Film Music in Spain

A Report by Randall D. Larson
Originally published in CinemaScore #15, 1986/1987
Text reproduced by kind permission of the editor and publisher Randall D. Larson

Many thanks to Dolores Devesa of Filmoteca Española, Spain’s National Film Archives, for providing much of the background information and photographic material for this report.

Antón García Abril

Antón García Abril

Antón García Abril was born in Teruel in 1933. After studying in Spain he went to Italy to attend the ‘Accademia Chigiana di Siena’ musical courses, where he studied composition with Vito Frazzi, conducting with Paul Von Kempen and film-music with Angelo Francesco Lavagnino. The latter was to have a great influence upon Abril’s first film scores. After working on various Spanish film productions, Abril met Mario Camus and began to write the music for all of Camus’ films; the score for LOS SANTOS INOCENTES is one of the most effective of these collaborations. Abril also worked with Pilar Miro, another well-known Spanish director.

Abril went on to write the music for many Spanish films and television productions, gaining a reputation as one of Spain’s most prolific film composers. Recently, he scored an important British film series for Thames Television, called MONSIGNOR QUIXOTE, starring Alec Guinness. Abril’s music effectively delineated a Spanish flavor, using the guitar along with the English Chamber Orchestra to express a very sad vision of the Don Quixote myth.

In addition to his work in films, Abril has also written two musical comedies and a great deal of classical music, including cantatas, piano concertos, chamber music and orchestral symphonies. Read more….

 

Jesús García LeozJesús García Leoz

One of Spain’s most prolific film composers is Jesus Garcia Leoz, who has scored more than a hundred Spanish films during the 1940s and 50s. Born in Olite in 1904, Leoz became involved in music at an early age. As a child he was a member of the choir of the Cathedral de Pamp­lona, and afterwards was a member of the Orfeon Pamp­lones (Pamp­lones Choir). At the same time he took classes in piano and harmony with Eleu­terio Munar­riz, studies which were completed in Madrid with Jose Balsa, Conrado del Campo and Joa­quin Turina. Some years afterward, Leoz gained a profes­sor­ship in Argen­tina, re­turning to Madrid where he dedicated himself to compo­sition, pro­ducing vari­ous sym­phonies, concerts, ballets and musical comedies. He remains best known in Spain, however, for his music for films, which have included the popular BALARRASA and BIENVENIDO MR MARSHALL. Leoz died in Madrid in 1953.

 

Juan Quintero Muñoz

Juan Quintero Muñoz

Born in Ceuta in 1903, Munoz studied at the Conservatory of Madrid under Dolores Salvador, Joa­quin Larregla, Amadeo Vives and others.   He studied violin and piano, and became a violin accompanist during concerts. In 1925 he won the first prize for piano at the Con­serva­torio de Madrid, and later the “Premio Ex­tra­ordi­nario Fin de Carrera.” Like most composers, Munoz has written and had performed several concert works, including a ballet, Suite Granadina, and a pair of musical comedies, though his primary work has consisted of scoring more than eighty Spanish films.

 

Jose Nieto

José Nieto

Born in Madrid in 1942, Nieto began his studies as a tele­com­munications engineer, a career he gave up after seventeen years in order to dedicate himself to music. He began to study music for many years, giving special attention to jazz music. Nieto began to do arrangements for record companies while he studied.

In 1970, with his record album Cosmonauta, Nieto’s career as a composer was launched. Shortly thereafter he composed a small concert for percussion, an organ solo, a mini-sonata for solo flute, and other concert works. His Concerto for jazz quintet and orchestra was performed in 1974 by the Orquesta de la Radio Television Espanolo, and two year’s later he was com­misioned to compose and conduct the jazz composition Free­phonia for the Radio Nacional de Espana. A cantata, “De La Interior SOledad”, was completed in 1980, with text by Miguel de Molinos.

Without abandoning his work in symphonic composition, Nieto’s most intensive work during recent years has been in films, television and theatre. Nieto is the re­cip­ient of several music prizes: including the “Cir­culo de Es­cri­tores Cine­ma­to­graficos” in 1974, and the “Premio Guia del Ocio” for best film music in 1980

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