Friday, November 02, 2007

Gorgeous Music, Classic Films

“Maurice Jarre: A Tribute to David Lean" absolutely overwhelmed me with its beautiful sights and sounds. This exceptional DVD contains a special concert put together and conducted by three-time Oscar winner Maurice Jarre to honor his late friend and colleague, the legendary director David Lean. It also includes an in-depth, candid interview with Jarre about composing the film scores for Lean’s “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Dr. Zhivago,” “A Passage to India,” and “Ryan’s Daughter.”

The relationship these two men established became one of filmdom’s most successful collaborations between a director and his composer. Personally, I think “Somewhere My Love” ranks as one of the top five musical themes from a motion picture, ever. And what a thrill it is to hear this haunting background song played by London’s acclaimed Royal Philharmonic Orchestra while dramatic scenes from “Dr. Zhivago” flash on a huge screen above the musicians!

Jarre tells behind-the-scenes anecdotes in his revealing interview with Christian Lauliac, including why producer Sam Spiegel refused to pay for the composer’s travel from Paris to the Academy Awards Ceremony when he was nominated for "Lawrence of Arabia." I won’t give that away, because it would be a shame to spoil the fun of hearing Jarre’s version of events. Although the conversation is in French with English subtitles, even a Yank like me can see how much Jarre enjoys telling this story.

However, the most enlightening segment of Jarre's concert performance involves his demonstration of the skill needed to coordinate background music with a film. Using a particular scene from “A Passage to India,” Jarre shows how it’s done in a musical exercise that comes across as very suspenseful indeed.

“Maurice Jarre: A Tribute to David Lean,” released by Milan Entertainment, is as much a tribute to its immensely talented composer as it is to the remarkable film director being honored. This DVD should be required viewing for movie buffs and for anyone who loves great music.

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