Back to Manderley
Whenever she’s had a few too many, Rebecca is quick to remind me “Al Jolson is greater than Jesus,” and I don’t disagree. She knows I have an acute sensitivity to music and, between the two of us, we have a formidable collection of records in our library.
And because we are slaves, body and soul, to our hunger for all things McKittrick, our collection has come to include every piece of music played inside the hotel that we have been able to identify. We’d thought we’d take this opportunity to share this part of our collection with you.
What follows is an exhaustive list of all the incidental music that appears in Sleep No More, including notes as to the major action that accompanies each piece of music and, where applicable, very cursory analysis.
Before we go on, I would like you to please note a few things:
While we are confident that we have been able to accurately identify the pieces mentioned herein (as well as accurately noted their accompanying events), we cannot be absolutely sure that this list is exhaustive. So, if you feel as though we’ve missed one, please let us know!
I have neglected to include the few ambient pieces featured on the show (e.g. the low hum that rumbles through the labyrinth on the fifth floor; the low, two-note figure, that scores the first confrontation between Agnes and the Porter, itself most likely derived from a figure in the score to Vertigo; the twinkly, record-scratched music box piece that plays in the Macduffs’ apartment on a loop during quiet moments; etc.). This is for two reasons. Firstly, whereas I have identified with confidence the pieces listed herein, I cannot say the same for the ambient works, which are all but unrecognizable as heard in the show. Secondly, despite the fact that all the ambient pieces can be safely said to be original compositions arranged by the sound designers themselves, they are most likely derivative works (i.e. heavy distortions of brief samples of the music cited below—particularly the Bernard Herrmann scores), and therefore already are covered in some form herein.
With that in mind, let’s get on with it.