Kosovsky, Robert. "[Untitled]." Rev. of Citizen Kane, the Magnificent Ambersons, by Bernard Hermann. American Music: 221-227.
Citizen Kane was the first film project on which Academy Award winning composer Bernard Hermann worked, and the music he created played an integral role in defining the characters of the film and crafting Citizen Kane as a creative work. This article explains the role that Bernard Hermann played in making Citizen Kane a great film, the relationship between Hermann and Welles, and explains the technical side of how Hermann made the different “cues” for the film.
As is mentioned in the article, Hermann and Welles both worked on radio in their early careers, where Hermann composed and arranged upwards of 2,500 shows for CBS. This is where Welles and Hermann met, both exploring their respective arts and collaborating occasionally on shows, including Welles’ famous rendition of War of the Worlds that sent thousands of people across the United States into hysterics. When Welles got his first film deal to make Citizen Kane, he insisted upon having Hermann do the music, giving Hermann his first opportunity to compose for a film. Hermann proved to be exceptional in this and his future projects because while he understood that the primary role of a film score was to complement the visuals of the film, his extensive experience in radio ensured that his scores could act as standalone pieces, as well.
Also, the article discusses the technical side of composing for cinema, explaining how Hermann used “leitmotifs” – a kind of recurring musical motif in reference to a character, location, or theme – to strengthen the relationship between the score and the visuals, creating leitmotifs for many of the films key players, Rosebud, and the various mental states that Kane experienced throughout the film.