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This is a comments thread about FSM CD: David Raksin at M-G-M
 
 Posted:   Feb 16, 2009 - 7:48 PM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)

This is just plain HISTORIC, no question.

The great thing about Raksin's music is there's always more to hear in future listenings. Always.

I've long looked forward to hearing THE MAN WITH A CLOAK since one source called it "the first film to employ the 12-tone scale in its scoring" and went on to say "David Raksin's music is fittingly sinister."

I am ordering this title N-O-W.

 
 Posted:   Feb 16, 2009 - 7:53 PM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)

Hey, this has got the Toy Concertino! I've only seen that as printed concert music. I'm looking forward to hearing that!

 
 Posted:   Feb 24, 2009 - 11:23 AM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)

I got mine last night and found that the sound was surprisingly crisp and clear.

I started out by searching for source music, since I thought he did really great arrangement for small dance ensembles. Skipping around I didn't find much, but did learn that this release has a LOT of his prettiest music. It was very nice to hear.

I was only able to get through GROUNDS FOR MARRIAGE and THE GIRL IN WHITE. The concertino was a very fun little piece (too little! I look forward to hearing the long version one day).

GIRL was written in a style very much in keeping with the MGM style of sweet string melodies - a welcome change from the score I'm used to hearing from him.

Only 5 and 1/2 more hours of listening to go!

 
 Posted:   May 22, 2009 - 11:02 AM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)

A small-but-interesting fact that did not make it into the notes on THE REFORMER AND THE REDHEAD (1950) is that the main theme got re-used in THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (1952).

If you listen to "Smoke That Cigarette" from the latter (apparently not used in the final film), you'll hear a very nice dance arrangement of the tune (for only 29 seconds, sadly).

 
 Posted:   May 25, 2009 - 3:23 PM   
 By:   Steve Johnson   (Member)

This set is so well produced and the scores are as good as one would expect from the composer. It surprises me that it has not sold out at 1500 copies, but Raksin, like Rosenman is not a mass appeal composer.

 
 Posted:   May 25, 2009 - 8:27 PM   
 By:   Gary S.   (Member)

It is a tremendous set for us golden age fans. Those that like sonic wallpaper will not enjoy it. It has this rare concept called melody. smile As does the Mandel Trio which I play as often as I play the Raksin.

 
 Posted:   May 25, 2009 - 8:59 PM   
 By:   Mr. Jack   (Member)

It surprises me that it has not sold out at 1500 copies

With a $60 pricetag, I'm not particularly surprised. Hell, those marvellous Intrada Amazing Stories sets still haven't sold out after three years, and those cost half what the Raksin set does.

 
 Posted:   May 26, 2009 - 8:54 AM   
 By:   Lukas Kendall   (Member)


We knew this would be a tough sell especially during these tough economic times but it was important to us to do it.

Lukas

 
 
 Posted:   May 26, 2009 - 9:52 AM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

This box set is a treasure, and when it does go out of print, with only 1500 copies around, it will truly be a real and valuable collector's item.

I've seen all the films whose scores are collected here, some nearly 60 years ago. They were/are all quality productions, with major stars, and in the typical MGM high-gloss style. I enjoyed them all then, as well as those I've seen again in recent years, though some hold your continuing interest more than others. This box also reflects an unexpressed tribute to the massive variety of subjects and genres that Hollywood was turning out on a regular basis in those days. It will never happen here again.

I have been listening to this set systematically, savoring each disc.

I can remember seeing ACROSS THE WIDE MISSOURI in 1951 when I was 11. Its gorgeous location Technicolor photography and score impressed me then, but it seemed short on running time for the kind of story that was developing. It was a few years later that I found out how drastically the film had been altered in the final cut before its release. This score CD at least gives us a small glimpse of what that film MIGHT have been like. I am tremendously impressed by Raksin's work on it---and beyond the action cues, there are just gorgeous melodic sections relating primarily to Gable's love affair with the character played by actress Maria Elena Marques. This score is highly recommended to fans of the western genre. Much of it has that "open spaces" feel which was so cliche in western scores, BUT WHICH IS SO RIGHT---you actually DO feel that way when you're out in the wilds of the American West. (I'd like to make a special note here that though I've forgotten precisely all those who did the orchestrations for this title, they are absolutely spectacular.)

For years I've been calling on Lukas to combine Raksin's scores for KIND LADY and MAN WITH A CLOAK onto one disc---and he finally did. KIND LADY is a fascinating drama---ripe for a contemporary remake---with a wonderful period score which is, on the whole quite melodic, fitting the upbeat character, however put-upon, played by Ethel Barrymore. I love it! In a very different vein is MAN WITH A CLOAK, a score bringing out the more intellectual and experimental musical side of Raksin. This is a more difficult listen than LADY, but what a fascinating combination these two scores, by one composer, make on one disc. They give just a small indication of how versatile the composer of yesterday had to be in his assignments---sometimes one coming right after the next.

