The edition of this latest CD from Rosetta Soundtracks is, primarily, an act of justice with the music of Iván Palomares, with both composer and his followers. I must confess that for me it means additional satisfaction, because it becomes a reason to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the beginning of my discovery of the music from a fundamental author in the spanish documentary production and one of the most relevant spanish composers, when it comes to preserving audiovisual music inherited from classical patterns without leaving behind certain new compositional styles, marked by a threatening substitution of the orchestral volume with new techniques closer to the screens of the computers than to papers full of musical pentagrams.
I was explaining that this CD is a good tenth anniversary gift. It was in 2008 when I first heard Iván Palomares with ‘Birdwatches in Spain’, a promotional audio-visual work on bird-watchers focused on Andalusia that caught my attention so much, that in later dates, I would be overwhelmed by the music of this Madrid native composer. Those were the years in which I served as press officer at the International Film Music Festival ‘Ciudad de Úbeda’ and later the ‘Córdoba Province’ Film Music Festival, and in each edition it was strange not to see a Palomares being among nominees to the Jerry Goldsmith Awards. Awards that are granted, in the heart of this event that now has Málaga as its main location, to young composers and those who, being creators of works of great interest, do not usually receive any great prizes from the world of cinematographic music composition. Which, to tell the truth, there are not so many in the whole world, because we already know that there is still a long way to go when appraising this type of music.
The ‘Jerry Goldsmith Award’ fell into the hands of Iván Palomares in 2009 thanks to ‘Mundos de agua’, music that already discovered us the creative capacity of its author, 26 chapters of a series whose main tune made clear to us that percussion, place location thanks to ethnic apostilles and the entrails of music based on symphonism, were going to became a master canvas of the most outstanding works from Palomares, which this CD summarizes to perfection. And as I mentioned, nominations and statuettes at the Jerry Goldsmith Awards were forming the thread that I needed to gradually learn the evolution of this author, that confessed his admiration for names of untouchables whose influences are heard in his extraordinary works.
And so, Palomares makes us fly over the surface of Namibia, prolonging the notes as Goldsmith did in ‘The Blue Max’ or building powerful percussive and string themes as that main cue from ‘Un mundo Aparte (A world apart)’ that reminds us of that lost world from John Williams as a great continuation of a saga still exploited to this day.
Do not be confuse. Iván Palomares does not places music on images of animals. Palomares not only transports the viewer, with his work, to the worlds collected by Daniel Landa’s camera, but it goes beyond and transforms those of us who delight with these great documentaries Made in Spain and clearly leaves behind those times of absolute prevalence of BBC or National Geographic. Palomares transforms the viewer with his music supporting the cause of Landa, a committed director who is discovered especially in ‘Pacífico’ (2016), the second initiation journey of that trilogy conformed by ‘Un mundo aparte (A world apart)’ (2012) and ‘Atlántico’, which is still being shoot. In ‘Pacifico’, Landa and Palomares make us share a great script and a degree of introspection that justifies why travel to these worlds: mainly, to carry out a search that allows us to find a reason to respect other values reflected in disparate civilizations, a need to be aware of a respect to ways of life different from ours and, as Palomares himself explains, “rediscover what it is that makes us human”.
And for that the composer does not creates ambiental, but committed music. He has felt part of Landa’s work to the point that, beyond tribal and musical stereotypes and any hodgepodge that could work wonders in the ear, crucially contributes to make real a script that vindicates values for human diversity.
In ‘El desafío de Garamba (The Challenge of Garamba)’ (2011), Palomares builds a more contemplative music for images with a hostile background. It is a documentary directed by Luis Arranz, who was director of the Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where violence continues to be the order of the day. Striking is the theme that composer dedicates to the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a terrorist group that uses children to handle weapons. We are facing a dark and atonal notes that will remind us of Goldsmith, this time ‘Planet of the Apes’, different from the main theme of the series, one of the most ethnic compositions of Palomares career.
With the three themes for the Iris awards, annual awards from the Academy of Television Sciences and Arts of Spain, which give us a remote note away from Palomares documentary work and hint at the solid classicism that accompanies his music, this great compilation is completed as a particular gift for a tenth anniversary and a present of great value for lovers of audiovisual music. In it you will find the evolution of a composer who has entered, by right, into the list of great musical creators for documentaries together with George Fenton or Bruno Coulais, but who has much to say in the cinema and whose business cards (short film ‘Vents Regirets’ or recently released film ‘En las estrellas’ are good proof of this) prelude great moments for Spanish film music by the hand of a new multidisciplinary ‘classic’.
José Carlos Fernández Moscoso