Let’s kick things off with a banger! Bernard Herrmann is a film scoring legend. Psycho, Vertigo, Citizen Kane, you name it, he’s probably written it. One of his earliest films, The Day the Earth Stood Still, directed by Robert Wise, was also the first time Herrmann made use of the theremin. And, in fact, Herrmann used two theremin soloists in the score!
And so now we come to the theory that Bach’s chaconne is about the death of his wife, as explained in the tin-foil-hatted liner notes to Morimur. Loopy though the theory is, it’s popular for a reason. Music is abstract, and it helps to have a narrative to hang onto when we listen. Even professional musicians like the hidden message idea. Markham quotes his students: