A movie is just moving pictures without music setting the tone for a cinematic experience.
That could not be more true than Bernard Herrmann’s screeching violins providing the centerpiece of the soundtrack for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic thriller Psycho and possibly the most famous horror scene in movie history.
The movie begins as officworker Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), entrusted by her employer to deposit $40,000, deci
des instead to skip town and start a new live with her lover Sam. After driving for many miles, Marion pulls off the highway and settles to the Bates Motel, managed by Norman Bates, a quiet bird collector who seems to have an overbearing mother.
Marion decides to take a relaxing shower to wash away the hard day, but a shadowing figure emerges as a close up of knife and expert shadow play artistically escalate the scene to the sound of violinists seemingly violently strumming the bow across the strings. The scene sets the stage for Hitchcock’s daring attempt to make a horror film more than gore.
Widely considered the most terrifying soundtrack ever recorded, Herrmann’s masterpiece reflected the violent, frac
tured struggle of Norman Bates inner demons and its manifestation into a psychotic killer.
Throughout the movie, the uneasy score keeps the audience off balance, moving the plot forward but often using misdirection to keep them guessing as to the true identity of the killer. The screeching violins in the shower scene ultimately pro
The score to Psycho is just one of the many movie soundtracks Symphony Director Bruce Kiesling and the Tulare County Symphony will perform during its eagerly anticipated “Music of the Movies” concert at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9 at the Visalia Fox Theater. Throughout the concert, Kiesling will also offer vignettes about the music taking the audience on a behind-the-scenes look at cinematic soundtracks.vide the clue that it is Norman, the stuffed-bird collector and not his mother, who is the killer. Herrmann biographer Steven C. Smith once wrote that the music for the shower scene is “probably the most famous (and most imitated) cue in film music.”
Tickets are $30 to $39.50 at the Symphony office, 732-8600. Student prices are $10. Tickets are also available at www.gorillatix.com.
The Symphony’s 2012-13 season will continue with “Musical Stories” on Saturday, March 2 and “Mahler: The Most!” on Saturday, April 20 at the Fox Theater in Visalia.