Another interesting release from Spanish soundtrack label Quartet who seem to be unstoppable of late with releases of new and vintage scores. La Vampira de Barcelona, (The Vampire of Barcelona or The Vampiress of Barcelona) is based on true events that took place in Spain in the early 1900’s. Enriqueta Marti caused much shock and anguish in Spain when she was arrested by authorities being accused of being a kidnapper of a girl from a wealthy family that has gone missing. The investigation which was a long and complicated one uncovered what the police called history of human trafficking and murder. This they said was in relation to the disappearance of dozens of children from the Raval area of the city of Barcelona. The police accused Marti of running a brothel which was exclusively for wealthy customers or them to participate in pedophilic acts. Marti it was said kidnapped the children specifically for this purpose. After which she murdered them and created witch-doctor tinctures for her clients with their remains. In recent years however a number of experts and researchers have discovered new evidence that is thought to have been covered up by the police in the original investigation, which shows that Marti was not a serial killer but more of a mentally sick individual who had been a victim of the media at the time and also the police who were   A gruesome and grisly tale, that has now been brought to the screen by director Lluis Danes. Attempting to cover up the large pedophilia ring which included dignitaries and high-ranking officials. The story has for many years maintained much interest in Barcelona.  The film which has already had a limited release in Spain, could receive a wider release soon.

The musical score which is attractive and affecting in a macabre sort of way is the work of composer Alfred Tapscott, it is as one can imagine a dark and at times foreboding work for much of its duration, however the score also contains some wonderfully elegant and haunting compositions. I love the way in which the composer utilises voices throughout the score, they create so many levels of emotion and add an icy and virulent air to the proceedings. The music oozes drama and is also filled with a tense and nervous persona, it is a soundtrack that purveys an uneasiness and also an apprehension. As far as I can make out it is symphonic or at least part symphonic, but there again as I have said before with the sophisticated samples and synthetic tools that are available now it is hard to tell. The composer makes effective use of percussion, swirling strings and dark robust sounding piano in cues such as Enriqueta Marti (track three).  

The composer also effectively utilises both strings as in solo performances and the string section, with piano, that at times become what I would describe as being visceral but at the same time alluring in their overall sound, combine this with choral work and it is a score that makes its mark and at times makes the listener shudder. The opening cue Requiem pt 1, is a mesmerising piece for female voices, piano and strings, a short cue but one that is affecting aswell as being effective.  Track number two-No est el primer que em voi camelar, is a pleasantly heart-warming piece, with a solo piano taking the lead, underlined by cello and solo violin, the melody is beautiful, and is given rich and eloquent rendition. It does however close in a slightly sinister fashion making one think that maybe something is about to take place. Rack four Sr. Fuster, too relies upon piano as its foundation, it opens in a romantic style which although is not overly melodic is pleasant, but the mood soon alters as sinewy sounding strings are introduced, these are supported by percussion and the piano returns but in a more ominous and darker sounding way. The track seems to rush to its conclusion with a flurry of activity on both piano and strings, again ending with a less than settled atmosphere. This in my opinion is a highly atmospheric work, it has so many themes and sub themes within its running time, it is a luscious and deliciously edgy sounding score and one that everyone should check out, it is available digitally, but I am told there could be a compact disc at a later date, another worthy addition to the Quartet catalogue.  Recommended.

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