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Digitally Re-Mastered Soundtracks For ‘The Third Man’ & ‘Vertigo’ On The Way

Digitally Re-Mastered Soundtracks For ‘The Third Man’ & ‘Vertigo’ On The Way

In the beginning, when this site was still on Blogspot, The Playlist focused on the intersection of music and film, and while our coverage has expanded it’s still a subject near and dear to our hearts. To that end, here’s some news that will be exciting to fans of two classic films.

Last week, Milan Records announced the future releases of digitally remastered editions of Anton Karas’ score for the Carol Reed-helmed and Orson Welles-starring noir The Third Man” and Bernard Herrmann’s score for the classic Alfred Hitchcock film — and the greatest film of all time per Sight & Sound — “Vertigo.”

Both releases feature great cover art and look to be a great addition to any film score collection. Serious collectors may want to keep a closer eye on Karas’ score as it may soon be as scarce as the now-out-of-print Criterion edition of “The Third Man.” But for any soundtrack buffs, these are two pretty essential releases to have on hand, and there’s no better time to snatch them up.

You can catch the score for “The Third Man” on February 25th and get “Vertigo” on March 11th. Check out the artwork below. [Bloody Disgusting]

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Andre Seewood

The big news here is that there will finally be a digitally remastered version of Bernard Herrmann's incredible masterwork score for Hitchcock's VERTIGO. Unfortunately, the article does not tell us a very important detail: Will this be the actual score from the film that was conducted by Muir Mathieson or will it be lifted from the original film? In any case, the digital remastering of any of Herrmann's scores is always a delight, for no other film music composer has a way with orchestration, rhythm and dramatic themes than Herrmann himself. One listen to the entire score of VERTIGO (without the images) and you can literally "hear" the story unfolding between the strings, woodwinds and timpani. The way Herrmann juxtaposes high and low horns with swirling strings and thunderous timpani strikes unleashes a primal fear that can raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Only to halt this terror with a lush romantic theme (borrowed from Tristan and Isolde) juxtaposed with a Spanish "tempo di habanera" is as exciting as it is curious. The VERTIGO score is Herrmann at his most inventive; alternately romantic, tragic and terrifying. There was relatively recently a full recording of the VERTIGO score by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by Joel McNeely that is a incredibly well done complete rendering of the score. If this upcoming Digital remastered version of the VERTIGO score is from the original 1958 Muir Mathieson version, then we are not being treated to the full score, but instead to a very well crafted version that was truncated to avoid repetition. But it is just such repetitions in any of Herrmann's scores that make them so interesting to listen to. For example in the complete score for PSYCHO (conducted by Herrmann himself) we are given almost seven "cues" of the original Psycho title theme and each cue is different in tempo, effects and arrangement. Each repetition captivates you in its complexity and dynamism. Although the 1958 Muir Mathieson recording of the VERTIGO score is a marvelous work, it is incomplete; it does not contain every cue from the actual film soundtrack. Nonetheless, it is better to have something than nothing. However, if you're curious to hear just how powerful film music can be in the right hands, Herrmann's score for VERTIGO is the best place to begin.

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