Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2014 April 07 • Monday

Bernard Herrmann's all-strings score for Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho is one of the most famous of all time (as well as being the inspiration for the string-treatment for The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby").

The movie is also something of a landmark. As daunting as the prospect of making a sequel to it must have been, the movie was probably an easier act to follow than its music.

But these things happen. Fortunately, the makers of Psycho II got one of the greatest soundtrack composers of all time to take on the challenge. Jerry Goldsmith's score for Psycho II is the 313th Soundtrack of the Week.

After a reprisal of Herrmann's well known murder music from the original film, Goldsmith takes the score in a different direction. A melancholy piano-based theme for Norman Bates, a victim himself, winds its way through the score. There's a lot of writing for strings but also tasteful use of synthesizers and Shelly Manne as one of the percussionists.

The moods alternate between creepy suspense and sad, wistful cues. There are echoes of some of Goldsmith's other work, such as The List of Adrian Messenger, and a few Morricone-like passages. It's an excellent listening experience and it made me want to see the movie.