Monahan, Mark. "Music that makes a man a killer Bernard Herrmann's film scores spoke as loudly as any dialogue, says Mark Monahan." The Daily Telegraph 1 July 2006. 8 April 2008.
Mark Monahan writes about Mr. Bernard Herrmann’s musical career spanning from Citizen Kane in 1941 through Taxi Driver in 1976. Monahan asserts that creating music for motion pictures is an incredibly arduous task and that the people responsible for it are extraordinarily talented. He feels that cinema would be unimaginable if not for the fantastic and wild feelings created by film scores. Monahan writes that he considers Bernard Herrmann to be one of the leading film composers of the last 100 years. Herrmann, a Russian born immigrant attended NYU to study music and made his Broadway debut at the young age of 20. He began composing for CBS radio shows and this put him into contact with Orson Welles. Welles took Herrmann on for the film Citizen Kane, and thereby launched the composer’s long and successful scoring career. After Kane, Herrmann teamed with Hitchcock and was responsible for the musical scores of all the great Hitchcock films through the end of the 1960s. Monahan has much respect for Herrmann’s talent. He writes that, “Rather than merely setting the scene or complementing the action (though they do both magnificently), [Herrmann’s scores] virtually are the action, brilliantly elucidating the characters' gnarled inner lives.” He says that the opening scene of Citizen Kane (the ascending of Xanadu’s fence) is given “a sense of dread, regret and death of the soul…” Herrmann’s most famous musical passage is the shrieking violins of the Psycho’s shower scene. In his later career he works for French and American New Wave filmmakers.
The musical score to any film is one of the most psychologically defining aspects of the experience. The music, much like lighting, sets a mood. Before the audience even knows what will happen on screen, they can get a sense of what might happen just based on the musical foreshadowing. Herrmann brilliantly uses his musical score to set the mood and tone in Citizen Kane. In happy scenes such as those with the young Kane attending parties in his honor, the music is light and we think nothing of it. In more dramatic scenes such as the initial scene of Xanadu, the newsreel scenes, and the final scene of the film with the revelation of Rosebud, the music obviously takes a more dramatic and serious tone.