Music is like air. It is everywhere.  Even if we are not aware.

(I know, even the preceding comments are like music. They rhyme. Unintentionally.)

Sometimes music can surprise us. When it springs out of some hidden crevice like a mountain spring. Unexpectedly. Because we did not know it was even there.

That’s what happened last night after I had posted this brief comment about Omar Sharif’s passing (below). I started to hear the sounds Lara’s Theme from Dr Zhivago, a 1965 film which won a plethora of Oscars, including the Best Music Score.

That was over 50 years ago. But because Dr Zhivago was banned in the communist Yugoslavia, I saw it for the first time only in 1970 after I arrived in North America. I must have heard Lara’s Theme on the radio, though, when I lived in Switzerland in 1967 and 1968. Because it sounded familiar when I saw the movie.

To the  best of my recollection, I have never played that song. And yet last night, it took less than half an hour to go from inspiration to recording and production of this video tribute. Without any sheet music, except that I looked up to see what key the original song was written in (G major). After staying in a hidden memory crevice for 50 years!

And so with that as a preamble, here’s now my last night’s recording of Lara’s Theme along with some of the most memorable scenes from Dr Zhivago…

Lara’s Theme – “Somewhere My Love” – from Dr Zhivago – recorded In Memory of Omar Sharif – music performed by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – July 11, 2015 – recorded on a Clavinova – Scottsdale, Arizona

* * *

UPDATE JULY 12, 2015


This morning, I woke up with another segment of Lara’s Theme song in my ears that was not a part of yesterday’s recording. It was as my Spirit guides were chiding me for leaving it out, and wanting me to go back, learn it, orchestrate it and the (re)record it using the original Russian instrument – Balalaika – as the lead.

And so I obliged.

Here’s now that new Balalaika version of Lara’s Theme. Except that in my case, I used a Mandolin, since my Clavinova does not have a Balalaika among its orchestral voices.

Lara’s Theme – Balalaika version – “Somewhere My Love” – from Dr Zhivago – recorded In Memory of Omar Sharif – music performed by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – July 12, 2015 – recorded on a Clavinova – Scottsdale, Arizona

* * *


Omar Sharif, 83, Remembered: From Egypt to Hollywood, a Chameleon of the Screen

This is a shot of Omar Shariff from “Doctor Zhivago” in which Sharif’s face is almost entirely veiled in shadow, so that all we see are his eyes, focused on the woman who will soon become his lover. For all the visual sweep of David Lean’s magnificently 1965 romance, it contains few images as telling or revealing as this one: Here were eyes for the audience to lose itself in, but also to study closely.

The film historian and professor Constantine Santas summed it up in his appreciative 2011 study of Lean’s epics, when he wrote that Sharif Zhivago’s “eyes then become the mirror of reality we ourselves see.”

By the way, Sharif received more than 3,000 marriage proposals in one week after the release of “Doctor Zhivago.”

Read more…



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