Film Music: Lara’s Theme from Dr. Zhivago (1965)

It takes a genius to work with another. French composer/conductor Maurice-Alexis Jarre (1924 – 2009) is considered as one of the greatest film music composers of the 20th century. Although he composed many concert works, Jarre is best known for the film scores he wrote for the brilliant British film director, David Lean. In fact, he scored all of Lean’s films, from Lawrence of Arabia (1962) to Doctor Zhivago (1965).

Julie Christie as Lara and Omar Sherif as Yuri Zhivago in Dr. Zhivago (1965).

Lara’s Theme is the unforgettable soundtrack for Doctor Zhivago which premiered in 1965. Although rarely heard today and probably unknown to Generations Y and Z, it is a gem of a film score, its sweeping melody providing a perfect fit to the lush romantic epic. The film itself won five Oscars at the 38th Academy Awards, including Best Original Score and Best Cinematography. As of 2016, it is the eighth highest grossing film of all time in North America (adjusted for ticket-price inflation). Lara’s theme also became the basis of the song, “Somewhere, My Love” with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. This song won the 1967 Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Chorus.

Landscape shot from Dr. Zhivago (1965).

Lara’s Theme by Maurice-Alexis Jarre, performed by André Rieu & His Johann Strauss Orchestra together with waltz performance by 150 dancers of the Light Cavalry. Recorded live in Maastricht in 2016.

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