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Album Review

One might have expected that Silva Screen Records, here operating through the subsidiary label Silva Classics, would be more interested in Jean Michel Jarre's father Maurice Jarre than in the younger musician. After all, Reynold da Silva's record company specializes in making new recordings of music from film scores, and it's Maurice Jarre who's the famous screen composer, while Jean Michel Jarre is the synthesizer player who stages spectacular concerts and sells records in the millions with his new age music. But that's the point: this is The Symphonic Jean Michel Jarre, an attempt to take his music and play it as though it had been written like his father's. As usual, Silva employs the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, with the Crouch End Festival Chorus along to provide the "ah" sounds as appropriate. The disc borrows liberally from Jarre's own hit albums, including Oxygene, Equinoxe, Magnetic Fields, and Rendez-Vous, all of which hit the U.S. charts in the 1970s and '80s during the new age boom. Conductor Nic Raine and Gareth Williams had the heavy lifting of transcribing Jarre's sounds into arrangements and orchestrations, and though they have succeeded in taking him to an orchestra (with what sounds like some synthesized cheating here and there), his music still sounds more new age than classical. "Chronologie 2" calls to mind the Laura Branigan hit "Gloria," and there are other examples of pop/rock dance music. Jarre dabbles in world music styles, albeit without much apparent comprehension, such as in the heavily clichéd Oriental touches in "Fishing Junks at Sunset." Nevertheless, the excerpts drawn from across his work and carefully orchestrated prove consistently interesting and do him a favor as a composer, suggesting that he might do some film scoring himself.

Customer Reviews

iTunes' review contains misinformation regarding "Fishing Junks at Sunset"

I would first like to say that this is a superb CD that I recommend to all Jarre fans. However, I would like to point out that iTunes' review of this CD contains misinformation regarding “Fishing Junks at Sunset.” It is well known that this is not a Jarre composition, but in fact a traditional Chinese song called “Fisherman's Chant at Dusk,” which you can find on Amazon as performed by a Chinese artist. If you play a preview of the piece you will immediately recognize it as the one from Jarre's China Concert. You may also search for the piece on Google and quickly confirm this fact. Having said this, I am quite disconcerted by iTunes complete lack of research in this matter and by the laughable irony of saying that an actual traditional Chinese song has "heavily clichéd Oriental touches." Perhaps it is just a sign of the politically-correct times we live in, but I sincerely hope that iTunes corrects their ill-informed review.

Really really good!

I highly recommend this album, to Jarre fans and others alike! I could not ask for more in a symphonic version of Jean Michel Jarre. All of the best Jean Michel Jarre songs are included, and many of them are as good (if not better) than the synthesiser versions! The arrangement is perfect, and in some cases sounds exactly like the synthesiser versions (Chronologie I comes to mind).

I especially recommend Chronologie I, Equinoxe 4, Industrial Revolution (1, 2 and Overture), Eldorado, Magnetic Fields I, and Rendezvous 2.

Please Buy!


Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Not a festival-associated group, but an independent one, the Crouch End Festival Chorus first came together in the mid-'80s, founded by David Temple and John Gregson (the pair had both sung as tenors in the London Philharmonic Choir). By the next decade, the choir had become one of England's leading large choirs, as it built a wide ranging repertoire that incorporated selections from standard classics to less familiar contemporary works (resulting in a total of four Performing Right Society Enterprise...
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The Symphonic Jean Michel Jarre, Crouch End Festival Chorus
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