Bernard Herrmann Composer Toolkit

Orchestral Innovation Inspired By A Legend

Spitfire’s first dry scoring stage ensemble library, inspired by the electric genius of Bernard Herrmann. Renowned for his groundbreaking scores including Citizen Kane, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Psycho, Vertigo and Taxi Driver, his legacy continues to inspire the work of composers today. We’ve worked exclusively with Bernard Herrmann’s estate to curate and assemble a unique set of studio orchestra ensembles, informed directly by the composer’s legendary orchestration aesthetic. Recorded at Studio 1 Air Lyndhurst by Simon Rhodes (Avatar, Grand Budapest Hotel, Spectre, Harry Potter, There Will Be Blood), we’ve captured players performing as Herrmann would have had them – boisterous, lively and upfront, with patches featuring selected groups, unusual instrumental combis, chords, effects and much more. Fire-up this versatile Toolkit for lively and distinctive scoring.

Benny - Andy Blaney (0:00 / 4:05)

Bernard Herrmann Vs Spitfire Symphonic Orchestra - C. Henson (0:00 / 2:32)

The Approach - Paul Thomson (0:00 / 1:25)

The Masters Voice - Borgarts & Kolinski (0:00 / 2:57)

From Now 'Til North - Homay Schmitz (0:00 / 3:19)

Black Obelisk - Oliver Patrice Weder (0:00 / 3:21)

Unknown Territory - Anže Rozman (0:00 / 2:34)

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Overview

This isn’t an ‘old style’ library. We’ve worked closely with the Herrmann estate to examine his most famous scores and understand what makes his work so special. With that in mind, we set about curating a unique series of recording sessions in order to develop a modern library that captures the levels of vitality that you’d expect from a Herrmann score, but that works across genres/projects. Recorded at Air Studio 1, this toolkit packs an almighty punch; it offers a studio orchestra, combinations such as trumpet and xylophone, trombones and timpani, low strings and horns, harp and vibraphone, plus an ondes Martenot, synths, percussion, timpani and much more.



Background

Bernard Herrmann is one of the great modern composers. His work for TV and film is nothing short of iconic, and is truly synonymous with mid-20th Century cinema. Collaborating with Orson Welles on Citizen Kane, Martin Scorsese on Taxi Driver, and in long-term partnership with Alfred Hitchcock for scores such as Vertigo, Psycho, The Birds, Marnie and beyond, the sheer magnitude of critical works produced is breathtaking. Not only did his work cause significant impact on culture at the time, but more recently those works have been used to invigorate contemporary scores, for example the use of the Twisted Nerve theme in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill - an eerie whistle which is now instantly recognisable worldwide.

Herrmann had a unique and trailblazing compositional style. His orchestrations were entirely original, daring and inventive; always appropriate for the context and subsequently incredibly influential in film scoring (Psycho is an obvious example of a totally new way to score a thriller). The bold selection of specific instrumental ensembles (his Psycho score was famed for being strings-only, and the infamous Torn Curtain featured 12 flutes) and choice of interesting combinations (harp and vibraphone in Vertigo, stopped horns and pizzicato strings in North by Northwest) challenged the status quo. Equally his experimentation of electronic instruments in scores was pioneering - the ondes Martenot in The Day The Earth Stood Still and amplified Moog synths in Sisters/Endless Nights brought sounds previously unheard to cinemas. He also went as far as to effect change in the performance style of players, requesting that players not play in the traditional, somewhat overblown nature that other Hollywood composers would traditionally employ.

He had a limitless curiosity and love of new music, championing the careers of several composers who became household names as a result of his hard work. His work as conductor of the CBS Symphony Orchestra, and the many radio broadcasts he made with them, helped to bring a huge and often little heard variety of music to a wide audience.

His was a truly individual voice and he stood firm against what he saw as the dilution of the art form and he continues to be massively respected and influential among film composers today.

So, of course, when the opportunity arose for Spitfire Audio to collaborate with his estate, we crumbled with excitement. We hope to have developed a unique library that provides working composers with a broad variety of new sounds and possibilities, albeit rooted in the genius of Herrmann and his approach to film scoring.