I was very surprised by THE GIRL IN WHITE. I've seen the movie in recent years and I hadn't remembered it as being quite so lighthearted and requiring such a melodic score. It is lovely, but seems very different from Raksin's other work on this set, and yet it's another indicator of his wide-ranging abilities.

The "Toy Concertino" from GROUNDS FOR MARRIAGE is charming---somehow it reminds me of something Bronislau Kaper might turn out---and, in fact, Kaper was the composer of record on GROUNDS FOR MARRIAGE, so maybe that was the point. It was wonderful to hear it again in this fidelity, though I HAVE been listening to "Toy Concertino" regularly for the 58 years since I bought the soundtrack album for the film in 1951.

I'm slow at absorbing all of these new releases so I've only sampled some of the other material on this box and won't comment yet (but I am already enthralled with Eydie Gorme's singing of the title song from UNTIL THEY SAIL---beautiful.!)

I hope those who are sitting on the fence about this release will go ahead and make that purchase. You will be rewarded musically, with great variety, AND it really IS a great deal. Not only is it fabulous, classic filmmusic, but it's on 5 discs, making them only $12 apiece!!! Whatta deal!!!

 
 
 Posted:   May 26, 2009 - 10:19 AM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

I second Manderley's opinion of this set. Raksin's versatility is mindboggling. My personal favorite in the set is UNTIL THEY SAIL. I've played it over and over.

Speaking of Raksin, I watched SEPARATE TABLES the other night on MGM HD. Another fine Raksin score I would like to own. Does anyone know if the original recordings still exist?

 
 Posted:   May 26, 2009 - 11:58 AM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)



Speaking of Raksin, I watched SEPARATE TABLES the other night on MGM HD. Another fine Raksin score I would like to own. Does anyone know if the original recordings still exist?


I seem to recall a discussion of this in another thread, that included information about separate music tracks on a video release (on laserdisc, maybe?). A search of this forum will probably get it for you.

I do recall that SOMETHING exists in the form of the composer's personal recordings, since he issued some cuts from the music through the Library of Congress.

 
 
 Posted:   May 26, 2009 - 2:13 PM   
 By:   PFK   (Member)

I agree with you Manderley 100%. This is a GREAT box set of David Raksin. It's really a bargain for 5 full CDs and a huge color booklet too. I too especially like "Until They Sail." I never thought 40 or 50 years ago I would ever own these wonderful scores. Thanks Lukas!

 
 
 Posted:   May 26, 2009 - 2:34 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

.....I agree with you Manderley 100%. This is a GREAT box set of David Raksin.....


Ahhhhh.....you're just biased PFK! You like ANY "Golden Age" composer!!! big grin

 
 
 Posted:   May 26, 2009 - 2:37 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

.....I second Manderley's opinion of this set. Raksin's versatility is mindboggling. My personal favorite in the set is UNTIL THEY SAIL. I've played it over and over.

Speaking of Raksin, I watched SEPARATE TABLES the other night on MGM HD. Another fine Raksin score I would like to own. Does anyone know if the original recordings still exist?.....



It's too bad we aren't getting any Universal material from the "Golden Age" period.

Raksin's score for the Rock Hudson/Cyd Charisse seagoing adventure drama, TWILIGHT FOR THE GODS, released around 1958, is wonderful!

 
 
 Posted:   May 26, 2009 - 2:48 PM   
 By:   PFK   (Member)

Manderley, how did you know?

Glad you are enjoying all the golden age CDs as much as I am ....... Peter

 
 Posted:   May 26, 2009 - 3:03 PM   
 By:   mgh   (Member)

I too have to agree that this set is astounding; my favorites are ACROSS THE WIDE MISSOURI and MAN WITH CLOAK; if you love film music, you should have this.

 
 
 Posted:   May 26, 2009 - 3:32 PM   
 By:   robby bryant   (Member)

A silly question, perhaps, but how does one pronounce "Raksin"? Is it "Rakes-in", with a long "a", or is it "Racks-in", like "rack 'em up, let's play pool"?

 
 Posted:   May 26, 2009 - 3:37 PM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

or is it "Racks-in", like "rack 'em up, let's play pool"?

That's the one, Minnesota Fats! wink

 
 
 Posted:   May 26, 2009 - 3:54 PM   
 By:   TonyJ   (Member)


The Raksin Set is my favorite FSM release of the last 12 months. 8 complete Golden Age scores (and all of them good) on 5 CDs for only $60 -- it's a terrific bargain. My favorites (so far): Until They Sail, Across the Wide Missouri, and The Magnificent Yankee.

Lukas, any chance we'll a similar Stothart Box in the future? What about another Korngold double-CD set?

 
 Posted:   May 26, 2009 - 4:19 PM   
 By:   Sigerson Holmes   (Member)

A silly question, perhaps, but how does one pronounce "Raksin"? Is it "Rakes-in", with a long "a", or is it "Racks-in", like "rack 'em up, let's play pool"?


I never had trouble with Raksin.

Now Duning, on the other hand . . .

(--And . . . Donen?)

 
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