Monday, March 30, 2009

Maurice Jarre, RIP

The first time I heard of Maurice Jarre was with his majestic and sweeping musical score for Moustapha Akkad's 1976 religious epic The Message. This was probably sometime in the mid-'80s, so I was probably around six or seven years old when I saw it . Even at that young age, I knew there was something tremendous about this man's music, such that I committed his name to memory.

It was only later that I realized the full breadth and scope of Jarre's contribution to the world of film music, ranging from the distinctive themes from Dr. Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia to the bombast of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome to the tragedy-tinged reworking of "Unchained Melody" in Ghost. These were, of course, only the barest hint of his mammoth filmography.

Jarre, who passed away this weekend at 84 after a bout with cancer, was among the last of the old school maestros such as Elmer Bernstein and Miklos Rozsa and Bernard Hermann, all of whom put such a distinctive sonic stamp on the movies of yore, and his death signals the end of yet another chapter in Hollywood history.

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