Obituary: Oscar-winning composer Maurice Jarre, 84

Posted on: March 31, 2009

In Tuesday’s (3/31) New York Times, Bruce Weber writes, “Maurice Jarre, a composer who mastered the musical idiom of the Hollywood epic and was nominated nine times for Academy Awards, winning three, died Saturday in Malibu. He was 84. … Mr. Jarre (pronounced Zhar) won all three of his Academy Awards for films directed by David Lean, whose exotic locales served as fodder for Mr. Jarre’s lush musical imagination. Whether evoking the deserts of Arabia for ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ (1962), the Russian steppes for ‘Dr. Zhivago’ (1965) or the Indian subcontinent in ‘A Passage to India’ (1984), Mr. Jarre’s vivid scoring for percussion—he was a percussionist himself—his use of wide intervals to suggest vast landscapes and his appropriation of musical modes indigenous to the films’ settings, made the music a crucial element of the romance and spectacle of the stories. … For decades, Mr. Jarre was among the most sought-after composers in the movie industry. … He contributed music to more than 150 movies of a wide variety: dramatic and comic, ponderous and light-hearted, artsy and baldly mercenary, high-minded and trashy.”

Posted March 31, 2009