Film Score Monthly
FSM HOME MESSAGE BOARD FSM CDs FSM ONLINE RESOURCES FUN STUFF ABOUT US  SEARCH FSM   
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2013 - 3:36 PM   
 By:   Graham S. Watt   (Member)

Hello again - Here's another ill-conceived rant, which I hope isn't too streamofconsciousness...

I've been revisiting a lot of David Raksin recently, thanks to the Kritzy "Preminger at Fox" set. That got me spinning others in my collection by the same composer - FOREVER AMBER, TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN, THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL etc, and I was surprised at how often a phrase, or a chord, or a use of counterpoint reminded me of.... so I was thinking, "What DOES that remind me of?", and more often than not the answer would be something by Hugo Friedhofer or Alex North. On other occasions I would be reminded of a previous, or sometimes posterior score by Leonard Rosenman or George Duning. And so I started wondering if there is a "common denominator" in those composers' works, something that ties them together. In my caveman terms I think that all the aforementioned people seemed to straddle the Golden Age and the Silver Age - some with more of a foot in one era than the other, but that happened with a fair amount of composers who I would inadvertently pigeonhole outwith that flexible core.

So, for you, what is it with Raksin, Friedhofer, North and Rosenman that binds them together - if you believe they are bound together at all?

Another streamofconsciousness question - If you like Raksin (for example), do you also have the others amongst your favourites?

George Duning kind of almost falls outside the core group, but he has enough in common with them to warrant my stuffing him in with the rest. He sometimes seems a "lighter" composer than the others, but he could be as pungent and forceful and modern as anyone.

Going way off on a tangent - Les Baxter. I am constantly surprised at how often a Raksin phrase will remind me of Les Baxter. Those overlapping fanfares at the start of TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN could almost be any Baxter logo for an A.I.P film. So what's the "reason" for that (if there is one)?

By the way, I have a book here... George Burt's "The Art of Film Music." I did read it a while back. Good stuff if I recall correctly. I can't be bothered right now to look at it in depth, but the cover states "Special Emphasis on Hugo Friedhofer, Alex North, David Raksin and Leonard Rosenman." I don't think he mentioned WHY he singled out those particular composers, but maybe that takes us back to my original musings...

Over to you.

 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2013 - 10:56 AM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

This is the book you're referring to, right Graham?



I have this book, too - but it's packed away in storage.

 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2013 - 11:06 AM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

So, for you, what is it with Raksin, Friedhofer, North and Rosenman that binds them together - if you believe they are bound together at all?


I don't consider them as bound together at all.

The common demoninator is that they were all born American citizens and did not emigrate to Hollywood as the Europeans had done.

 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2013 - 11:06 AM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

Another streamofconsciousness question - If you like Raksin (for example), do you also have the others amongst your favourites?


I don't like Raksin.

 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2013 - 11:48 AM   
 By:   JohnnyG   (Member)

So, for you, what is it with Raksin, Friedhofer, North and Rosenman that binds them together - if you believe they are bound together at all?


I don't consider them as bound together at all.

The common demoninator is that they were all born American citizens and did not emigrate to Hollywood as the Europeans had done.



In fact, they had something in common apart from their nationality - they all wrote music which in many cases seriously challenged the mind of the listener, i.e. music which was not easy (and easily attractive) on first listen...

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2013 - 1:26 PM   
 By:   Graham S. Watt   (Member)

That's the book, Tone. I'd be interested to hear why you don't like David Raksin's music, especially if you do like the works of the others mentioned...

I suspect that there's something in what JohnnyG says. And yet all of them were capable of writing some absolutely gorgeous scores... still, there always seemed to be a special twist to them which made them somehow more... cerebral?

I'm still flailing away in the dark here. Raksin, Friedhofer and North etc weren't the only composers who seemed to bridge the gap between the Golden Age and the Silver Age, or have a foot in the two eras. Both Herrmann and Rozsa did, but I'd never lump them in with the first group, perhaps because their voices were so distinctive in everything they did. It only takes about five seconds to recognize a Herrmann or a Rozsa score. With the others it can take a bit longer, although they never sounded "anonymous" to me. I wonder why I set Franz Waxman aside too from the original group. In a way he has all the attributes to fit him in, but he doesn't quite sit happily with the rest, at least in my fevered mind.

