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The Impeccable Death of Bernard Herrmann

Movie hound Nick Clooney on the making of Martin Scorsese‘s 1976 film Taxi Driver:

Scorsese recruited Bernard Herrmann to write the musical score, even though the extraordinary composer-conductor was then terminally ill. At sixty-four, Mr. Herrmann had made his mark in radio, the concert stage, opera, and most notably, motion pictures. After a long stint at CBS — where he met a young Orson Welles — he began his movie music career at the top. He wrote the score for Citizen Kane. After that he scored dozens of top productions for, among others, Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock, including the nerve-twisting music for Psycho.

As it turned out, Mr. Herrmann had not lost his impeccable sense of timing. He completed the recording sessions for Taxi Driver, said good night to the musicians, went home, and died in his sleep. Scorsese dedicated the film to his memory.

(From Clooney’s 2002 book The Movies That Changed Us, ISBN 0-7434-1043-2, page 55 of the hardcover edition.)

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