BPREVIEW: Psycho Live @ Symphony Hall, Weds 9th Apr

JLeigh - smTomorrow evening (April 9th) Birmingham’s Symphony Hall hosts a special screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal thriller, as Psycho Live opens in the city.

Accompanying the film will be the British Sinfonietta playing Bernard Herrmann’s original score – conducted by Anthony Gabriele.Main with web colour bcg - lr

Psycho is lauded in the world of cinematic terror, with the eerie to clandestine, brooding to brutal, soundtrack cited as the turning point in the film’s success.

Even the great director, a man not known for sharing his accolades, declared “33% of the effect of Psycho was due to the music”. Psycho’s screenplay writer, Joseph Stefano, added when I heard it (the score), I nearly fell out of my chair. Hitchcock said the music raised Psycho’s impact 33 percent. It raised it for me by another thirty.”

AHitchcockPerhaps one of Hitchcock’s most referenced endevours, Psycho was originally filmed with a limited score – the pivotal ‘shower scene’ under direct instruction to remain silent. But due to increasing frustration with the delivery of the narrative, Bernard Herrmann secretly composed the screeching knife attack music and presented it to Hitchcock.

The director, who was considering dropping the project, acquiesced, allowing Herrmann to further compliment the narrative with a range of bold and subtle compositions.Film poster

The result was the Psycho the world of cinema celebrates today, and a lasting imprint for the potential of music in film – one so powerful that it arguably ended the Hitchcock/Herrmann collaborations.

For a reminder of Hermann’s score, click here or on the link below:

Psycho - opening credits - sm

Principle conductor for the British Sinfonietta, Anthony Gabriele will tour Psycho Live for two further dates across the UK – the April 9th performance, at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham, being the debut performance.

Currently Musical Director for the international tour of the musical Cats for David Ian Productions, Gabriele has previously held the same role for The Phantom of the Opera, as produced by Cameron Mackintosh Ltd.

AGabrieleAnthony Gabriele has conducted the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Guernsey Camerata Orchestra and British Philharmonic Orchestra, amongst a variety of other prominent international ensembles. He has also held the position of Musical Director for The Really Useful Company, working on their productions of Grease – The Musical and Cats.

Psycho Live comes to Birmingham’s Symphony Hall tomorrow (Weds Apr 9th) for one night only – performed by the British Sinfonietta, conducted by Anthony Gabrielle.

For event info and tickets, visit www.thsh.co.uk

For further listings from the Town & Symphony Halls, visit http://www.thsh.co.uk/event/psycho-live 

For more about the British Sinfonietta, visit http://www.britishsinfonietta.com

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Ed’s note…

A genuinely exciting idea.

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The marriage of music and image is what makes Psycho so powerful (that and the fact it was relatively based on a real person, Ed Gein); from the punchy strings of the credits, across the wistfully eerie opening cityscape, to the background violin screech of Bates’ schizophrenic end soliloquy… Tension. And steel against skin.

But Marion Crane wasn’t the only victim of Herrmann’s amendments to the ‘shower scene’, and the partnership that arguably began to die once that seminal moment was born, should be honoured. What better place for such an epitaph than the Symphony Hall? Again, a genuinely exciting idea.  Symphony Hall - sm

For me this is also a challenging idea. I’m an increasing fan of many modern composers who often find themselves commissioned for film scores, only leaving me to side step their on screen portfolio in choice of the music they wrote when not tied to another’s creative agenda.

So I’m intrigued, not only to see what the effect of having this performed live is like, but also to explore the machinations that go behind such a production.

NBates - end scene - smJonathan Glen, Birmingham Review’s Film & Classical correspondent, has interviewed Anthony Gabriele and will be writing a feature about the partnership of sound and image. As both editor and enthusiast I look forward to reading his report.

But in the meantime, if you’re going to see/hear Psycho Live, I wish you luck on the way home.

And if anyone ever does the same for either Poltergeist or Jaws… Not. A. Chance.

Ed King is editor of Birmingham Review. Follow him @edking2210

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