Clutching at straws I know, and being swept away in the current.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2013 - 2:25 PM   
 By:   Charlie Chan   (Member)

I don't usually care much for Raksin either Tone Row. However, and this is a big however, Raksin's music for Laura is as gorgeous a score that anyone has ever produced.

Regards

CC

 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2013 - 3:01 PM   
 By:   JohnnyG   (Member)

More than LAURA, I consider FOREVER AMBER to be one of the greatest scores ever.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2013 - 8:52 PM   
 By:   PFK   (Member)


I too feel that Raksin, Friedhofer, North and Herrmann seem to bridge the golden age and silver age too. They were men in two worlds.

And don't forget Elmer Bernstein. He started in 1950 and ended in the 2,000s. Many of his 50s and 60s scores were golden age yet his jazz (Walk on the Wild Side etc.) were silver age "modern."

Rozsa's late 40s film noir scores were different than many of his golden age fellow composers.

 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2013 - 8:34 AM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

"The Bad and the Beautiful" and "Two Weeks in Another Town" are dazzling film music works of art.

 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2013 - 3:50 PM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

That's the book, Tone. I'd be interested to hear why you don't like David Raksin's music, especially if you do like the works of the others mentioned...


I do like the other three: North is my favorite; Rosenman is in my top 10, and Friedhofer is my favorite Golden Ager.

That I don't care for Raksin's music is one reason why I don't consider these guys as bound together.

I'll attempt to articulate later on why Raksin doesn't appeal to me ...

 
 Posted:   Oct 22, 2013 - 7:26 PM   
 By:   Ag^Janus   (Member)

I'll attempt to articulate later on why Raksin doesn't appeal to me ...

I'll issue a "please explain" here.

 
 Posted:   Oct 23, 2013 - 3:08 PM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

I'll attempt to articulate later on why Raksin doesn't appeal to me ...

I'll issue a "please explain" here.


Explain why I said "later on" or why Raksin's music doesn't resonate with me?

Since both Graham & ajhfsm asked, I'll try to answer swiftly.

First, I should state than I own FSM's 5-disc Raksin @ M-G-M box and had recently gotten Kritzerland's Preminger @ Fox in September.

The Kritzerland Preminger is rather disappointing to me. There're a few Raksin scores from FSM's set that I like (particularly THE MAN WITH A CLOAK), so I prefer the FSM.

None of Raksin's soundtrack albums, though, impress me & Raksin does not enter onto any of my favorites lists.

This is not to say that I don't appreciate note-spinning!

I love note-spinnings by Jerry Goldsmith or Dimitri Tiomkin or Daniele Amfitheatrof - but none of those by Raksin.

Raksin's aural 'fingerprints' possess unfortunate characteristics not unlike those belonging to family relatives whose voices or behavior annoys or irritates. Just as one may be glad when a specific uncle leaves the premises, I feel rather relieved when Raksin's music ceases.

Why?

I'm not very certain, to tell the truth.

I love dense music & I love polyphonic compositions. However, Raksin's individual brand of dense polyphony sounds cluttered to me. Congested. Like a traffic jam/choke on a highway.

Sometimes I wish Raksin would reduce the thickness of his music; other times, his music noodles around & chatters away when simple & sooner cessation would have had more of an impact (with me, anyway).

I could whine on, but I expect those who are not enamored with Raksin may already get the sense of what I mention here. Perhaps your listening experiences with Raksin music has yielded similar observations/reactions, or - maybe - your experiences are fundamentally different from my description and you're wondering "what clutter?" or "what congestion"?

It all filters down to one's tastes, though.

Most of the composers (whose music we love) have - at least once - issued a musical work which has polarized us. There existed an initial spark of attraction which made us lifetime fan of that composer. With David Raksin & myself, no such spark has ever occurred...