GUIs

The Overview Panel

Gives you a quick and easy way to access, view and load the different articulations, mic mixes and essential controller functions which you can then re-assign to suit your workflow.

General Controls Panel

A deeper but still simple UI panel that allows you to tweak the general settings. How many round robins you would like and how you would like them to behave. How would you like memory to be organised alongside pitch options and how velocity works.

The Ostinatum

Quite simply a little inspiration machine. Not quite an arpeggiator, not quite a sequencer. This intuitive device allows you to build up complex patterns that react to your playing to achieve wild systems results tantalising Zimmeresque tension beds or cheeky multi-tonguing effects!

Mercury Synth

Included in the “advanced” folder are over 30 synth patches inspired by Herrmann’s use of sythesisers in combination with orchestral material. These can be controlled using our Mercury Synth GUI. It is an ingenious user interface that allows you to have instant fun without having to roll up your sleeves and go under the Kontakt hood. All of the controls are assignable to your control surface giving you the immediate ability to make our sounds your own.

Presets / Articulations / Mics / Mixes

Presets / Articulations

Studio Orchestra:
  • Chords (Common)
  • Chords (Maj)
  • Chords (Min)
  • Chords (Other)
  • FX 1 (Expand Contract Clusters)
  • FX 2 (Cluster Stabs)
  • FX 3 (Slides Up And Down)
  • FX 4 (Slides Up And Down Strings Only)
  • FX 5 (Cluster Swells)
  • FX 6 (Chatter)
  • Long
  • Short

High Strings:
  • Long nv/v/mv
  • Long CS nv/v
  • Long div by desk normale/CS nv/v
  • Long Sul Pont
  • Long CS Sul Pont
  • Long Sul Tasto
  • Long Harmonics
  • Long Flautando
  • Long Marcato Attack
  • Tremolo
  • Tremolo CS
  • Tremolo Sul Pont
  • Tremolo CS Sul Pont
  • Trills (Min2, Maj2, Min3, Maj3, Perf4)
  • Short Spiccato
  • Short Spiccato CS
  • Brushed Spiccato
  • Brushed Spiccato CS
  • Short 0'5
  • Short 1'0
  • Pizzicato
  • Short Harmonics
  • Pizzicato Bartok
  • Col Legno

High Strings Octaves:
  • Legato (fingered, portamento)
  • Long nv/v/mv
  • Long CS nv/v
  • Tremolo
  • Trill (Min2, Maj2)
  • Short Spiccato

High Strings Half Section:
  • Legato (fingered, portamento)
  • Long nv/v/mv
  • Long CS nv/v
  • Long Flautando
  • Tremolo
  • Tremolo Sul Pont
  • Short Spiccato
  • Short Spiccato CS
  • Pizzicato
  • Short 0'5
  • Short Harmonics
  • FX 1 (Cluster Slides)
  • FX 2 (Cluster Stabs)
  • FX 3 (Chatter)
  • FX 4 (Cluster Swells)

Low Strings:
  • Legato (fingered)
  • Long nv/v/mv
  • Long CS nv/v
  • Long Sul Pont
  • Long CS Sul Pont
  • Long Flautando
  • Long Harmonics
  • Long Marcato Attack
  • Tremolo
  • Tremolo CS
  • Tremolo Sul Pont
  • Tremolo CS Sul Pont
  • Short Spiccato
  • Pizzicato
  • Short Bartok
  • Col Legno
  • FX 1 (Cluster Slides)
  • FX 2 (Chatter)
  • FX 3 (Cluster Swells)

Low Strings and Horns:
  • Long
  • Long CS
  • Short
  • Col Legno/Stopped

Low Strings and Trombones:
  • Legato
  • Long
  • Long CS
  • Long CS Sul Pont
  • Tremolo
  • Short
  • Short CS Sul Pont

Piccolo and Flutes:
  • Legato
  • Long (nv/v)
  • Short

Concert Flutes:
  • Legato
  • Long (nv/v)
  • Short
  • Trill (Min2, Maj2)
  • Long Flutter
  • FX 1 (Rips)
  • FX 2 (Upper Mordent Major)
  • FX 3 (Upper Mordent Minor)

