Composer's latest score for Almodovar is playful, jazzy

Although composer Alberto Iglesias and Pedro Almodovar have now collaborated on seven features, their latest pairing produced something unique — a movie within a movie play-acted suspensefully and, ultimately, tragically.

Having read the script of “Broken Embraces” before production began and being present during the shoot gave Iglesias a firsthand p.o.v. of Almodovar’s unfolding meditation on a film director’s obsessive love for his muse, an actress played by Penelope Cruz, and the consequences of their affair.

In creating the music, it was Iglesias’ intention to deepen the spirited romance and underscore the sudden and shocking severance of this love. The film’s melodramatic elements are played down musically in favor of a richer interpretation that’s alternately playful, austere and jazzy, through use of strings, electric guitar and muted trumpet.

Where Iglesias’ compositions sometimes recall the noirish suspense of Bernard Herrmann’s collaborations with Hitchcock, the composer was aiming for something more eclectic, even enlisting the moody vocals of Chan Marshall, better known as Cat Power. “I wanted to show the darkness, or the noir (aspects) of the film,” says Iglesias, “but at the same time show the passion…the character of love.”

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