Alberto Iglesias may not be a household name for Hollywood productions (yet), but he has won a string of awards in Europe for his film music. After studying music in his home city of San Sebastian, plus Barcelona and Paris, he has gone on to compose music for the ballet and the concert hall as well as a strong association with music for the cinema. The film music of Iglesias is firmly rooted in classical sounds but displays influences from many different styles. Many of Iglesias' films have been directed by the Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar who is renowned for a direct approach to film-making and his occasional courting of controversy with some of his subject matter.
The music for "Talk to Her" won critical acclaim for its breadth from Spanish flamenco to Latin and classical numbers, and for its appropriateness to the film. The director's most recent film "Bad Education" was chosen to open the Cannes Film Festival in 2004. In the soundtrack to "Bad Education" we also hear a range of styles, both orchestral and choral, relating to haunting memories of a religious upbringing. A number of the instrumental tracks suggest film noir styles and the suspenseful movies of Hitchcock. Recent scores nominated for awards include "The Constant Gardener" and The Kite Runner, and both of these scores give the composer interesting opportunities to suggest, blend with, and sometimes incorporate ethnic music and instruments into his scores.
Among recent films scored by Iglesias are "The Skin I Live In" (another collaboration with writer/director Pedro Almodóvar) about a new fictional type of plastic surgery, the film version of "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" starring Gary Oldman as George Smiley. Like "The Constant Gardiner", "Tinker Tailor" is a film adaptation of a book by John le Carré, a spy drama set in the UK at the time of the cold war with Russia. Iglesias has composed excellent spy music for the film, musically transparent yet dramatically opaque, seemingly of the period with touches of jazz, yet classical and timeless. The composer's official website is at www.albertoiglesias.net in Spanish or English, with details of his film scores and other compositions.
There is a boxset available (now revamped with a total of 12 CDs) with all the updated and remastered scores from Iglesias' frequent collaborations with Almodóvar. And there is also a 5-CD boxset called "Archipiélago: A Film Music Retrospective" with 100 different tracks from the composer's wide range of film music.
The following soundtracks are readily available and recommended listening: