This is an outstanding release, dating from 1992 (recall that Elmer Bernstein recorded Herrmann's rejected score for TORN CURTAIN for Warners as early as 1977, also with the RPO). This release predates Esa-Pekka Salonen's excellent HERRMANN--THE FILM SCORES (Sony) by four years, and both can be highly recommended, for the overlap is not consequential and each recording has considerable virtues which I'll attempt to summarize:
Salonen includes (theme only) MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, rather more of PSYCHO than we really need, a good chunk from MARNIE, the NORTH BY NORTHWEST fandango, a representative bleeding chunk from VERTIGO, cool excerpts from the scrapped TORN CURTAIN score, wonderful snippets from FAHRENHEIT 451 and finally a totally idiomatic mean-streets potpourri (including "Bloodbath") from TAXI DRIVER. His release is unabashedly commercial, designed to appeal to the widest possible audience and a perfect introduction to Herrmann. It is very beautifully played by the LAPO, and quite spectacularly recorded.
Bernstein's very comprehensive survey is more scholarly, more clearly the result of serious thinking by Bernstein and album deviser Christopher Palmer. KANE and DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER (a fascinating score for a very fey film) are given brief due, then we move directly into a COMPLETE performance of Arthur Benjamin's truly kitschy Storm Clouds Cantata from MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, set to a text by D.B. Wyndham Lewis and supplied in the booklet. This is a recording premiere and reason enough for owning this disc. The kitsch quotient directly recalls the "impossible" SALAMMBO aria in CITIZEN KANE, thrillingly sung by Te Kanawa on Gerhardt's spectacular RCA anthology. In the Benjamin cantata reverberating in the Royal Albert Hall that foreboding cymbal clash that sent Doris Day into an intense maternal tizzy is perfectly dramatized in this Bernstein/RPO performance. The booklet erroneously credits the "Ambrosia Singers" when of course we are hearing the great Ambrosians. Small matter, that meaningful cymbal clash echoes for all eternity, a triumph of quick cuts directly edited to the music.
Bernstein continues with mercifully brief PSYCHO extracts, the rare Prelude for THE WRONG MAN (another recording premiere), seven choice minutes from VERTIGO and the NORTH BY NORTHWEST fandango. THE BRIDE WORE BLACK is represented by Palmer's 12-minute pastiche (another premiere, this is prime Herrmann not to be ignored), five minutes from FAHRENHEIT and the inevitable TAXI DRIVER coda (nine minutes played less idiomatically in London than in Los Angeles, their streets are less mean).
On balance, Bernstein's recording is preferable for the Storm Clouds Cantata and the BRIDE WORE BLACK excerpts, but I wouldn't be without either release. Both, I think, are indispensable. They supplement one another, and coupled with Gerhardt's pioneering CITIZEN KANE anthology (RCA) provide a satisfyingly complete Herrmann overview. The scifi/fantasy scores are another matter entirely, and there I think Herrmann's own recordings, rereleased by Decca and still sonically awesome, are preferable.