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Saturday, January 17, 2009


Maurice Jarre: Concert Works
Film Score Monthly Vol.12 No.1 (US)
7 Tracks 72:44 mins

An interesting historical document, if nothing else, this new FSM release features concert works composed by Maurice Jarre during the ten year period between 1951 and 1961, all of them originally broadcast by Radio Television Francaise, the latest performance dating from 1974.
Now, before you Jarre fans jump for joy, I have to warn you that this is not the Jarre we have come to know and love through his film scores. Indeed, it is hard to imagine this is the composer of such memorable themes as Lara's Theme from Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia. No, rather like Ennio Morricone, it seems that the composer had a very much different approach to his concert music and, frankly, I found some of it hard to even call "music," so excruciatingly painful did I find it that I couldn't even finish the disc.
Interestingly, however, what I did learn from it was that Jarre's fondness for the Ondes Martenot, used often in his later film scores actually dated from the earliest piece included on this disc, the Three Dances for Ondes Martenot and Percussion. The other works presented here are the Passacaglia to the Memory of Arthuir Honegger; The Night Watch; Mobiles for Violin and Orchestra; and the Ancient Suite for Percussion Instruments and Piano.
The accompanying booklet is as detailed as always, with notes on the composer and his work, together with Jacques Hiver's introductions to each of the pieces presented.
If you like your music challenging (to say the least), or if you are a Jarre completist, you may want to take a chance on this, but I'm afraid it's just not my cup of tea at all. Still, I am glad it is out there, all the same; and you can of course get an idea of what to expect by visiting, where you can listen to samples, find further details and order your copy of this 1500 unit limited release.


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