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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Maurice Jarre (1924-2009)

Maurice Jarre (1924-2009)

Laurence of Arabia (1963)

The Train (1964)

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Mohammad Messenger of God (1976)

Maurice Jarre (b. September 24, 1924, Lyons, France - March 29, 2009) was a French composer and conductor. Although he 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.

Jarre started studying music at a late age, unlike many of his fellow musicians. He first enrolled in the engineering school at the Sorbonne. However, he decided to pursue his education in music instead. He left the Sorbonne, against his father's will, and enrolled at Conservatoire de Paris to study composition (with Arthur Honegger), harmony and chose percussion as his major instrument. He became the Théâtre National Populaire director, and recorded his first movie score in France in 1951.

In 1961 Jarre musical life experienced a major turn when the movie producer Sam Spiegel asked him to write the score of Lawrence of Arabia for which he won his first Academy Award.He followed with The Train (1964) and another great success in Doctor Zhivago that earned him his second Academy Award.

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.

In the 80's, Jarre turned his hand to science fiction, with scores for 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, and The Bride).

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

Jarre wrote mainly for orchestras, but began to favor to synthesized music in the 1980's, mostly for practical rather than aesthetic motivations, many critics feel. Jarre denies this and has pointed out that his electronic score for Witness was actually more laborious, time-consuming and expensive to produce than an orchestral score. A number of his scores from that era also feature electronic/acoustic blends, such as Gorillas in the Mist, Dead Poets Society, and Jacob's Ladder.

His most famous works to date include the broad unique Lawrence of Arabia and the Russian-flavored Doctor Zhivago.

Also wrote the music to the 1966 film Grand Prix, starring James Garner and Yves Montand and directed by John Frankenheimer.

Jarre has been married four times.

He is the father of composer Jean Michel and screenwriter Kevin.

[8924 Desmond / 8924 Jarre / 8924 Mancini]

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