OK, if your dad wrote music for silent movies and you want to be a composer yourself, does that increase the odds that you may end up a film composer, too? At least that’s the case of David Raksin, who was born in Philadelphia in 1912, and who died in Los Angeles on today’s date in 2004.
After music studies at home and in New York, in 1935, when he was 23, Raksin moved to Hollywood to help Charlie Chaplin arrange Chaplin’s own music for his film, ''Modern Times.'' Raksin stayed on in Hollywood, working without credit on dozens of B-rated films, and took lessons from Arnold Schoenberg, then living in Los Angeles.
A big break came in 1944 with the tremendous success of Raksin’s haunting score for the 1944 film, “Laura,” an opportunity that came his way only after more famous composers like Alfred Newman and Bernard Herrmann had turned the job down. By the time of his death, Raksin would score 100 films and 300 TV shows, teach at USC and UCLA, and on occasion, compose concert works as well.
In 1960, for the Horn Club of Los Angeles, Raksin wrote “Morning Revisited.” Explaining its genesis and title, Raksin said, “They needed a piece that would use their entire ensemble … two antiphonal groups of six French horns each, 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 RevisitedThe Horn Club of Los Angeles; David Raksin, cond.EMI 63764