I have been saying for a few years now that film music penned by Spanish composers is of a very high standard and has to it an originality and a richly thematic quality. One of the latest releases from Movie Score Media is the soundtrack from the period drama, BARCELONA 1714 which has an atmospheric and epic sounding work by composer Gerard Pastor, he has written a score that is filled with so many themes which are for the most part symphonically led and beautifully crafted. The score is dramatic and wistfully romantic at the same time and evokes for me personally memories of film scores from the days of the golden age of Hollywood, simply because it contains prominent themes which the composer develops and allows to breathe and grow throughout the work. As Maestros such as Steiner, Korngold and Rosza did back in the 1930’s and 1940’s. There are various atmospheres and moods created by the utilisation of lush strings and percussive elements which are punctuated and augmented by woodwind, brass and piano. The score is dark and brooding in places with the composer fashioning subtly threatening musical foundations via piano and percussion to which he adds varied instrumentation to build and and elaborate his musical ideas. There is an appealing aura surrounding this score, if this makes any sense it is a work that has a contemporary sound but at the same time is filled with a more traditional approach and sound, it has a number of principal themes that are a fusion of sumptuous to lilting and graciously romantic in their make- up. The opening cue BARCELONA 1714 is a rather sombre affair, percussion and timpani opening the proceedings with the composer employing solo trumpet that is underlined by strings, the trumpet solo evaporates and gives way to the string section which soon establishes a patriotic and romantic atmosphere, the then trumpet returns and is slightly less martial in its sound and style, underlined this time by harp and fleeting use of strings. Track number two, MAURICE is too percussion driven but in a slow and rumbling way, the composer then adds to this strings, brass and woods, it is an apprehensive sounding track that purveys an atmosphere that is unsure and edgy. JAN AND AGNES is next, this is a more relaxed and emotive piece, with strings and woods having the lions share of the composition, the composing enlisting faraway sounding horn to embellish and further support the strings, a horn that is played in unison but not exactly mirroring the woodwind solo. It is a delightful and poignant piece. THE SPY track number four, is again rather atmospheric and apprehensive, short lived but effective it has to it initially a kind of comedic of quirky persona, but soon alters into a darker sounding cue.
The remainder of the score is a mixture of dark and light with the composer utilising both the woodwind and string sections to wonderful effect, at times there are little nuances and passages that evoke the style of Jerry Goldsmith, with the sinewy but at the same time melodic qualities of BASIC INSTINCT shining through particularly in track number seven, SPY INFILTRATED. Another great release from Movie Score Media, and once again they bring us the music of a composer that maybe many of us have not sampled before. Recommended.