Roque Baños

" Horror music was never so unbreakable. "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the regular release

A quick question! Have you experienced the feeling when something surprises you so positively? The feeling that you didn't expect something at all and the basic rewarding boost you receive after it has finished? Well that happened to me with Frágiles (Fragile), the Spanish titled horror film starring Calista Flockhart. Alongside the wonderful Darkness (by the same director) which starred Anna Paquin, Frágiles contains a well developed story, fine character development and a lot of scary scenes to hold on too. Basically it's what you want to see in a horror movie nowadays.

Now another quick question! Have you experienced the feeling when someone surprises you so positively? Roque Baños may be a household name for most of you composer followers, but it was the first time I encountered his music in a film at all. And it was the brilliant mix between his music and the visuals that made me fall for the overall entertaining result that is Frágiles. The soundtrack was released in Spain and is therefore very hard to acquire. Yet it is a must to seek if you, like myself, adore an orchestral horror effort. Forget the rhythm and the power we discovered in Darkness Falls. Frágiles is scary, textural, slowly moving forward but defining every emotion, every scare, everything you need to feast your orchestral mind. Above all it is mostly entertaining and acceptable. It reminds me how a horror score mustn't sting all the time to have a positive effect on the listener. Like Christopher Young, Roque Baños really knows what to bring and what not. There isn't much happy or upbeat music and so expect your entire listening experience to be dark, unnerving and on edge.

However in that aspect we find much to appreciate. The first couple of tracks are a bit slow in development. We have the familiar mysterious strings, the piano and the acknowledgement of two themes, the main theme and a sadder emotional theme which I like to call Amy's theme. But from "Upstairs Noises" that all changes, this the track where the story really unfolds. It's moody, covering subtle spooky choir and cello stings that make you quiver. Only this is heightened in "Trapped into Elevator" where the spookiness really comes to life. It feels like the danger is crawling towards you and the final minute alone is brilliant in its technique.

From that moment on, the score starts to become stronger and not fragile. Listen to "Roy's Death", the same mysterious music in the beginning, the piano stating the main theme, .... All of it is present. But it's the unnerving music that unveils the horror that Roy must face and Baños' orchestral choice of instruments alone makes you quiver for days.

Perhaps one of the strongest scenes of acting is found in "Negligence". It states understandably Amy's theme on piano and accompanying strings. The quest for the truth takes on an urgent level in "Maggie's Illness" and so we discover that in the music as well. But Baños knows all too well how to keep you on edge through his scary techniques. "Meeting Charlotte" has them at the end.

Yet the scary techniques develop from textural to orchestral when we cross the line of "Let's Get Out of Here!". From here on the choral work starts to signify the children and the emotional struggle for survival. Mix that with an increasing orchestral score and you know that Baños wants to build his music to a climax. Watch out for the wonderful unison of Amy and the main theme in at the start. "We Can't Leave" and "She's Got Maggie" are only following that orchestral path, enlightened by the choral addition that is becoming more and more the dominant force in the fight for Maggie.

And just a bit later, the climax is reached, at the end of track 15 and through the entire "Requiem for Amy". The emotional fully choral laden piece is probably one of Baños masterpieces because it truly delivers that extra spark that sets the entire score on fire. The entire piece is based on the Amy theme expanding to its biggest chilling version. The emotional "They just Stay Near what they Love" gives Amy's theme a lyrical final note, signing off the score in due fashion with a statement of the main theme.

Again as said, Roque Baños may be no stranger any more for many, for me it was my first experience. When a score becomes such a wonderful experience through one unique viewing of the film, it says enough about the musical quality of the composed score. Frágiles is big and orchestral, thematic and textural and it moves on its own rhythm to a lyrical climax. Giving you a wonderful experience, giving horror music back that unbreakable feeling.


1. Susan Scared (3.51)
2. Fragile Main Title (4.52)
3. Sad Women (3.11)
4. Upstairs Noises (4.13)
5. About Love Kiss (2.30)
6. Trapped into Elevator (3.24) Excellent track
7. Amy Looks for Susan (2.06)
8. Roy's Death (2.52)
9. Negligence (2.02)
10. Maggie's Illness (4.23)
11. Meeting Charlotte (5.49)
12. The Photo (1.24)
13. Let's Get Out of Here! (7.32) Excellent track
14. We Can't Leave (3.10) Excellent track
15. She's Got Maggie (3.11) Excellent track
16. Requiem for Amy (4.19) Excellent track
17. They just Stay Near what they Love (4.15)
18. Maggie's Theme (1.32)

Total Length: 64.35
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 11 votes - average 3.64/5)

Released by

Filmax Music FLM-0137 (regular release 2005)

Orchestrations by

Roque Baños