Monday, March 30, 2009

MAURICE JARRE (13 September 1924 – 29 March 2009)

Another legend of film scores has passed away. My deepest sympathies to his family and friends, and of course, his legions of fans.

Jarre composed several concert works, he is best known for his film scores for motion pictures, particularly those of David Lean: Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Doctor Zhivago (1965), and A Passage to India (1984). All three of these scores won Academy Awards. Other notable scores of his include The Message (1976), Dead Poets Society (1989) and Ghost (1990). Jarre was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 1961 Jarre's music career experienced a major turn when the movie producer Sam Spiegel asked him to write the score of Lawrence of Arabia which won Jarre his first Academy Award.[3] He followed with The Train (1964) for director John Frankenheimer, then had another great success in Doctor Zhivago, which earned him his second Oscar. His score for David Lean's Ryan's Daughter (1970), set in Ireland, completely eschews traditional Irish music styles, owing to Lean's preferences. The song "It was a Good Time," from Ryan's Daughter went on to be recorded by musical stars such as Liza Minnelli who used it in her critically acclaimed television special Liza With a Z as well as others during the 1970s. He contributed the music for Luchino Visconti's The Damned (1969), John Huston's The Man Who Would Be King (1975).

He was again nominated for an Academy award for scoring The Message (aka Mohammad, Messenger of God) in 1976 for the director and producer Moustapha Akkad. He followed with Top Secret! (1984), Julia and Julia (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989)—for which he won a British Academy Award—and Jacob's Ladder (1990).

In the 1970s and 1980s, Jarre turned his hand to science fiction, with scores for The Island at the Top of the World (1974), Enemy Mine (1985) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985). The latter is written for full orchestra, augmented by a chorus, four grand pianos, a pipe organ, digeridoo, fujara, a battery of exotic percussion and three ondes Martenot (which feature in several of Jarre's other scores, including Lawrence of Arabia, Jesus of Nazareth, The Bride) and Prancer (1989).

In 1990 Jarre was again nominated for an Academy Award scoring the supernatural love story / thriller Ghost. His music for the final scene of the film is based on "Unchained Melody" composed by fellow film composer Alex North. Other films for which he provided the music include Witness (1985), his passionate love theme from Fatal Attraction (1987), and the moody electronic soundscapes of After Dark, My Sweet (1990).

His television work includes the score for the miniseries Jesus of Nazareth (1977), directed by Franco Zeffirelli, Shogun (1980), and the theme for PBS's Great Performances.

Jarre scored his last film in 2001, a TV movie about the Holocaust entitled Uprising.


liamke said...

He was a great composer,a gentleman!
I meet Maurice in Gent ,he was invited for the Worldsountrack awards,Dirk Brosse was orchestrator that evening,he was very happy with the invitation.


tony said...

Hello my friend,
it's truly a loss. We're so fortunate to have an abundance of film scores from this genius.