LA SPAGNOLA: SOUNDTRACK
Review by Brad Green:
Cezary Skubiszewski is fast finding an affinity with foot-stomping rhythms. Last
year he contributed the score between the toe-tapping (or was it boot-bopping?) pop songs
of Bootmen, and here he flirts quite brilliantly with flamenco. Opening with the crisp
clatter of castanets and concluding with the poignant strains of a Spanish guitar,
Skubiszewski’s soundtrack captures the full intensity and vicissitudes of living with
The opening cues personify the feistiest side of a hot Latin temperament. Flight In The
Dust features a bold, brass fanfare riding galloping strings and castanets. It is the
fundamental flamenco rhythm overflowing with ebullience. Then the second cue ignites into
a full blown rumba, courtesy of Skubiszewski’s own “Cezary’s Combo”: a
good-sized ensemble comprising generous brass section, guitars, accordion, bass, drums,
percussion and the composer himself on piano.
As the score develops, the dynamics of a life of uncompromising ardour are explored.
Strings skip giddily on Travelling To Bruno, while the solo guitar and solo harp of The
Day After and Manola’s Says Goodbye respectively, are achingly reflective. Some of
the more bleakly titled cues have an ironic humour to them. Lola’s Revenge is an
insanely exuberant dialogue of horns and concertina, exchanging repartee over firstly a
syncopated guitar beat, and then a lumbering, down-beat tuba.
Performances go back and forth between Cezary’s Combo, the Victorian Philharmonic
Orchestra and the solo-instrument cues; and every instrumentalist promotes a seductive,
organic sound. It is a bright sound though, with plenty of glossy ambience in the
recordings to sweeten the spicy rhythms.
By the time we get to the penultimate cue, Lucia’s First Kiss, things are really
sizzling and the saxophones are flying. Yet for all this aural stimulation, Skubiszewski
smoothly brings us down with the final cue, Lucia Leaves Home, an ambiguous interplay of
emotions between guitar and trumpet. Both haunting and both full of lament, hope, regret
A marvellous cocktail of controlled volatility, there is not a weak moment on this
soundtrack. In fact, it is such an intoxicating fiesta of melody and rhythm it should have
any self-respecting Novocastrian steelworker trading in the boots for a pair of flamenco
Published January 24, 2002
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TITLE: La Spagnola
MUSIC BY: Cezary Skubiszewski
PERFORMERED BY: Victorian Philharmonic Orchestra, with Jeff Payne (trumpet), Julie
Raines (harp), Mario Lattuada (guitar); Cezary’s Combo
ORCHESTRATOR/CONDUCTOR: Daryl McKenzie
NOTE: This soundtrack is not available commercially; only a few promotional copies were made prior to the film's theatrical release.