Dramatic Vocalise Database

Hermann, Bernard (1911–75) and Alfred Newman (1901–70)

The Egyptian (1954)

Vocalization in the opening credits.

“In the case of The Egyptian, there simply was not enough time. Bernard Herrmann was assigned this sumptuous, dull epic and initially given eight weeks to write two hours of symphonic music. The release date was then moved up by two and a half weeks, whereupon Herrmann appealed to [Alfred] Newman for help. The two men resolved the problem by dividing the scoring between them; it was the only time two major composers collaborated to produce one homogeneous score. And it was no ordinary score. Dealing with ancient Egypt, the music had to reflect an almost unknown culture, and support the rich exotic visuals. After an initial discussion of modes and scales, the two composers wrote for five weeks, sending their sketches back and forth but seeing each other only twice during the process. The score was also unique in that each composer conducted his own portion.” 1


1 Tony Thomas, Music for the Movies, 2nd ed., expanded and updated (Los Angeles: Silman-James Press, 1997), 72–3.