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Silver Screen's Spine-tingling Scores

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Picture the shower scene from Psycho.

The instant your eyes take in the iconic black-and-white movie image, your mind instinctively hears the chilling REET, REET, REET!

It's supposed to. That's exactly what Alfred Hitchcock and motion-picture composer Bernard Herrmann intended. Originally the famed filmmaker didn't want music during that grisly shower scene. But the moment he heard the shrieking violins, he came around. Hitchcock appreciated the powerful psychological effects music had in his films.

Next week (Jan. 15th and 16th), the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra will demonstrate its appreciation with a tribute to Hitchcock's haunting movie music.

Alfred Hitchcock valued well-placed musical structures, as those in Psycho. Though many music critics regard the composition for his film Vertigo as the greatest Hollywood score of all time. -
  • Alfred Hitchcock valued well-placed musical structures, as those in Psycho. Though many music critics regard the composition for his film Vertigo as the greatest Hollywood score of all time.

Guest conductor Richard Kaufman will lead the ISO musicians as they perform their finest adrenalin-racing renditions of Hitchcock’s other most well-regarded motion picture scores.

These include the exhilarating instrumentals from Dial M for Murder, North by Northwest and Vertigo.

Renowned composer of the silver screen, Bernard Herrmann created many of the pieces from popular suspense movies of the time. His work with the famous filmmaker will be discussed as part of the symphony's movie/music mash-up.

Cary Grant wasn't the only breathtaking feature of  North by Northwest -- a Hitchcock film with an exhilarating musical score. -
  • Cary Grant wasn't the only breathtaking feature of North by Northwest -- a Hitchcock film with an exhilarating musical score.

Over the years, Herrmann also composed scores for Taxi Driver, The Day the Earth Stood Still and the legendary Orson Welles’ film Citizen Kane.

During A Tribute to Hitchcock, a large movie screen will be suspended over the stage, projecting iconic images from the various featured flicks.

While directing the orchestra, Kaufman will take time between performances to share musical highlights and little-known facts about Hitchcock's strategic application of music as a plot device. In some of the filmmaker's works, the perfectly timed instrumentals served significant roles, almost as if characters themselves.

For more details and to order tickets, visit the ISO website.

To learn more about Hitchcock's clever use of eerie music in his films, have a listen to the interview below in which NPR's Weekend Edition host Scott Simon talks to Jack Sullivan, the author of Hitchcock's Music.

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