Review: Essential Maurice Jarre Film Music Collection, The
3.5 / 5 Stars
Whether it be a military-esque march or a overly dramatic romantic cue, Jarre can mold himself into almost any style and thematic circumstance. When dropped into the synthetics of the 1980s musical scene, Jarre went on to produce some of his most memorable themes by adeptly making use of synthesizers in such scores as Dreamscape and the elegant themes in Witness (which appears as Track 13 on the first CD as well as an orchestral version of the same piece as Track 11 on the second CD). Many of his scores are, what most could consider, another coloring to the strong personalities of the main characters and situations that many of his more famous film works have had. From Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif all the way to Harrison Ford and Tim Robbins, Jarre's themes give the characters and the situations they are in more depth that may have not been overtly displayed by the actors on film. The bold brashness of Lawrence of Arabia to the melodic waltzes of Dr. Zhivago to the paranoid airs of Jacob's Ladder and disturbed beauty of The Mosquito Coast, Jarre captures that extra depth through melodies and themes that are custom made for those characters. Not to be sexist, Maurice has also treated his female subjects with just as much care. From the afore mentioned Dr. Zhivago and "Laura's Theme" to Sigourney Weaver's portrayal of Dianne Fossey in Gorillas In The Mist and its own haunting score, he's leveled an even hand between subject matter and the sexes.
It would only serve naturally that a fully packed tribute to this artist would arrive sooner or later. Silva, in conjunction with their regular re-recording cohorts of Paul Bateman, Nic Raine and Tony Bremner conducting The City of Prague Philharmonic and The Philharmonia Orchestras, disclose the virtues of a relatively good cross section of Jarre's most popular and unforgettable works. Personally, there is enough good stuff to fill a third CD and possibly a fourth, I just wish that would and could have happened, as should have also been the case of Silva's Jerry Goldsmith compilation.
As mentioned before, the tracks contained on the CDs are mainly from Jarre's more popular work, including Ghost, The Professionals, A Passage To India and Ryan's Daughter, as well as the David Lean classics, Dr. Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia. Some of the sections of music are broken down by collaboration, like the works of David Lean, which will help the folks with the itchy finger on the CD remote to find just what they are or aren't looking to listen to. There are some more slightly obscure works, such as Topaz, Red Sun, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, and Is Paris Burning?, but even those are known by the aficionados as notable works.
I would have enjoyed seeing some pieces from Enemy Mine, Top Secret!, and even Firefox, all but the latter receiving some treatment on some kind of release. Silva also neglected everything, and I do mean everything, from Jarre's early career. Granted it doesn't have "Hollywood" written all over it, but at least, like in the Kubrick compilation of last year, provide a suite of lesser known works for fans to listen to. I've heard some of Jarre's work for Top Secret!, and being one in the small number of comedies he's worked on, would have been an enjoyable, yet odd inclusion. (Note: If you find the song compilation for that movie on LP or cassette, don't pass it up!)
This, is not to say that you should ever pass this collection by. By all means, if you like any of the previously mentioned films, it's worth the dough to go and buy these CDs. For those of you who don't have deep pockets, this may also be the only way you can get a sampling of Jarre's music that appears on out of print albums such as The Year Of Living Dangerously and No Way Out, and The Man Who Would Be King. The music is competently directed and played by the orchestras mentioned earlier, and luckily they've had time to practice on several other compilation albums before they took a swing a this latest offering. With so many of the giants of film music now under Silva's belt for compilation treatment, one could only guess if someone like Elmer Bernstein is next?! Who knows! Keep up the good work Silva.
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