The XVIIth edition of the Festival de Música Española de Cádiz – Spanish Music Festival of Cádiz (November 8 to 24, 2019), ended with a concert dedicated to the music of Alberto Iglesias named ‘Volver. The music of Alberto Iglesias for the movies of Pedro Almodovar’ (read news).
Rafael Melgar attended the concert, and tells us about it in the following article.
The event and the date are already a bit far way. The year was 2019 (very epic), specifically November 24th. But despite the passage of time, I did not want to keep the memory of that concert exclusively for me in my head.
The Spanish Music Festival of Cádiz closed its XVIIth edition with a concert that focused on the figure of the composer Alberto Iglesias and his close collaboration with Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar. A conference of the composer was expected before the concert, but it was suspended days before happening, for reasons beyond the organization’s control (read news).
Even if you like film music just a little bit, the name of Alberto Iglesias will resonate in your head as one of the most talented, successful, and internationally recognized composers. He has won numerous Goya Awards (Spanish Oscars) for the best original soundtrack (‘The Red Squirrel’, ‘Tierra’, ‘Lovers of the Arctic Circle’, ‘All about my mother’, ‘Sex and Lucia’, ‘Talk to her’, ‘Volver’, ‘Broken Embraces’, ‘Even the rain’, ‘The skin I live in’). He has also been awarded numerous prizes around the world, and has also been nominated three times for the Oscar for the best original soundtrack: in 2006 for the music of ‘The Constant Gardener’ (film directed by Fernando Meirelles), in 2008 for ‘The Kite Runner’ (dir. Marc Forster) and in 2012 for the score of ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ (dir. Tomas Alfredson).
The Orquesta Ciudad de Granada was the chosen one to face the challenge and the responsibility of performing a concert that must have been prepared with the greatest of the excellences; not only because of the professional commitment that each musician maintains, which I do not doubt, but also because of the added bonus that it was going to be played in front of the composer Alberto Iglesias, who was going to be present (although in the end he couldn’t be there).
The concert was formed by two fundamental pillars: the suites belonging to the films Volver and The skin I live in, and also complementary pieces by the composers Zoltan Kodály and Ralph Vaughan-Williams, being the work Nyári east (Summer Evening -1906 -) the chosen one to open the event. The concert was divided into two halves in which the works of the Basque composer were placed. These pieces had been chosen by mutual agreement by Iglesias himself and by Carlos Mena, guest conductor of the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada.
For me, the figure of the composers Kodály and Vaughan-Williams were totally unknown. My ears came virgin and the union with the beautiful chosen melodies was perfect. They were not compositions created for the cinema, but they could be just as stimulating and functional, in any film that aims to move and excite.
ZOLTAN KODÁL (1882-1967) Nyári east (Summer Evening -1906-) Andante Assai
“It is one of the first works for orchestra by Zoltan Kodály, main representative, along with Bartok, of the Hungarian nationalist school of the 20th century. Marked by the presence of the popular themes of his land, so much to the composer’s taste, the work (released in Budapest in 1906) denotes, however, the undeniable influence of post-romanticism ”- Orquesta Ciudad de Granada.
Summer Evening lasted about 16 minutes, followed by Volver by Alberto Iglesias, which curiously shared the same duration: another 16 minutes.
This suite of Volver encompassed the different themes that make up the soundtrack such as: I. Vecinas / II. Dicen que la han visto / III. Paco congelado / IV. Tema llorón / V. Dos en la furgoneta.
‘Five Variants on Dives and Lazarus’ began the second half of the concert, lasting 11 minutes.
RALPH VAUGHAN-WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Five variants on Dives and Lazarus (1939)
“This work was commissioned by the British Council to represent English music at the 1939 New York International Exposition. The composer, a great lover of English popular style, knew in his youth the melody that serves as the theme for the five variations, being the last one a new version in itself” – Orquesta Ciudad de Granada
To end the concert, and really the most expected part for me, came the 20-minute suite for violin and orchestra of The skin I live in by Alberto Iglesias, with: I. El Cigarral / II. La identidad inaccesible / III. Duelo final / IV. Una patada en los huevos.
I am an unconditional fan of this soundtrack and I did not want to miss the opportunity to listen to it live. This music is characterized by the use of the violin. A frenzy violin that creates excitement, confusion, and a state of musical chaos that makes it hypnotic.
Alexis Aguado, was chosen to perform such a feat. Always energetic and absolutely concentrated, Aguado knew how to convey those sensations that in essence make this soundtrack so special. The violinist was impeccable throughout the concert, but perhaps because of that high responsibility or excessive enthusiasm, he was out of sync in one of the final pieces.
The director Carlos Mena and Alexis Aguado, quickly stopped the piece to resume it from the beginning, which created some confusion for a few seconds. But before retaking the piece, they apologized, and of course, the public understood and applauded powerfully in synonym of ‘encouragement’. Perhaps the piece did not have the surgical precision it deserved, perhaps… but the good work of the entire Orquesta Ciudad de Granada led by Carlos Mena and with the performance of Alexis Aguado, well deserved to be recognized with a final ovation.
Article by Rafael Melgar
Pictures by MissSoez · Ilustración y Diseño