David Raksin

Biography

Born: August 4, 1912; Philadelphia, PA   Died: August 9, 2004; Van Nuys, CA  
David Raksin was among the most prolific and storied composers in Hollywood history, his career spanning across six decades and some of the most acclaimed films in cinema history. Raksin was born August 4, 1912 in Philadelphia, where his father was a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra in addition to conducting and performing in concert bands and for silent movies. The younger Raksin began studying piano as a child and by 12 was fronting his own Read more dance band, even appearing on the local CBS radio station -- he taught himself orchestration while still in high school, funding his subsequent studies at the University of Pennsylvania by performing with society bands and radio orchestras. After graduation, Raksin settled in New York City, working as a pianist and arranger with several orchestras; in time he crossed paths with pianist Oscar Levant, who was so impressed by his arrangement of George Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm" that he alerted Gershwin himself. Gershwin was so impressed that he arranged for Raksin to join the Harms/Chappell team, then the dominant arranging force in all of Broadway.

Raksin remained with Harms/Chappell until 1935, when he relocated to Hollywood to work with the legendary Charlie Chaplin on Modern Times, arranging the film's score based on melodies Chaplin would hum or whistle. He briefly returned to Philadelphia long enough to assist conductor Leopold Stokowski in premiering his concert piece "Montage" before returning to Hollywood full-time -- in 1937 alone, Raksin racked up no fewer than 11 different film credits, and he would maintain a frenetic pace for decades to follow. He authored his first true classic in 1944: Commissioned to score Otto Preminger's atmospheric murder mystery Laura, Raksin composed the film's haunting theme just days after separating from his first wife, drawing on her "Dear John" letter for inspiration and channeling his heartbreak into one of the most memorable and recognizable melodies in motion picture history. Johnny Mercer later added lyrics, and "Laura" is now recognized as an American standard, recorded by Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Ella Fitzgerald, and countless others.