Mixed Flutes:
  • Legato
  • Long (nv/v)
  • Short
  • Trill (Min2, Maj2)
  • Long Flutter
  • Chords (Common)
  • Chords (Maj)
  • Chords (Min)
  • Chords (Other)
  • FX 1
  • FX 2

Flutes and Clarinets:
  • Legato
  • Long (nv/v)
  • Long (Octave)
  • Short
  • Short (Octave)
  • Trill (Min2, Maj2)

Low Winds:
  • Legato
  • Long
  • Long (Octave)
  • Short
  • Short (Octave)

Cor Anglais, Clarinet and Trumpet:
  • Long (nv/v)
  • Short
  • Trill (Min2, Maj2)
  • FX (Chatter)

Oboes, Bassoons and Horns:
  • Long (nv/v)
  • Short
  • FX

Trumpet and Xylophone:
  • Long
  • Short
  • Short Muted
  • Long (Octave)
  • Short (Octave)
  • Short Muted (Octave)

Horns:
  • Long (mf,ff)
  • Short (mf,ff)
  • Chords (Common)
  • Chords (Maj)
  • Chords (Min)
  • Chords (Other)

Mid Brass:
  • Long (nv)
  • Short
  • FX 1 (Chatter)
  • FX 2 (Falls)

Trombones:
  • Long (nv)
  • Long Muted (nv)
  • Short
  • Short Muted

Trombones and Timpani:
  • Long
  • Short

Harp and Celeste:
  • Long
  • Short
  • Chords (Common)
  • Chords (Maj)
  • Chords (Min)
  • Chords (Other)

Harp and Vibraphone:
  • Long
  • Long Bowed
  • Short (Vibes On)
  • Short (Vibes Off)
  • Short Hotrods (Vibes Off)
  • Chords (Common)
  • Chords (Maj)
  • Chords (Min)
  • Chords (Other)

Ondes Martenot:
  • Long Ondes
  • Long Ondes Gong
  • Long Ondes Tutti
  • Long Ondes Wind Strings
  • Short
  • FX 1 (Trills)
  • FX 2 (Birds)
  • FX 3 (Clangers 1)
  • FX 4 (Clangers 2)
  • FX 5 (Clangers 3)

Percussion:
  • Anvil
  • Bass Drum
  • Bongos
  • Bowed Cymbals
  • Brake Disks
  • Claves
  • Congas
  • Cymbals
  • Exhaust Pipe
  • Lion Roar
  • Ogororo
  • Quica
  • Snare Drum (brushes)
  • Snare Drum (snares off)
  • Snare Drum (snares on)
  • Steel Plate
  • Temple Block
  • Timbales
  • Trash Can
  • Woodblock

Timpani:
  • Hits Sustained
  • Hits Damped
  • Hits Super Damped
  • Rolls
  • Soft Stick - Hits Sustained
  • Soft Stick - Hits Damped
  • Soft Stick - Rolls
  • Hot Rods - Hits Sustained
  • Hot Rods - Hits Damped

Synths:
  • Aggressive Pulse Bass
  • Aggressive Pulse Pad
  • Belly Of The Deep
  • Cheese Bass
  • Cheesy Lead
  • Clockwork Pulse
  • Detune Square Bass
  • Detune Square Lead
  • Eyeball Pad
  • Flute 1
  • Flute 2
  • Flute Sweep
  • Galactic Pad
  • Herrmann Detune
  • Hollow Bass Sustain
  • Hollow Bass
  • Obie Bass
  • Propa Bass
  • Propa Sub 1
  • Propa Sub 2
  • Propa Sub 3
  • Raucous Sweller
  • Sci Fi Sweep
  • Soft Pulse
  • Soft Sub Bass
  • Space Bass Sustain
  • Space Bass
  • Space Lasers
  • Square Pad
  • Square Sound
  • Squelch Pulse Bass
  • Squelchy Moog
  • Sub Bass
  • Triangle Pad
  • Weird Noises (FX)
  • Wind
  • Wobbles In Space