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Waxman, Franz (1906-1967)

Franz Waxman

born: 24 December 1906
died: 24 February 1967
country: USA

Franz Waxman (1906–1967) grew up in Dresden and he had already composed several film scores by the time he was forced to flee Europe in 1934. Notable among them was Fritz Lang’s Liliom, starring Charles Boyer (based on the same Ferenc Molnár play that Rodgers and Hammerstein were later to adapt for Carousel). In Hollywood he quickly became established as one of the finest film composers (alongside the likes of Steiner and Korngold) and soon accumulated an extraordinary list of credits. In 1940 he composed two celebrated scores, for Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca and for George Cukor’s The Philadelphia Story. The following year he scored Hitchcock’s Suspicion and he worked with Hitchcock again in 1947 for the courtroom drama The Paradine Case. He won his first Oscar for Sunset Boulevard (1950), the classic film noir starring William Holden and Gloria Swanson, directed by Billy Wilder. Among Waxman’s friends in Hollywood was Jascha Heifetz for whom he wrote two Fantasies based on Bizet’s Carmen and Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde in 1946.

from notes by Nigel Simeone © 2015


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