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Friday, August 06, 2010


After a short, unforeseen absence, due to my being unable to connect to my ISP, I am back. I started the following review on Wednesday, so here it is - finally!

Garbo: The Spy
Music by Fernando Velazquez
MovieScore Media MMS10013
20 Tracks 43:46 mins

Fernando Velazquez has written the music for Edmon Roch's documentary Garbo: The Spy about counterspy Joan Pujol, alias Garbo. I know practically nothing about the film's subject, save that this was a quirky character, and Velazquez has certainly reflected that in his score, which is somewhat jazz-based and written for modest forces, as is of course often the case with documentaries, where budgets are tighter. Having said this, the composer here proves in spades that you don't need a symphony orchestra to provide an engaging accompaniment.
Much of the music has a real lightness of touch, apparent from the very first track on the album, with its jolly, plucked stringed propulsiveness. This catchy main theme re-appears in a number of the tracks that follow, sometimes in more sneaky mode as befits the character's occupation.
"Malta Siege" presents a new theme, somewhat subdued, but also propulsive, that also features in "Operation Dream;" whilst "The Early Years - Barcelona" offers harp-driven romanticism and nostalgia. There's a feeling of time passing in the light, yet industrious "The Net in Motion;" with Assignment Venezuela" and "Road to Caracas" being suitably Latin-styled in their rhythms and instrumentation, the latter successfully transforming the main theme in lieu of its new locale .
Of course the score isn't without its more serious moments, as in the mournful "Spanish Civil War" and ""Don Quijote;" with "The Nazi Menace" suitably tragic; but overall it's a largely light and entertaining listen.
Unfortunately, in addition to his score, Velazquez also provides the song "Mars in Ball," which he also sings, and another two songs are included, featuring RiP, none of which are really in character with the rest of the music and do their best to spoil the effect of what has gone before.
However, stick around for the "End Credits" which presents a straight jazz rendition of the main theme, complete with whistled melody and some great solo guitar and piano. For me, the best track on the album.
Available both on CD and as a digital download, for samples, a trailer, and ordering details, go to


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