I’m in The Wall Street Journal today, a special midweek appearance–I wrote a piece for the Leisure & Arts page, a short tribute to Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith, and David Raksin, all of whom died recently. Here’s part of what I said:
Three important American composers died this past month. Had they written operas or symphonies, their deaths would have been front-page news. Instead, Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith and David Raksin scored Hollywood films, and so they never got the respect they deserved. (Raksin’s New York Times obituary, for instance, was written not by a music critic but by Aljean Harmetz, an entertainment reporter.) Yet their best work was fully deserving of critical attention….
Why weren’t these talented men more widely known in their lifetimes? Because the art they practiced was long treated as an ugly stepchild by classical music critics, most of whom took it for granted that anyone who chose to work in Hollywood had sold his soul to the devil of commercialism for the highest possible price. Even a distinguished, solidly established European composer like Mikl