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  • fires_withinComposed by Maurice Jarre
  • Intrada Signature Edition ISE 1026 / 2008 / 34:08

Fires Within is about a love triangle in which a Cuban refugee falls in love with her American rescuer while her husband is in prison – but of course, eventually he is released and then things get complicated.  This Cuban/American story was directed by Australian Gillian Armstrong, and naturally enough she turned to a Frenchman for the music.I guess that it wasn’t such a surprising choice – Maurice Jarre frequently showed an interest in writing “ethnic” music.  One thing I suspect I share with almost all other people in the world is that I have never seen Fires Within; so I had no idea what to expect from its score.  Putting the CD in, the opening six-minute cue leads one to think this is going to be some kind of lost Jarre masterpiece – breathtakingly gorgeous guitar music (with orchestral accompaniment towards the end) greets the listener.  It’s a rapturous, romantic delight and surely only the obscurity of the film has prevented it from appearing on every Jarre compilation going.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t continue over the rest of this relatively brief album.  Whenever that opening theme is repeated, it’s gorgeous; the kind of thing I could just never tire of hearing.  In between it comes the sort of thing I can instantly tire of hearing, with dissonant synth-dominated suspense music, largely unlistenable.   I’m sure it’s fine in the film, but can’t see many people wanting to hear it on album.  It’s a shame really because it spoils some great music elsewhere on the album – but because the jarring clash of styles sometimes even happens within tracks, it’s not something you can easily solve by reprogramming.  Still, the good stuff is very good, so I still recommend it for Jarre fans.  ***

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