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David Raksin (1912-2004)

David Raksin, composerDavid Raksin was active in the music business for so many decades that he was thought by many to be the Grandfather of film music. Sadly news has broken of his death on 9th August 2004 following a period of ill health. Born in 1912, he seemed to have a boundless enthusiasm for musical activities while still at school, learning a variety of instruments, playing in bands, and at various events and competitions. He then went on to study with Arnold Schoenberg, assist Leopold Stokowski and impress George Gerswin with an arrangement of his "I've Got Rhythm". This led to further opportunities and it wasn't long before Raksin was part of the fledgling industry creating film music in the 1930s. One of his earliest jobs was as arranger for Charlie Chaplin on "Modern Times", Chaplin being able to sing the music but requiring assistance to write it down and orchestrate it. Raksin created notable scores for films such as "Forever Amber" and "The Bad and the Beautiful", though he is best known for the soundtrack to "Laura", where the lead character is always represented by the same theme, an "idée fixe". This haunting melody gets under your skin and stays there, and is totally suited to the plot where the investigating detective is haunted by the subject of his investigations. Raksin and Laura are covered extensively in the book "Film Music, a neglected art" by Roy M. Prendergast (currently out of print but see some copies at this link). Raksin was certainly asked to compose again for movies with a Femme Fatale but never quite managed to recapture that success. In later decades his composing work for the media seemed to move into B-movie territory (with much Sci-Fi and Horror stuff) and then later into music for television. Nevertheless Raksin was very active in the music business, giving talks on film music, guiding the work of younger composers and lending his services to numerous organisations. Among these roles he was President of the Composers and Lyricists Guild for a number of years and he also sat on the board of ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers).

COMPOSITIONS                                                            Raksin Links     ~ ~ ~     Works by Genre
[under construction]
The Day After (1983)
Glass Houses (1972)
Will Penny (1968)
A Big Hand for the Little Lady (1966)
Invitation to a Gunfighter (1964)
The Patsy (1964)
Two Weeks in Another Town (1962)
Too Late Blues (1961 or 1962)
Ben Casey (1961) TV Series
Two Faces West (1960) TV Series
Al Capone (1959)
Separate Tables (1958)
Until They Sail (1957)
Man on Fire (1957)
20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)
Hellcats of the Navy (1957)
Hilda Crane (1956)
Jubal (1956)
Seven Wonders of the World (1955) (with Sol Kaplan, Jerome Moross, Emil Newman)
The Big Combo (1955)
Suddenly (1954)
Apache (1954)
The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
Madeline (cartoon) (1952)
Carrie (1952)
Pat and Mike (1952)
It's a Big Country (1951)
Across the Wide Missouri (1951)
The Next Voice You Hear... (1950)
The Magnificent Yankee (1950)
Whirlpool (1949)
Force of Evil (1948)
Superman (1948)
Daisy Kenyon (1947)
Forever Amber (1947)
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947)
Fallen Angel (1945)
Laura (1944)
Tampico (1944)
Something to Shout About (1943)
City Without Men (1943)
The Men in Her Life (1941)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)
Stanley and Livingstone (1939)
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)
Suez (1938)
Modern Times (arranger)(1936)

Parade (1935) - revue - co-orchestrator
At Home Abroad (1935) - revue - co-orchestrator
New Faces of 1936 (1936) - revue - co-orchestrator
If the Shoe Fits (1946) - musical - composer
Dream (1997) - revue - featured songwriter for "Laura"

WORKS BY GENRE                                                            Raksin Links     ~ top of page ~
[under construction]



