  • PaulP Paul moved this topic from Orchestration & Composition on