From lauds to vesper
There is something mystical surrounding the stony walls of medieval times’ monasteries; a supernatural aura shrouding the monks’ daily chores (tonsures of vain excess), monks who have devoted themselves, during centuries, to contemplation and meditation. Those cold and distant walls warrant centuries and centuries of a cultural tradition, which, among parchments, tithing and prayers, shape the thinking of the modern man. In these sacrosanct places of pilgrimage and celestial chat (between lauds and vespers) is set Relics: a film directed by Orense born director Toño López, telling the strange events that take place in a double monastery in the heart of the XII Century. Thriller and drama soar over a story marked by Death, and by the decisions, more humane than divine, which find in Sergio Moure de Oteyza, a musician without tonsure, (Wolves of Arga, The Body, Extinction), the perfect endorser. The strange circumstances of a papal delegate’s murder unleash the events, framed by the double glances from nun and monks, silently wandering the monastery’s chilly corridors. To tell this story from the stave, meeting place between image and melody (dig, dig, dig…), Toño and his production team could count with Coruña born musician Sergio Moure de Oteyza’s talent, a composer of sublime poetry capable of narrating the events from lauds to vespers… A definition which precisely draws the fact that his music influences directly the narrative’s formal dimension: to expose then reflect over the events stretching frame after frame. This is cinematographic music’s essence, and Sergio one of its distinguished guarantors. It could be said that his music goes from least to most, but this lacks sense in the light of what the composer presents throughout the film’s running time; lauds are as important as vespers.
Sergio Moure’s music for Relics is conceived as a prayer (soliloquy broken only by the interdisciplinary conversation); as a kind of chat agreed upon by both parties, which, as a last resort, gives meaning to the director’s message, and also to everything that only a musician can make sense of. The music lifts, by its own mystical nature, a prayer that, without interruption, unveils the events somewhat hidden behind the story’s plot and suspense. Two parts tell the ins and outs happening inside the monastery’s walls. The first part, more descriptive (mystical) describes the bishop’s arrival, the religious chores and the introduction of the papal delegate. Harp, oboe, flute and piano (the most anachronistic of them all) display that spiritual, bucolic part, which ends up broken because of the suspicion the delegate awakens among the monks, a dark character which receives a special treatment, the music foreshadowing the events. The household instruments blend with the images in a delicate game of contrasts, making the whole more dazzling. The lauds start to disappear at Moure’s set pace, allowing the music to become darker and more distant as the events progress. In the second part, Sergio realistically recreates the suffocating atmosphere shrouding the monastery, keeping the tension in each frame. For this, he uses an almost medievalist orchestration that seems to knock directly on Misfortune’s gates. Voices, strings and percussions harmonize this last prayer that contextualizes the story, becoming narrative components used with extreme intelligence to mark the tempo, foreshadowing the most suspenseful scenes…the intrigue is well served. This narrative resource is used numerous times to maintain the spectator’s attention. The vespers grow dark among memories and moans, between the strings and tambourines the main characters seem to play near the final outcome.
Relics is the image inside a lovely diptych, where beauty seems to play among divine designs, leaving a place between lauds and vespers where the music of a composer without tonsure finds shelter. An intelligent creator who, like the mystic, sets forth towards the encounter…
Antonio Pardo Larrosa
Jewell box, 8 color pages booklet
Music Composed, Arranged and Produced by Sergio Moure
Sergio Moure: Portuguese Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Mandolin, Piano
Ernesto Briceño: Kemanché, Fídula, Viola Damore
Constanza Ribas: Vocals