Ok, if your dad wrote music for silent movies and you want to write music yourself, does that increase the odds you’ll end up a film composer, too? That was the case with David Raksin, who was born in Philadelphia in 1912, and who died in Los Angeles on today’s date in 2004.
When he was 23, Raksin moved to Hollywood to help Charlie Chaplin arrange Chaplin’s own music for the film, Modern Times, and stayed on in Hollywood, working without credit on dozens of B-rated films.
A big break came in 1944 with the tremendous success of Raksin’s haunting score for the 1944 film noir classic, Laura. By the time of his death, Raksin had written scores for hundreds of films and TV shows.
In 1960, for the Horn Club of Los Angeles, Raksin wrote Morning Revisited. Raksin explained the odd title as follows: “They needed a piece [for] their entire ensemble … two antiphonal groups of six French horns, four Wagner tubas, a baritone horn, two contrabass tubas, and seven timpani. I was busy working on a picture, so I'd start work at four or five a.m., and that's how I wrote ’Morning Revisited.’”
Music Played in Today's Program
David Raksin (1912 -2004) Morning Revisited The Horn Club of Los Angeles; David Raksin, conductor. EMI 63764
On This Day
1781 - Austrian composer, violinist, and conductor Michael Umlauff, in Vienna; He conducted the orchestra, chorus, and soloists assembled for the premiere performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at Vienna's Kärtnertor Theater on May 7, 1824; After the totally deaf Beethoven set the initial tempos for each movement, the performers were instructed to ignore Beethoven if he continued to beat time, and to follow Umlauf;
1874 - Venezuelan-born French composer, conductor and music critic Reynaldo Hahn, in Caracas;
1875 - English light music composer Albert William Ketèlbey, in Aston;
1919 - Italian composer Ruggero Leoncavallo, age 62, in Montecatini;
1975 - Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich, age 68, in Moscow;
1988 - Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi, age 83, in Rome;
1862 - Berlioz: opera "Beatrice and Benedick," in Baden-Baden at the Neues Theater, with the composer conducting; The libretto (by Berlioz himself) is based on Shakespeare's comedy "Much Ado About Nothing";
1949 - Orff: opera "Antigone," in Salzburg at the Felsenreitschile;
1972 - London premiere of Andrew Lloyd-Webber: musical "Jesus Christ Superstar";
1978 - Dave Brubeck: oratorio “Beloved Son,” at the American Lutheran Women’s Convention in Minneapolis, Minn., with Richard Sieber conducting;
1979 - Hanson: ballet "Nymph and Satyr" in Chautauqua, Tennessee;
1988 - Peter Maxwell Davies: Symphony No. 5, during a BBC Proms Concert at London's Royal Albert Hall, by the Philharmonia Orchestra, with the composer conducting;
1703 - J.S. Bach appointed organist at Neuekirche, Arnstadt (see also: August 4 and 14)
1928 - Australian-born American composer Percy Grainger marries Swedish poet and painter Ella Viola Strom at the Hollywood Bowl in front of an audience of 22,000 concert-goers; Grainger conducted the LA Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of his "To a Nordic Princess," dedicated to his bride.
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About Composers Datebook®
Host John Birge presents a daily snapshot of composers past and present, with timely information, intriguing musical events and appropriate, accessible music related to each.
He has been hosting, producing and performing classical music for more than 25 years. Since 1997, he has been hosting on Minnesota Public Radio's Classical Music Service. He played French horn for the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra and performed with them on their centennial tour of Europe in 1995. He was trained at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Eastman School of Music and Interlochen Arts Academy.