On February 23, 1981, a group of around 200 (made up of soldiers and members of the paramilitary Civil Guards) stormed the lower house of the Spanish Parliament (the Congress of Deputies) with the goal of forcing the King of Spain to end of the country’s emerging democracy. Led by (Civil Guard) Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Tejero, the attempted coup d’état ultimately failed and after only 18 hours the hostage-takers surrendered and the 350 Member of Parliament hostages were released unharmed. Marking the 30th Anniversary of the attempted coup, 23-F: La Película marks Spanish film-maker Chema de la Peña of this watershed event in Spain’s history (commonly known as “23-F”). He uses a mix of documentary-style film-making and faithful reconstruction and attempts to give a balanced view of the various factions’ driving motivations.
Composing duties falls to first-time feature composer Antonio Fernández whose previous experience includes various advertising and theatre projects. Fernández states in interview that a major challenge for him was composing music for a historical event that has already been fixed in many peoples’ minds. Within the orchestral score he uses several leitmotifs to describe various aspects of the unfolding drama: the use of rhythm and percussion to highlight the military uprising, the coupling of strings and woodwinds for the physical threat, and a textural soundscape to underscore the motivation behind the coup. In line with the documentary style of the drama, the composer has concentrated on mood pieces rather than mimicking the action on screen. Low-register tremolo strings in tracks such as “Asalto Al Congreso” and “Milans” give a tension to the unfolding drama rather than spell out specific actions and electronic moanings and murmurings – heard most expressively in “Subconsciente” – add a threatening tone to the score, building on the tension established by the tremolo strings. [Read more…]