August 3, 1997
Mark Swed refers to Bernard Herrmann, Alex North and David Raksin as part of "a new generation of talented and sophisticated American composers" discovered, cinematically, "by the '50s and '60s" ("They Shoot, They Score," July 27). While his reference is not wholly inaccurate (North's first principal film score was "A Streetcar Named Desire," released in 1951), Herrmann's major contributions to film was established in the 1940s with such scores as "Citizen Kane," "The Magnificent Ambersons" and "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir."
October 26, 1992
I'm writing to congratulate Martin Bernheimer, to thank him for his review of the latest atrocity from Philip Glass and to cede to him the preeminent position among those of us who have what it takes to appraise Glass' work as it deserves to be treated--a berth formerly (possibly) occupied by me ("The Met Says, 'Hello, Columbus,' " Oct. 14). I managed to endure "The Voyage" for about 45 minutes. I hoped for some kind of forward step, some evidence to indicate a possible answer to the unsettled question: Is Glass not able to realize that his "music" is bloody awful, or is he simply fraudulent--or both?
September 22, 1992
Herbert W. Spencer, a composer and arranger whose credits in Hollywood began when musical pictures were preeminent in the 1930s and continued through Oscar nominations for "Scrooge" and "Jesus Christ Superstar" in the 1970s, has died. David Raksin, the composer of "Laura" among many other popular songs, said Spencer was 87 when he died Friday in Los Angeles. "This is a town full of composers and arrangers," Raksin said Monday. "I'm one of the good ones. Herb was one of the great ones."
June 24, 1989
I am offended by Atkinson's characterization of the music of Mel Powell. According to Atkinson, "Powell writes the sort of horribly dissonant music that should be confined to bad horror films." In my opinion, a critic who writes that sort of horribly ignorant review should himself be confined--to musical matters that will not unduly tax his meager mind and minimalist ears. DAVID RAKSIN Adjunct Professor Music and Public Administration USC
May 26, 1989 |
The world will little note nor long remember what was said during "An Evening With Pierre Boulez and Frank Zappa" at UCLA. Should it care, the affair--part of the ongoing Festival Boulez--was videotaped. "Let's think of this as an aleatoric entertainment event," Zappa urged the capacity crowd in Schoenberg Hall Auditorium at one point Tuesday. On those terms, as a muted triumph of personality over content, the evening was not without simple--and simplistic--charms. Revelations in the dialogue, moderated by David Raksin, were few. The conversation ranged from Boulez's earnest description of how he tunes individual chords in Webern's orchestral music to Zappa's equally serious explanation of where he found his theory that AIDS is the result of a CIA conspiracy.
May 4, 1986 |
Although few Americans are aware of it, the Library of Congress contains one of the world's great archives of broadcast material: films, radio programs, television shows and sound recordings, much of it dating to the turn of the century. This rather mixed bag of essays deals with various elements of the library's vast holdings.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 17, 1986
How interesting to see what Podhoretz reveals about himself in his article. He ends with a particularly fine example of what one has learned to expect from him: " . . . the cancerous spread of pacifist inclinations that now pervade our political culture." If, according to this view, the "cancerous" illness is pacifism, does it not follow that the author considers war to be the "norm"? (No pun intended, although the temptation is strong.) What is to be said about a mind capable of such distortion?