“No composer contributed more to film than Bernard Herrmann, who, in over fifty scores, enriched the work of such directors as Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, François Truffaut, and Martin Scorsese.” So stated Bernard Herrmann biographer Steve C. Smith. So when the opportunity arose for Spitfire Audio to collaborate with his estate, excitement throughout the cutting-edge company co-founded by working film composers was understandably palpable.
Putting the resultant BERNARD HERRMANN COMPOSER TOOLKIT into its rightful perspective, Spitfire Audio Director Paul Thomson touts, “This is an incredibly vivid, tense, and exciting collection of recordings. It covers all kinds of things, from more slightly standard orchestral instruments through to unusual combinations of orchestral instruments, some synths, and some more esoteric instruments in there as well. This is definitely not a vintage sound source, so we’re not looking at recreating the sound of movies of the Sixties. What we’re looking at is the inspiration of a giant of cinema. Bernard Herrmann’s career started with Citizen Kane and finished with Taxi Driver, and he did a colourful collection of Hitchcock movies in between. But not just that; he was also a very passionate advocate for new music, championing the careers of many composers who would never have been heard otherwise. We’ve taken his original scores from some of his key movies and we’ve looked at the way that he tended to combine instruments, and we’ve used that as the inspiration for how we’ve recorded this collection of sounds.”
Spitfire Audio’s enlightening promo video for B.HERRMANN COMPOSER TOOLKIT
So how, exactly, did the steadfast Spitfire Audio team set about recording what would become BERNARD HERRMANN COMPOSER TOOLKIT? Well, working exclusively with The Bernard Herrmann Estate to curate and assemble a unique set of studio orchestra ensembles informed directly by a legendary orchestration aesthetic, all duly decamped to Studio 1 within London’s legendary AIR Studios — complete with its unique AIR-custom Neve/Focusrite large-format mixing desk with 72 channels incorporating original ‘AIR Monserrat’ mic preamps and GML automation, alongside a 140m² fully-floated floor live room capable of accommodating up to 45 musicians — in the capable company of Abbey Road Studios Senior Engineer Simon Rhodes — who has a longstanding association with various composers, including the late James Horner whom he worked with for 18 years on over 40 projects including Avatar, the highest grossing film of all time — to capture players performing as Bernard Herrmann himself would have done had he still been working today… boisterous, lively, and upfront.
Paul Thomson’s ‘traditional’ B.HERRMANN COMPOSER TOOLKIT video walkthrough
Much fuss has been made about Bernard Herrmann, however. And deservedly so since he is one of the great modern composers, after all. His work for TV and film is nothing short of iconic, and truly synonymous with mid-20th Century cinema. Collaborating with Orson Welles on Citizen Kane (1941), Martin Scorsese on Taxi Driver (1976), and in longterm partnership with Alfred Hitchcock on scores such as Vertigo (1958), Psycho (1960), The Birds (1963), Marnie (1964), and beyond, the sheer magnitude of critical works is breathtaking. But not only did his work have a significant impact on popular culture at the time, more recently those works have been used to invigorate contemporary scores, such as Quentin Tarantino’s twist on the Twisted Nerve theme in 2003’s Kill Bill, 35 years after its inception — an eerie whistle which is now instantly identifiable worldwide.
Spitfire Audio ‘composer in residence’ Oliver Patrice Weder’s
B.HERRMANN COMPOSER TOOLKIT ‘In Action’ video
Outside of his innovative scoring for film for which he remains best known, Herrmann had boundless curiosity and a genuine love of new music, championing the names of several composers who became household names as a result of his hard work as a conductor. As Chief Conductor to the CBS Symphony Orchestra, and the many radio broadcasts he made with them, he helped bring a huge variety of often little-heard music to the masses.
In short, Bernard Herrmann was a truly individual voice, an innovative individual who stood firm against what he saw as the dilution of the art form to which he dedicated his life. Little wonder, then, that his powerful presence continues to be felt so strongly so long after his passing, respected by and resonating with today’s film composing community. It is in this spirit that Spitfire Audio brings BERNARD HERRMANN COMPOSER TOOLKIT to bear on today’s ever-expanding compositional climate as an orchestral innovation for all. As Paul Thomson tellingly concludes — for the right reasons, it’s all in there for the taking: “Tons and tons of really great material, recorded in a tight, dry acoustic that is a very, very fine room through a lot of amazing mics by Simon Rhodes. It really is a wonderful-sounding library — hope you’re going to enjoy using this and looking forward to seeing what you come up with.”
BERNARD HERRMANN COMPOSER TOOLKIT can be purchased and digitally downloaded (as 225.0 GB of uncompressed .WAV files, featuring 186,742 samples) for a time-limited introductory promo price of £339.00 GBP (inc. VAT)/$399.00 USD/€409.00 EUR (inc. VAT) until Thursday, July 6, 2017 — rising thereafter to an MSRP of £429.00 GBP (inc. VAT)/$499.00 USD/€509.00 EUR (inc. VAT) — from here: http://www.spitfireaudio.com/shop/a-z/bernard-herrmann-composer-toolkit/
Note that BERNARD HERRMANN COMPOSER TOOLKIT needs Native Instruments’ free KONTAKT PLAYER (5.5 and above) — included in the purchase — while Spitfire Audio’s free Download Manager application for Mac or PC allows anyone to buy now and download anytime.
For more in-depth informaton, including several superb-sounding audio demos, please visit the dedicated BERNARD HERRMANN COMPOSER TOOLKIT webpage here: http://www.spitfireaudio.com/shop/a-z/bernard-herrmann-composer-toolkit/
About Spitfire Audio (www.spitfireaudio.com)
Spitfire Audio produces the finest virtual instruments from the finest musical samples in the world. It was set up by a British group of composers, sound-smiths, producers, engineers, and technologists wanting to revolutionise sampling and bring it back to the centre of the music industry. Like any new music technology — from radio to synthesisers, sampling was (initially) perceived as a threat to music-making and music-makers. Spitfire Audio is at the vanguard of changing that perception; its main goal is to promote British music-making the world over while distributing royalties via an ever-growing distribution chain to its contributors — musicians, engineers, technicians, producers, and artists alike — based on sales. Spitfire Audio puts millions of pounds back into the British music industry while supporting charities and initiatives, both in the UK and beyond. (The fact that the company has become the second-biggest contributor to UNICEF via JustGiving.com by giving away samples in return for donations speaks louder than words.) By doing this, Spitfire Audio gets to work at the best places with the best people to make the best sounds on the planet today.