This recently reissued double cd of Bernard Herrmann music features recordings made in the 70s, with Herrmann himself conducting the National Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra in selections from eleven of his scores. Herrmann conducts Herrmann; potentially mouth-watering, and what's not to like?
Well, sadly, quite a lot. This is a collection of the famous ("Citizen Kane", "The Day The Earth Stood Still"...) and more obscure ("Gulliver's Travels", "Journey to the Centre of the Earth"...), and there's a pervading sense of a lack of overall cohesion. A clash of moods is probably an inevitable consequence of any compilation. However, Herrmann's particular gift for creating what I can only think to describe as singular "music soundscapes" for his films exacerbates this jarring effect, and doesn't create a particularly satisfying "flow" for the listener. This, then, is a collection probably best suited to dipping in and out of as the mood takes you. More damaging, at least to my ear, is the overall sound quality, which has a curiously flat and dead ambiance to it, and which acts as a real deterrent to enjoyment.
This recording isn't a disaster, but sadly, it is a big disappointment to someone who anticipated, and hoped for, a lot more.