Israel Baker, the violinist featured on the soundtrack of Psycho‘s most infamous music cue, died on Christmas Day in his Studio City home, the LA Times has reported. Baker had suffered a stroke several days earlier. He was 92.
As concertmaster for the Paramount Pictures orchestra, who composer Bernard Hermann used for recording the music for director Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller, Baker was the lead violinist for the passage of music that has been regarded as one of the most frightening pieces of film score ever recorded. Amazingly, the music was almost never written, as Hitchcock wanted the film to play out without any music. Hermann was able to convince Hitchcock otherwise. As you can see from the video below, the music makes a startling difference to the final product.
Although a majority of his career was spent performing classical music, Baker worked with a number of film composers including John Williams, John Barry, Franz Waxman, André Previn and Lalo Schifrin and played on dozens of film scores including Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom.