Bernard Herrmann - Concerto Macabre For Piano & Orchestra (composed for the 1945 film noir Hangover Square)

Performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra with Sara Davis [F/K/A David] Buechner on piano

“Not long after the film’s release Herrmann received an enthusiastic letter from a New York music student praising the concerto. Herrmann responded with a gracious thank you letter to 15-year-old Stephen Sondheim. Recalled Sondheim in 1986, “I can still play the opening eight bars, since they were glimpsed briefly on (Hangover Square’s lead actor) Laird Cregar’s piano during the course of the film, and I dutifully memorized them by sitting through the picture twice.” Herrmann’s influence can be heard in Sondheim’s musical thriller Sweeney Todd, an English melodrama rich in brooding thematic material and dark psychology.”

-excerpted from A Heart at Fire’s Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann by Steven Smith