MUSIC: RUNNING UP THE SCORES

WITH LITTLE FANFARE, A NEW CROP OF COMPOSERS IS REVITALIZING THE ART OF FILM MUSIC

The scene from Psycho is a grisly shudder in the collective unconscious, as bracing as Janet Leigh's famous shower and possibly even more shocking. The detective, played by Martin Balsam, is climbing the stairway of Norman Bates' creepy old house, his cautious tread accompanied by a few high-pitched notes in the violins, pregnant with mystery and menace. As he reaches the landing, a door flies open in a glint of flashing steel: suddenly the strings shriek rhythmically, as the knife blade slashes down and the stricken cop topples backward to his death in a symphony of pizzicato cellos and basses. We...

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