 
 Posted:   Oct 23, 2013 - 3:41 PM   
 By:   JohnnyG   (Member)



There's absolutely nothing to criticize here and everything to marvel at, ToneRow.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 23, 2013 - 7:45 PM   
 By:   Don Norman   (Member)



There's absolutely nothing to criticize here and everything to marvel at, ToneRow.


I've got to agree, that was gorgeous! Thanks!

One of my all-time favorite tracks is: "Nocturne And Theme" from 'The Bad And The Beautiful'. What is your opinion of it?

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 23, 2013 - 9:13 PM   
 By:   PFK   (Member)



There's absolutely nothing to criticize here and everything to marvel at, ToneRow.




Just beautiful!

It's one of my favorite Raksin scores along with Laura and The Bad and the Beautiful. smile

 
 Posted:   Oct 23, 2013 - 9:19 PM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

First, I should state than I own FSM's 5-disc Raksin @ M-G-M box and had recently gotten Kritzerland's Preminger @ Fox in September.

None of Raksin's soundtrack albums, though, impress me & Raksin does not enter onto any of my favorites lists.

Raksin's aural 'fingerprints' possess unfortunate characteristics not unlike those belonging to family relatives whose voices or behavior annoys or irritates. Just as one may be glad when a specific uncle leaves the premises, I feel rather relieved when Raksin's music ceases.







Which of the films in those sets have you seen?

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 24, 2013 - 3:18 AM   
 By:   Graham S. Watt   (Member)

FOREVER AMBER is also my favourite Raksin score, and one of my Top 20 scores of all time by anyone. But I don't really want this to turn into a Raksin appreciation thread, even if he does need all the help he can get. Nor should we be questioning people's tastes - although it was I who initially asked TR why he dislikes Raksin's music. I was interested because, as I stated in my original post, after listening to a lot of Raksin recently, I kept being reminded of.... Friedhofer, North, Rosenman, Duning (to a certain extent) and Les Baxter (perhaps most surprisingly). So I have all those composers kind of sharing a compartment in my head, even if their limbs often stick out the windows and doors on the many occasions in which they seem not to be "bound together" at all. And Mr Row has chucked Raksin off the train altogether, seeing no connection to the others. That's fine and makes sense.

So, getting back to my original post, and at the risk of being a pedantic bore ("Too late", they cried), I still wonder what the common denominator is that connects the composers in question. It's OK to see no connection at all - maybe I'm alone after all - but if I've got Dave, Hugo, Alex, Georgie, Len and Les all crowded uncomfortably into the carriage, I've got many who perhaps SHOULD be there (American, Golden-Silver bridge etc) but who are on a totally different wagon. I mentioned Herrmann as a case apart, but I'd add Bernstein too.

I'll try not to lose any sleep over this, but further observations are welcome!

 
 Posted:   Oct 24, 2013 - 3:32 PM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

There's absolutely nothing to criticize here and everything to marvel at, ToneRow.

I feel the opposite, though. This clip of Raksin's FOREVER AMBER does nothing for me.
"British"-sounding themes are welcome, but this particular item does not entice me to listen further.

 
 Posted:   Oct 24, 2013 - 3:42 PM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

Which of the films in those sets have you seen?

I own WHIRLPOOL on DVD, but I haven't seen any of the other titles within the FSM & Kritzerland sets.

Other films I have (or had) on home video which were scored by Raksin are:

  • BIGGER THAN LIFE ('56)
  • NIGHT TIDE ('61)
  • WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH HELEN? ('71)

    I watched BIGGER THAN LIFE only once because I was rather turned-off by Raksin's music whilst viewing it.

    The VHS tape of NIGHT TIDE which I had for a short while was discarded by me because it was such a great disappointment.

    WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH HELEN? emerges as the most satisfying of this trio, but hardly a favorite of any sort.

  •  
    You must log in or register to post.
      Go to page:    
    © 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.