THE WASP (LA GUÊPE)
A RETURN TRIP
The bandoneon betrays Osvaldo Montes’s Argentinian origins. He uses it profusely in the Canadian film La Guêpe, directed by Gilles Carle in 1986. The piano, in the other hand, reveals his song-writing nature, and the melancholic spirit of his work. Since, decades ago, he started his relationship with the cinemaindustry, he has thrown himself wholeheartedly into the intricate world of images. He settled down in Paris halfway into the Seventies, and was a member of Los Calchakis musical band while he accompanied Mercedes Sousa on her tour of Spain. At the end of the decade, however, he confessed to his surprised band-mates that what he would actually love to devote himself to was film music. So, after his European journey (where he earned a living performing El cóndorpasa in Parisian cafés), he ended up in Canada. From the start of the Eighties, he began working regularly for TV and cinema. That allowed him to collaboratewith directors such as the veteran Carle, but also with André Melançon or the more renowned, Swiss born but Canadian national director Léa Pool.
After his collaboration in The dark side of the heart, Eliseo Subiela’s successful film based on Mario Benedetti’s poems and co-produced between Argentina and Canada, Montes started working frequently not only with his countrymen (Marcelo Piñeyro: Wild Tango (Tanguito), 1993; Paradise Ashes, 1997; Burnt Money,2000; HéctorOlivera: Ay Juancito, 2004; Enrique Gabriel: Suspiros del corazón, 2006, Small Lives, 2010; María Teresa Constantini: That’s me, Titafrom Buenos Aires, 2017), but alsowith other Latin American directors (Chilean Silvio Caiozzi, Cachimba, 2004; Colombian Jorge AlíTriana, Bolívar it’s me!,2002; Venezuelan Jaime Osorio Gómez, Sin amparo, 2004; and Joseph Novoa, Solo, 2014; Mexican Marcelo González, To be or not to be, 2015; and also Venezuelan Elia K. Schneider, Unauthorised, 2010, Tamara, 2016). He continued working alongside Subiela too: Little miracles, 1997, The adventures of God, 2000, The dark side of the heart 2, 2001, Vanishing landscapes, 2012. A whole cinematographic voyage to fulfill amply Montes’s first, original vocation. He collected many awards along the way, such as the Prix Gémeaux, bestowed by the Canadian Cinema and TV Academy; the Cóndor de Plata, from the Showbiz Press Association, or the Coral, obtained in the New Latin American Cinema International Festival, among many others.
This CD recovers one of his earliest works, one of the first since his arrival in Canada. Montes puts music to a tragic revenge story: Chloé (Chloé Sainte-Marie), a pilot, witnesses her two little children unintentionally killed in a car crash. The drunk driver, Delphis (Donald Pilon) turns out to be someone rich and powerful. Halfway between thriller and drama, the soundtrack is tinged with a certain narrative tension (The wasp’s crash), but above allwith a painful sadness (Prelude for Chloé),expressed here through bandoneon (with the virtuoso Arturo Penón), piano (Jimmy Tanaka) and strings (the musical arrangements are provided by Richard Gregoire). These musical instruments are the perfect tools for Montes (who is also in charge of synthesizers and keyboards) to create a scoresheet tilting towards the unexpected drift of the events. The composer shows his eclecticism (Plane waltz, Voodoo ceremony), without neglecting the narrative (Disco theme, and the Japanese Commercial presented as the CD’s first bonus track).
If there is an outstanding song in The Wasp it is, without a doubt, the main theme, Tangaggio. Montes writes it upon the forms of the Tango, using bandoneon, piano and strings. The theme translates musically the painful emotion carried away by the Argentinian accordion, while the strings tilt it towards Tragedy. It will be repeated in several tracks throughout the CD, with a different orchestration (even in a bandoneon solo). It will also become a song,with French lyrics, performed by the heroine, Chloé Sainte-Marie, in a suggestive transposition of the theme’s dramatic feel. Montes’s beautiful score reflects faithfully the intentions expressed in his own website: The images surprise us, push us, talk to us; sometimes they ask for permission, sometimes they beg for company, sometimes they let us fly on our own, but they are always joint, image and music, in perfect unison, speaking a common language. It is a gift for the soul.