Live ‘screaming’ of Psycho alongside 32-string orchestra to leave you on knife edge at Bridgewater Hall

Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece Psycho is set for a Manchester screening with a difference – it will be accompanied by a 32-string orchestra who will help recreate one of horror’s most iconic scores.

The horror classic, which has terrified audiences for over half a century, will be screened at the Bridgewater Hall alongside the British Sinfonietta on, led by Anthony Gabriele on Friday.

The story revolves around the fate of Marion (Janet Leigh), a secretary, who steals $40,000 from her employer and drives off into the night to meet her lover (John Gavin).

During a storm she arrives at a sinister motel owned by an insane cross-dressing taxidermist (Anthony Perkins), whose mother, who is even more mentally unstable than him, lives in the adjoining mansion.

Mr Gabriele told MM the chance to conduct such an iconic score to one of cinema’s greatest achievements was one he simply couldn’t refuse.

He said: “I’ve never done this before, and neither has the Orchestra.

“Conducting a score to go along with a film is something I’ve always dreamed of so I grabbed at it with both hands and wouldn’t let go.

“It’s an exciting thing to be doing. To present such an iconic film to an audience on a big screen and have what is probably known one of the best known film scores played live by an orchestra on stage, it’s a feat for all the senses really.”

Psycho was made on a small budget – although going on to grossing 60million at the box office – costing just $800,000 to create.

This meant the original composer Herman could only afford to write for string instruments, which subsequently gave Psycho a distinctive sound that resonated with audiences and complimented the events on screen.

The musical piece most instantly recognisable is Herrmann’s aptly named track Screaming Violins which plays during Janet Leigh’s shower scene.

The scene shocked audiences at the time due to its brutality; it creates a brilliant illusion of gore, violence and nudity while actually showing viewers very little.

Hitchcock originally wanted the scene to be accompanied by a deathly silence, but Herrmann went ahead and composed a score anyway.

Luckily, Hitchcock immediately changed his mind when he heard it and included it in the film.

The famous shower scene itself took seven days to film, contains 70 cuts and lasts less than a minute.

“It’s an a amazing piece of writing, we’re talking about 55 seconds, and it’s frightening because of the physicality involved with orchestra actually playing the slashing shrieking sounds,” Mr Gabriele told MM.

“One thing about Hitchcock’s genius is that you never actually see the knife make contact with anybody in any of the murders, but you feel the pain of each those stabs through the music.”

Psycho will play alongside the British Sinfonietta at Bridgwater hall on Friday 11 at 7.30pm.

For more information, click here.

Image courtesy of Universal Pictures, via YouTube, with thanks.

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