Raksin earned his first Academy Award nomination in 1947 for his work on the period drama Forever Amber; he earned his only other Oscar bid 11 years later for Separate Tables, never taking home a statuette. He nevertheless worked on some of the most celebrated motion pictures of the postwar era, among them Abraham Polonsky's Force of Evil, Nicholas Ray's Bigger Than Life, and Vincente Minnelli's The Bad and the Beautiful -- in all, Raksin scored in excess of 100 films, not to mention themes and scores for more than 300 television programs including Ben Casey and Life With Father. He also worked in radio, most notably writing, narrating, and conducting interviews for a three-year series of 64 hour-long programs entitled The Subject Is Film Music, and from 1956 until his death, he taught film composition at the University of Southern California. Raksin's film and television output slowed during the 1970s, and in 1983 he completed his last major celluloid score for the landmark telefilm The Day After; soon after he received a commission from the Library of Congress, premiering his choral work "Oedipus Memneitai (Oedipus Remembers)" on October 30, 1986. Raksin died at his Van Nuys, California home on August 9, 2004 at the age of 92. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 31 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Label: Sepia Records   Catalog: 1259 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  David Raksin
    Conductor:  Paul Bateman
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  • 2.
    Itzhak Perlman - Concertos, Sonatas & More
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 5438882 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Itzhak Perlman,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Erich Leinsdorf,  André Previn,  John T. Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Juilliard String Quartet,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 3.
    Best Of Pops / Arthur Fiedler, Boston Pops Orchestra
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 3580 Release Date: 07/02/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Jacob Gade,  Leroy Anderson,  Victor Young,  Meredith Willson  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
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  • 4.
    The Golden Age Of Hollywood Vol 3 / Bernas, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra   Catalog: 23 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  Elmer Bernstein,  David Rose,  Victor Young  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bernas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Dame Joan Sutherland - Complete Decca Studio Recitals  [23-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001619502 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 23
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  George Frideric Handel,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Nadine Sautereau,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Richard Conrad,  Ambrose Gauntlett  ... 
    Conductor:  Nello Santi,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus  ... 
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  • 6.
    Invitation To Romance
    Label: Opening Day   Catalog: 7412 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Kosma,  David Raksin,  Henry Mancini,  Erroll Garner  ... 
    Performer:  Rob Piltch,  Ben Riley,  Doug Riley,  Tom Szczesniak  ... 
    Conductor:  Doug Riley
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  • 7.
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 56028 Release Date: 08/12/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Lew Pollack,  Traditional,  Charles Gounod,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Conductor:  Annuncio Paolo Mantovani
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  • 8.
    Classic Film Scores: Laura, Forever Amber, The Bad And The Beautiful
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 81268 Release Date: 03/01/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  David Raksin
    Conductor:  David Raksin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 9.
    Bluebird - The Sampler
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 6389 Release Date: 01/28/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Various,  David Raksin
    Performer:  Charles Mingus,  J.J. Johnson,  Edward "Duke" Ellington,  Art Blakey  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
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  • 10.
    Label: Varese Sarabande   Catalog: 067059 Release Date: 12/21/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Alfred Newman,  David Raksin,  Bernard Herrmann,  Alex North  ... 
    Performer:  Jimmie Rodgers,  Jennifer Warnes
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  • 11.
    Stan Getz & Arthur Fiedler At Tanglewood
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 68703 Release Date: 12/17/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Carlos Jobim,  Eddie Sauter,  David Raksin,  Alec Wilder
    Performer:  Stan Getz
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
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  • 12.
    From The Flute, From The Heart
    Label: Syllaria   Catalog: 5637676580 Release Date: 09/21/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Theobald Boehm,  Gabriel Fauré,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Dominic Kyrie,  Pat Rodgers
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  • 13.
    The Legendary Duets / Jeanne Lee & Ran Blake
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 6461 Release Date: 09/17/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  David Raksin,  Thelonious Monk,  Ran Blake,  John Benson Brooks  ... 
    Performer:  Ran Blake,  Jeanne Lee,  George Duvivier
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  • 14.
    Label: Silva Screen   Catalog: 1309 Release Date: 07/13/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Pete Moore,  Bernard Herrmann,  David Raksin,  Henry Mancini  ... 
    Performer:  Gareth Williams,  Mark Ayres
    Conductor:  Evan Jolly,  Paul Bateman,  Nic Raine,  Bill Ashton  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Ensemble
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  • 15.
    Salute To Hollywood / Williams, Boston Pops
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 422385 Release Date: 05/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard A. Whiting,  Morton Stevens,  James Horner,  John T. Williams  ... 
    Conductor:  John T. Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
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  • 16.
    Evergreen Love Songs / Jorma Hynninen, Heikki Sarmanto
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 803 Release Date: 12/16/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Harry Warren,  Paul McCartney,  David Raksin,  Elvis Presley  ... 
    Performer:  Jorma Hynninen,  Heikki Sarmanto
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  • 17.
    Themes From Academy Award Winners
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60966 Release Date: 11/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Mancini,  Maurice Jarre,  Dimitri Tiomkin,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Conductor:  Henry Mancini,  Arthur Fiedler,  Charles Gerhardt,  David Raksin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mancini Chorus,  Mancini Orchestra,  Boston Pops  ... 
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  • 18.
    Horns! Music For Horn Ensemble / Horn Club Of Los Angeles
    Label: Emi Studio   Catalog: 63764 Release Date: 09/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Tomás Luis de Victoria,  Roger Johnson,  Giovanni Palestrina  ... 
    Conductor:  William Kraft,  Gunther Schuller,  George Hyde,  David Raksin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Horn Club of Los Angeles
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 19.
    Joan Sutherland - Talking Pictures / Bonynge, English Co
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 417470 Release Date: 08/06/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Buddy G. DeSylva,  Ray Henderson,  Sigmund Romberg  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 20.
    The Hollywood Sound: Music For The Movies
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4178 Release Date: 04/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Max Steiner,  Franz Waxman,  Erich Wolfgang Korngold,  David Raksin  ... 
    Conductor:  John Mauceri
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
    DVD: $23.99
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  • 21.
    Gemini - Menuhin & Grappelli Play Gershwin, Berlin, Etc
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 86230 Release Date: 02/15/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Jack Strachey,  David Raksin,  Vernon Duke  ... 
    Performer:  Denny Wright,  Ike Isaacs,  Lennie Bush,  Alan Clare  ... 
    Conductor:  Max Harris,  Nelson Riddle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Instrumental Ensemble,  Alan Clare Trio
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    CD: $14.99
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  • 22.
    Hommage À Carlos Guastavino / Jan Jakub Bokun, W. Kocyan
    Label: Dux Records   Catalog: 313 Release Date: 11/27/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  David Raksin,  Johannes Brahms,  Carlos Guastavino
    Performer:  Wojciech Kocyan,  Jan Jakub Bokun
    CD: $19.99
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  • 23.
    Menuhin & Grappelli Play... Gershwin, Berlin, Kern, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics Double Fforte   Catalog: 73380 Release Date: 11/02/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Hoagy Carmichael,  Jacob Gade,  Richard Rodgers,  Cole Porter  ... 
    Performer:  Martin Taylor,  Laurie Holloway,  Stéphane Grappelli,  Lennie Bush  ... 
    Conductor:  Max Harris,  Nelson Riddle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Instrumental Ensemble,  Alan Clare Trio
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  • 24.
    Cinema Serenade 2 - The Golden Age / Perlman, Williams
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 60773 Release Date: 07/27/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Chaplin,  Sir William Walton,  Erich Wolfgang Korngold,  Victor Young  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman
    Conductor:  John T. Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
    CD: $8.99
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  • 25.
    Music In Film
    Label: Sony Classical Npr Milestones   Catalog: 60991 Release Date: 01/12/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Malcolm Arnold,  James Horner,  John Barry,  John T. Williams  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Arnold,  James Horner,  John Barry,  John T. Williams  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Studio Orchestra,  Orchestra,  Skywalker Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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