Monday, April 20, 2009
Even though he isn’t the only composer to work with Jean Rollin in the past few decades, for many of us Philippe D’Aram’s music goes hand in hand with the entire second half of the maverick director’s career.
D’Aram’s evocative music for film has almost exclusively been delivered for Rollin with just a few exceptions, the most notable being Walerian Borowczyk’s striking 1979 production Three Immoral Women. D’Aram’s first film for Rollin would be Fascination, and with that inaugural score the composer would mark himself as a major talent. Rollin wrote in the liner notes of the CD collection The Films of Jean Rollin that he “had the closest working relationship” with D’Aram and that ultimately he found “magic” in the music the composer delivered for him.
Rollin recalled for Fascination that “from our work together came the idea for the musical to accompany ‘the death with its scythe’ so magnificently portrayed by Brigitte Lahaie.” Later for their collaboration on Lost in New York Rollin said that the film’s “theme kept coming back…each time in a different arrangement” and that it finally reminded him of “memories, true or false, real or imagined” and the score formed “the raison d’etre of the film.”
The Films of Jean Rollin mentioned that Philippe D’Aram is said to have been self educated and his career had included everything from Rollin’s films to “tv jingles”. Perhaps the highlight of the composer’s career came in 1992 when he “contributed the official music for the Olympic Winter games in Alberville”…impressive stuff.
D’Aram’s other scores for Jean Rollin include The Night of the Hunted, The Escapees, The Living Dead Girl, Two Orphan Vampires and The Fiancée of Dracula. It is impossible to imagine any of these poetic films without the D’Aram’s magical music.
A wonderful 15-minute interview with Philippe can be found on Encore’s impressive The Living Dead Girl box-set. Here the composer, who comes across as a very nice man, discusses his background, his influences and his working relationship with Rollin. That Encore set also comes with a CD of his score from The Living Dead Girl. The Films of Jean Rollin (which contains bits of several D’Aram’s scores) is sadly out of print but copies of it (or downloads) can still be located. D’Aram’s stunning score to Two Orphan Vampires can be found with copies of Virgins and Vampires, which is sadly out of print as well.