Every body knows the name David Raksin, right? The composer? No? His most famous song “Laura” from the Otto Preminger 1944 movie of the same name was only the second most popular song ever.
In my own musical explorations, the name David Raksin soon became associated in my mind with well-crafted tunes, with a richness and an innovation, and it only grew over the years. (It didn’t seem to matter what he did –even the Mister Magoo cartoons had that DR touch.)
[My new book –“This should never have happened”, which will be ready soon– has quite a sub-theme about the music I was exposed to at home in Cobh, Co. Cork, Ireland, as I grew up –from my mother’s wonderful talent as a pianist on. The book is in final editing now, and it was a reference to Movie Composer Bernard Herrmann that I was checking today, that led me back to David Raksin, which led me back to that interesting tune “Laura” (it has an interesting history, for another time )
I google David Raskin’s name –he died in 2004, by the way– and get some reminiscences of his about composer colleagues of his.
So –finally– I get to the David Raksin story: I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
It is in the voice of DR about a friend of his, movie composer Korngold (his first name escapes me for the moment)
Says Raksin of Korngold:
“My favorite story concerns his relationship with the composer, Max Steiner, his friend and rival at Warner Brothers.
One day Steiner said to him, ‘Tell me something, Korngold. We’ve both been at Warner’s for ten years now, and in that time your music has gotten progressively worse and worse and mine has been getting better and better. Why do you suppose that is?’
And without missing a beat my father answered, ‘I tell you vy dat iss, Steiner. Dat iss because you are stealing from me and I am stealing from you.’ ”