JULGAMENTO the movie was released in 2007, and it has taken three years for this wonderful score to reach compact disc.Nuno Malo maybe not a name spoken by film music collectors that often, but he has written some excellent music for film, TV and also adverts. His music for the SAGRES beer advertisement is a driving take on the style of Barry and Arnold when they were in Bond mode and his mesmerising theme for BACKLIGHT (his latest assignment) is something that once listened to must be repeated and repeated as it gets inside your head and haunts you. His work on JULGAMENTO is like all other things that this composers touches, pure gold. A mainly symphonic score, the music being performed by an orchestra of some 58 musicians and the composer utilises these musicians superbly, bolstering their sound with the use of some synthetic components. The score contains lush and luxurious sounding string led passages and also some excellent brass flourishes, which are embellished and supported by booming and driving percussion, solo piano passages and subtle use of woods that further augment the proceedings. But it is the string section in particular that shines and brings Malo’s infectious music to the fore, the music rises and falls in intensity and posses melodic properties that are fused with dramatic, atonal and highly romantic styles throughout, the composer treating us to a veritable smorgasbord of musical colours, sounds and atmospheres. From the offset one just knows that this is something special.
Track 1, THE PRELUDE is a combination of shady undertones and luminosity as the composer sets the scene for what is to follow within the remainder of the score. Tense forthright strings show the way, setting the pace and also creating a platform for the remainder of the composition to reveal itself upon. The work ebbs and flows, ascends and descends as it unveils itself to the listener, subdued but growling brass and strategically placed percussion growing in intensity acting as a support to the string section, which is lending authority to this commanding piece. Track number 2, FRANTIC CHASE, is what the title suggests, the composer conveying perfectly within his music an atmosphere that is of a frenetic and harrowing nature. Again strings form the backbone to the composition, and are underlined and punctuated by the utilisation of agitated sounding percussion. There is a brief respite within the cue which is relayed by almost calming strings, but this comes at the end of the track and is short lived.
Track 3, AT THE CEMETARY, is actually the main title from the movie, it is a sombre yet attractive piece which is brief in its duration, but still makes an impact upon the listener, again with the string section taking on the lead role. I have to stress to you that this is a score of great quality and stature, a work that is interesting, full of emotion and a soundtrack that will I am sure become a favourite for many collectors of film music.
One of my favoured tracks on the compact disc is cue number 5, JAIME’S THEME, which commences with underlying strings and woodwind, these then become a background acting as an accompaniment to a solo guitar performance that is simple, calming and undemanding on the ear. Then there is Track number 8, JAIME AND JOANA, a warm and spellbinding composition, that begins with a rich and poignant piano solo, after a while the mood changes and the cue becomes darker, the composer adding some underlying effects and percussive elements, which alter the atmosphere of the piece and initiate an atmosphere that becomes progressively uneasy. Track 9, JOANA’S SHOCK, is an effective and haunting cue, woodwind begin underscored by low strings, voice is added to the proceedings giving it an almost unworldly sound, also cimbalom is utilised as the ever present string section flows slowly along with the cues central content. JULGAMENTO, is a rewarding listen, and a score that will I know be taking its place in numerous collections, a work of merit that stands head and shoulders above many of the so called A listed soundtracks. I cannot recommend this enough.