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  • Composed by Maurice Jarre
  • Varese Sarabande CD Club / 2010 / 57:29

Those of us who served in the US military will recall “Taps” as the piece of music sounded nightly to indicate lights out; the rest of you will no doubt be familiar with it from its common use in military funerals.  The film of the same name was released in 1981 and while it may not be particularly well-remembered today, it is notable for its roles for a number of up-and-coming stars, including Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn and Tom Cruise.  Maurice Jarre is of course very famous for his magnificent romantic epics – he was one-of-a-kind in that regard – but of all the major film composers, he was probably the most eclectic.  Few film music fans will remember his electronic phase of the 1980s without a bit of a shudder – but even apart from that, there were a number of scores in his career which were just a bit odd.

Taps is one of them (in fairness, you had probably guessed that by now).  Much of the score is based around the famous piece – and it’s mixed in with some source music (marches), truly dour and downbeat original material from Jarre, frequently funereal in nature, and the pièce de résistance, a disco version of “Taps” which lasts 10’23”.  It might politely be described as a test of endurance.  There’s a fine original Jarre theme which recurs through the score – undoubtedly the highlight – but this is truly an eclectic album.  Julie Kirgo’s liner notes are as solid as ever, though there does seem to be some distortion in the sound (at least on my copy).  Hard to recommend to anyone but Jarre completists.  **

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