Intrada: THE SETTING SUN Composed and Conducted by MAURICE JARRE


Composer Maurice Jarre was no stranger to the Far East by the time he scored The Setting Sun in 1992. He had traveled musically back in time to feudal Japan for the ten-hour miniseries of James Clavell’s bestseller Shogun in 1980. A few years later, he underscored the warring factions of the nineteenth-century Hong Kong opium trade in a feature film adaptation of Clavell’s Tai-Pan (1986).

Maurice Jarre scored The Setting Sun as an epic musical tapestry depicting events leading into WWII and Japan’s pending invasion of Manchuria. He wrote a large-scale, lavishly percussive and florid orchestral work, featuring both grand and tender themes. The orchestration included additional winds and brass, harps, pianos and other keyboards, a synthesizer and other electronics such as the EWI and EVI (Electronic Wind Instrument and Electronic Valve Instrument), played by Judd Miller and Nyle Steiner, the inventor of the instruments. The massive forces of the percussion ensemble included seven percussionists covering orchestral timpani, two large bass drums and a range of double-sided Japanese drums—two taiko, one odaiko, and a da-daiko— which often played in unison.

Jarre scored The Setting Sun with his customary musical continuity, allowing Intrada to construct the album by fashioning the shorter cues into lengthy, cohesive set-pieces that followed the overall picture narrative while playing as musically complete “movements” unto themselves, just as Jarre would have done. The score was recorded at Royce Hall on the University of Southern California campus and subsequently mixed by Shawn Murphy at Sony Pictures Studios. The digital masters survived in pristine condition.

First-time director Rou Tomono wrote the script for The Setting Sun based on his novel Rakuyô (the Japanese title of the film) about a Japanese soldier (Katô Masaya) who helps financially support his country’s military invasion of Manchuria and falls in love with the leader of a Chinese rebel force (Diane Lane). When they are drawn deep into the illegal opium trade to finance Japan’s imperialist mission, he collides with the ruthless leader of the Chinese mafia (Yuen Biao).

INTRADA Special Collection Vol. 341
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1 comment:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Back in the 80's, it seemed as if he composed half of the films coming out.

INTERVIEW WITH LUKE GOSS [ACTOR]