Soloist(s) w/Orchestra

Chorus w/Orchestra



Solo Instrument



1999 Otto Preminger (documentary)
1989 Lady in the Corner (TV movie)
1983 The Day After (TV movie)
1979 The Suicide's Wife (TV movie)
1978 The Ghost of Flight 401 (TV movie)
1972 Glass Houses
1971 What's the Matter with Helen? (music composed by)
1970 The Over-the-Hill Gang Rides Again (TV movie)
1969 Medical Center (TV series)
1968 Will Penny
1966 A Big Hand for the Little Lady
1965/I Love Has Many Faces
1965 Sylvia
1964 Invitation to a Gunfighter
1964 The Patsy
1964 Scorpio Rising (short)
1962 The Soldier (short) (music by)
1962 Two Weeks in Another Town
1961 Too Late Blues
1961 Night Tide
1960 My Three Sons (TV series) – Spring Will Be a Little Late (1960)
1960 Pay or Die
1959 Five Fingers (TV series) – Station Break (1959)
1959 Al Capone
1959 The Redeemer (1965)
1958 Separate Tables (music by)
1958 Twilight for the Gods
1957 Until They Sail
1957 Gunsight Ridge
1957 Man on Fire
1957 The Vintage
1956 Bigger Than Life
1956 Hilda Crane
1956 Seven Wonders of the World (documentary)
1956 Jubal
1955 The Big Combo
1954 Suddenly (music by)
1954 Apache
1953 The Unicorn in the Garden (short)
1952 The Bad and the Beautiful
1952 Madeline (short)
1952 Carrie
1952 Pat and Mike
1952 The Girl in White
1952 Sloppy Jalopy (short)
1951 The Man with a Cloak
1951 Across the Wide Missouri
1951 Kind Lady
1950 The Magnificent Yankee
1950 Right Cross
1950 A Lady Without Passport
1950 Giddyap (short)
1950 The Next Voice You Hear...
1950 The Reformer and the Redhead
1949 Whirlpool
1948 Force of Evil
1948 Apartment for Peggy
1948 Fury at Furnace Creek
1947 Daisy Kenyon
1947 Forever Amber
1947 The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (music)
1947 The Homestretch
1947 The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (uncredited)
1946 Smoky
1945 Fallen Angel
1945 Don Juan Quilligan
1945 Where Do We Go from Here?
1944 Belle of the Yukon (uncredited)
1944 Laura
1944 Greenwich Village (uncredited)
1944 Tampico
1944 Main Street Today (short)
1944 Attack in the Pacific (documentary) (uncredited)
1943 I Dood It (uncredited)
1943 He Hired the Boss (uncredited)
1943 Something to Shout About (uncredited)
1943 City Without Men
1942 Time to Kill (uncredited)
1942 The Undying Monster
1942 Dr. Renault's Secret
1942 Manila Calling (uncredited)
1942 Just Off Broadway (uncredited)
1942 The Postman Didn't Ring (uncredited)
1942 The Magnificent Dope (uncredited)
1942 Thru Different Eyes (uncredited)
1942 Prelude to War (documentary) (uncredited)
1942 The Man Who Wouldn't Die (uncredited)
1942 Who Is Hope Schuyler? (uncredited)
1942 On the Sunny Side (uncredited)
1942 Inflation (short)
1941 Remember the Day (uncredited)
1941 The Men in Her Life (uncredited)
1941 I'll Wait for You (uncredited)
1941 Ride on Vaquero (uncredited)
1941 Dipsy Gypsy (short)
1941 Dead Men Tell (uncredited)
1941 Western Daze (short) (as D. Raksin)
1940 Two Girls on Broadway (uncredited)
1940 Forty Little Mothers (uncredited)
1940 The Blue Bird (uncredited)
1939 Hollywood Cavalcade (uncredited)
1939 The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (uncredited)
1939 Stanley and Livingstone (uncredited)
1939 Frontier Marshal (uncredited)
1939 Second Fiddle (uncredited)
1939 The Hound of the Baskervilles (uncredited)
1939 Mr. Moto's Last Warning (uncredited)
1938 Suez (uncredited)
1938 The Kid Comes Back (uncredited)
1937 As Good as Married (uncredited)
1937 Wings Over Honolulu (uncredited)
1937 She's Dangerous (uncredited)
1937 The Mighty Treve (uncredited)
and theme composer, stock music, orchestrator, arranger for over 140 other movies, TV series, etc

RAKSIN  LINKS                                                            Works by Genre      ~ top of page ~
Composer David Raksin - A Conversation with Bruce Duffie (
David Raksin 1912 - 2004 (Scott Bettencourt, Film Score Monthly)
David Raksin - Composer of Music for the Movies (D'Lynn Waldron)
David Raksin: Film Composer and Writer of 'Laura' (The Independent)
David Raksin - Obituary (Michael Freedland, The Guardian)
David Raksin - Obituary (
David Raksin Remembers His Colleagues (American Composers Orchestra)
    - Aaron Copland
    - Hugo Friedhofer
    - Bernard Herrmann
    - Erich Wolfgang Korngold
    - Alfred Newman
    - Miklós Rózsa
    - Max Steiner
    - Dmitri Tiomkin
    - Franz Waxman
David Raksin, the Composer of "Laura," Is Dead at 92 (Aljean Harmetz, The New York Times)
For David Raksin (Alex Ross, The Rest Is Noise)
In Remembrance: David Raksin (Film Buff Online)

Composer website [none at the moment]    . . .   inquire about David Raksin: ???

Raksin @ Wikipedia
Raksin @ American Music Center
Raksin @ American Music Preservation
Raksin @ American Songwriter
Raksin @
Raksin @ ASCAP
Raksin @ CITWF / Complete Index to World Film
Raksin @ Classic Themes
Raksin @ Classical Archives
Raksin @ Classical Composers Database
Raksin @ digitalSymphonix
Raksin @ Facebook
Raksin @ Fandango
Raksin @ Film Music Society    also     here (via Google Advanced Search)
Raksin @ The Film
Raksin @ Film Reference
Raksin @ Film Score Click Track
Raksin @ Film Score Monthly (via Google Advanced Search)
Raksin @ Find a Grave
Raksin @ IBDB (Internet Broadway Database)
Raksin @ IMDb (Internet Movie Database)
Raksin @ InstantEncore
Raksin @ Library of Congress Bicentennial
Raksin @ mfiles
Raksin @ MSN Movies
Raksin @ MusicWeb International
Raksin @ Naxos
Raksin @ The New York Times
Raksin @ Other Minds
Raksin @ Playbill Vault
Raksin @ Edna Purviance
Raksin @ SoundtrackCollector
Raksin @ SoundtrackNet
Raksin @ Turner Classic Movies
Raksin @ Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
Raksin @ YouTube

Raksin @ Theme and Variations

Streaming Audio
Raksin @ Classical Archives
Raksin @
Raksin @ MySpaceMusic
Raksin @
Raksin @ WQXR/Movies on the Radio

Raksin @ ArkivMusic
Raksin @ CD Universe
Raksin @ ClassicsOnline
Raksin @ Discogs

Raksin @ YouTube
Raksin @ Google Video

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