This is a University degree essay I originally wrote in 2007. It is in no way definitive, but may be useful to those studying Herrman’s work.
Bernard Herrmann has been one of the most influential film composers through his originality and ability to create stunning scores that went against the film scoring trends of his time. A student of composer Percy Grainger, Herrmann studied at Julliard School of Music before heading to New York University where he found his voice as a contemporary composer. In 1933 he founded the New Chamber Orchestra, which played mostly unknown works by other contemporaries such as Charles Ives. It was his experience as a composer and conductor at this time that led him to become one of the world’s best-known film composers.
Last month I moved flat and had an endless amount of stuff to take with me. It could have been worse however, I got rid of a lot of stuff including the Television. Yes, I no longer own a TV.
Whilst stressing about moving and all the other big changes happening in my life a good friend put it to me that I should ‘just buy an iMac’ and get rid of a lot of the other stuff. So that’s basically what I did. I already own a monitor with an HDMI input to I can still play the Xbox, everything else is done through an iMac I’ve just bought. I reckon it was a move that’s paid off, I wouldn’t have had room for the bulky TV I used to own and I don’t actually miss it that much.
Is this the end of the TV and Hi-fi?
The whole point of me saying all of this is that I’m wondering how far I should go, and when I say that, I’m looking at all the CDs and DVDs in the corner of the room. Now, I’m not for one minute saying I’m going to get rid of them, but I look at the CD shelf and wonder, how many of these CDs have I used more than once; having burnt them into iTunes and listen to it there instead. Is it time to convert to purchasing solely on a digital basis? iTunes sells all manner of music and films and the prices are fairly reasonable. There’s just something quite appealing about having my entire music and film collection on a single external hard drive.
Inevitably there will be people dismissing the quality of a downloaded product and of course the physical CD or Blu-ray disc will probably always be better quality but it’s more a question of how much will you actually notice this? When I’m casually listening to music I can’t really hear a significant difference between a high bit-rate MP3 and an audio CD. As with watching films on a computer, whenever I’ve done this in the past I’ve always felt that the quality was never that great. Then I realised what the difference was… people generally don’t watch a DVD with their face 2 feet from the TV. Sit further back and you’ll notice nothing.
There’s also some great bargains to be had in the digital world. Aside from iTunes weekly 99p rental flick, many bands and artists are selling their product very cheaply in order to gain new fans. I was listening to Spotify and a band called Metric were selling their new album for 99p. It’s not entirely my thing, but I do quite like it and it’s exposed me to some new music.
I haven’t fully made my mind up as to whether I’ll switch to a completely digital entertainment lifestyle. I’ll probably buy a couple of films off of iTunes and I’ll let you know if the quality is up to scratch.