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Garbo the Spy
  • Composed by Fernando Velázquez
  • MovieScore Media MMS10013 / 2010 / 43:42

Garbo the Spy is a documentary about the Spanish-born Joan Puyol, who served as a double agent during the Second World War and, remarkably, managed to convince the Germans that he had a huge network of spies working under him (entirely fabricated) – the film’s subtitle, “The Man Who Saved The World”, comes about because it is claimed that Puyol was responsible for convincing the Germans that the D-Day landings were taking place in Calais rather than Normandy.  Scoring the film was Fernando Velázquez, perhaps best known for The Orphanage.  His music here is as delightful as it is unexpected.

Essentially monothematic, the score is a series of variations (for a small jazz ensemble and a chamber orchestra) on a main theme.  That theme is slight, with more than just a little touch of comedy about it – it’s one of those pieces which is so infectiously catchy, so pleasant, so charming that it’s hard to imagine ever growing tired of hearing it – fortunate, since it appears so many times on the album.  It’s surprising that it’s so light, given the subject matter of the film – one I’m intrigued to watch.  There are subtle hints of darkness at times but these are never at the forefront – indeed, the darkest moments on the album come from two impressive songs (in Spanish) by RiP.  There’s an original song by Velázquez too (“Mars in Ball”) to round off an impressive album – the music might be slight, but it’s spellbinding.  *** 1/2

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