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Maurice Jarre; OBITUARY.

THE list of composers sounded out to write the music for David Lean's epic film, Laurence of Arabia, in the early 1960s, takes in the great and the good of international musicians.

William Walton, Malcolm Arnold, Benjamin Britten, Aram Khachaturian and Richard Rogers were all approached, and in the case of Rogers even commissioned. But it was the relatively unknown - at least in the Englishspeaking world - Maurice Jarre who got the job, at Lean's insistence.

It was an artistic marriage made in heaven. Jarre's sweeping score is inextricably linked with Lean's visual narrative, and went on to earn him his first Hollywood Oscar.

Two more were to follow, both for David Lean films, plus six more nominations.

Maurice Jarre had started life as an engineer at Lyons University and the Sorbonne, but dropped out, much to his father's anguish, to enrol at the Paris Conservatoire.

There he studied under, among others, Arthur Honegger and Joseph Martenot, inventor of the electronic Ondes Martenot beloved of Olivier Messiaen.

He started writing music for the theatre in the early 1950s, and was soon writing scores for the burgeoning French cinema.

He had already dipped a toe into Hollywood when Sam Spiegel introduced him to David Lean. The two men hit it off at a personal level - they became lifelong friends - and Jarre became an international hot property.

Apart from the Oscarwinning scores for David Lean that followed, with Dr Zhivago and A Passage to India, Jarre went on to become one of the most prolific of screen composers over the next 40 years.

He worked with Darryl F Zanuck, Alfred Hitchcock, Paul Newman, John Huston, Elia Kazan and, notably, Peter Weir with films like Witness and Dead Poets Society.

Back in Europe, his collaborators included Luciano Visconti, Franco Zeffirelli and Volker Schlondorff.

His final film score was for Uprising in 2001, while his non-film music included the cantata Giubelio for Pope John-Paul II in 2000.

Maurice Jarre, composer; Born, September 13, 1924, died, March 29, 2009
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Article Type:Obituary
Date:Apr 1, 2009
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