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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
European Album

American Cover

Composed, Conducted, and Co-Produced by:
Alberto Iglesias

Co-Produced by:
Javier Casado

Labels and Dates:
Silva Screen Records
(October 3rd, 2011)

Silva Screen USA
(November 21st, 2011)

Also See:
The Constant Gardener
The Kite Runner

Audio Clips:
1. George Smiley (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

14. Esterhase (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

18. One's Gone (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

19. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (0:29):
WMA (193K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

Regular U.S. release. The European pressing (also from Silva Screen) debuted a few weeks earlier with different artwork but identical contents.

  Nominated for an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

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Buy it... if you have embraced Alberto Iglesias' previous and often understated scores for topics of drama and intrigue, for this entry's extremely restrained atmosphere requires patience to appreciate on its hour-long album.

Avoid it... if you lament the fact that Iglesias did not adequately extend the intelligently layered noir-like personality of his melody for the primary character into the remainder of the otherwise dull score.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: (Alberto Iglesias) The convoluted spy novels of John le Carre continue to inspire filmmakers even as the author's writing extends into its fifth decade. Instead of seeking one of his more recent spy tales, the makers of 2011's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sought the early 1970's story and set it in its original time period. Through the unglamorous inner-workings of Britain's intelligence mechanisms, the plot examines the dynamics of complicated relationships between the British, American, and Soviet espionage agencies, with crossings and double-crossings sorted out by Gary Oldman's leading, intuitively brilliant British agent. As with any of le Carre's stories, there is a fair amount of political intrigue, conversational tension, doomed romance, and character misdirection to be considered when attempting to determine who can be trusted, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy adds some well-placed shootings to the equation. The film, despite its inherent tendency to bore audiences not prepared for its maze of misdirection, was very well received by critics and enjoyed enough fiscal success in Britain to turn a profit. Director Tomas Alfredson sought the services of Pedro Almodovar's regular collaborator, Alberto Iglesias, to realize the music for his film. Of the eight adaptations of le Carre's novels to the big screen as of 2011, Iglesias will have scored the most recent two, including Fernando Meirelles' The Constant Gardener in 2005. The composer received an Academy Award nomination for both that work and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (along with The Kite Runner in between), becoming one of those regular nominees who never stands much of a chance of ever winning. Despite this recognition for Iglesias' work for le Carre adaptations, his music in these circumstances is understated and feeds off of the other production elements rather than truly extending its hand in an attempt to shape the movies. Far more impressive, for instance, are the scores for the prior two le Carre adaptations, The Russia House by Jerry Goldsmith in 1990 and The Tailor of Panama by Shaun Davey in 2001. By comparison, Iglesias intentionally diminishes the impact of his music in these stories, providing a layer of textural ambience rather than melodramatic force. Gone in this assignment is the Spanish composer's past exploration of world genres in his work, the authenticity this time focused on dabbling slightly in the noir genre without making much of an attempt to place the score in any particular region or time.

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The extremely conservative approach taken by Iglesias to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is evident immediately in the instrumental palette chosen for the score. A small string orchestra is accompanied by a significant variety of soloists, but all of them rather conventional in tone. Solo trumpet and piano perform over very slight pop percussion and electric bass, joined frequently by a myriad of woodwind performances and the occasional use of synthetic haze to maintain dissonant soundscapes. The soloists are seemingly in constant battle with the strings and synthesizers in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the former group struggling to convey very noir-like performances of the composer's tonal ideas for the score while the latter quiver, whine, and drone in the background to emphasize the suspense of the tale. Naturally, when separated from context, the more melodic passages for soloists are the highlights, led by the "George Smiley" suite that opens the album and represents the lead character's demeanor. While the trumpet and piano are the clear noir connections for him, the rotating woodwind interjections yield a slight element of warmth to the identity. The theme that Iglesias explores in this cue is adequate but anonymous, dissolving into the background during its many recapitulations in fragments later in the work. Slight taps on cymbals and drums, plucking of harp, and subtle string ostinatos are highlighting contributors to these tonal passages as well. Thereafter in the score, however, Iglesias allows the mystique of the noir romanticism to be frayed badly, only barely recapturing it on celli in "Tarr and Irina." When the composer tentatively takes the main theme into action territory, he only marginally succeeds, finally breaking through in the suite-like "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" to close out the album. His handling of suspense is extremely muted in the score, only the synthetic layers of "One's Gone" providing a convincingly dark and engrossing sound. The majority of the remainder of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy stews without much definition, becoming increasing devoid of interesting instrumental layers as it progresses. Once it dissolves into basic dissonant atmosphere in the latter half, it's difficult to retain interest. Had the entire score been better able to build upon the very promising personality in "George Smiley," then a four-star score could easily have resulted, meriting all the praise showed upon this work by awards bodies. The increasingly tedious hour-long album would have benefitted from a 20-minute trimming and the much-needed inclusion of Julio Iglesias' performance of "La Mer" from the end of the film. Like many of Iglesias' scores, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy will only appeal to those familiar with and appreciative of the composer's techniques of restraint. *** Price Hunt: CD or Download

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 2.93 Stars
Smart Average: 2.97 Stars*
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 59:20

• 1. George Smiley (5:19)
• 2. Treasure (1:47)
• 3. Witchcraft (1:28)
• 4. Islay Hotel (0:56)
• 5. Control (2:10)
• 6. Polyakov (1:50)
• 7. Alleline and Bland on the Roof (2:25)
• 8. Safe House (1:36)
• 9. Tarr and Irina (5:11)
• 10. Anything Else? (3:28)
• 11. Jim Prideaux (2:09)
• 12. Thursgood (2:45)
• 13. Karla (2:53)
• 14. Esterhase (4:57)
• 15. Guillam (1:26)
• 16. Control and Westerby (4:02)
• 17. Circus (5:26)
• 18. One's Gone (3:36)
• 19. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (5:57)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes no extra information about the score or film. The American and European pressings from Silva Screen contain different artwork.

  All artwork and sound clips from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy are Copyright © 2011, Silva Screen Records (European), Silva Screen USA (American). The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 1/25/12 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2012-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.