We gave it an A-
Best known for his mold-breaking film scores (Citizen Kane, Psycho, Taxi Driver), New York-born Bernard Herrmann (1911-1975) led a respectable second life as a serious composer. His one symphony dates from 1940 and was premiered by the New York Philharmonic. Rawboned and edgy, it reveals along its 36-minute course the hand of a skilled craftsman, capable of projecting grand dramatic ideas. Symphony No. 1 doesn’t shake completely free from movieland melodramatics, it does manage some impressive and dramatic statements, and even finds room in the boisterous second movement for some borrowings from a worthy ancestor, the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven. The work is exuberantly delivered by the Phoenix Symphony, newly revitalized by its young conductor, James Sedares.