Hollywood’s “No Man” Leonid V. Raab (1900–1968)


  • N. William Snedden




Orchestrator, Arranger, Broadway, Hollywood, Leonid Raab, Film Score Orchestration


Leonid Raab was one of Hollywood’s most prolific orchestrators of Golden Age film music. However,   his profile is absent from standard reference works on the cinema. Raab’s career is examined using contempora- neous sources including a journal in Russian belonging to his friend Boris Artzybasheff, translated here for the   first time. Emphasis is given to Raab’s alliances with fellow émigré studio musicians, artists, and expats in thewider community in Hollywood. Born in Tiraspol, Russia, Raab started his career in New York City as a copyist and arranger with the music publishers T.B. Harms, working under Robert Russell Bennett on musicals such as Show Boat (1927). He moved from Broadway to RKO Radio Pictures in 1929 and, following the Great Depression, was employed by MGM orchestrating Herbert Stothart’s scores for The Merry Widow, David Copperfield, and A Tale of Two Cities. From 1936 to 1967, Raab collaborated mainly with the composer Franz Waxman, orchestrating some 100 scores, including Rebecca, Edge of Darkness, Objective Burma, Sunset Boulevard, A Place in the Sun, and Taras Bulba. A comprehensive filmography (~400 scores) is presented, together with some rare family memorabilia and, among other things, an orchestral score which Raab arranged of the song “Glory to God” composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff.


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Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 3, Musical Compositions, 1942 New Series, Vol. 37 (Copyright Office, The Library of Congress, Washington, 1942).

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How to Cite

Snedden, N. W. (2021). Hollywood’s “No Man” Leonid V. Raab (1900–1968). Journal of Film Music. https://doi.org/10.1558/jfm.17524