Soundtrack for the exhibition “The deported from Caldes de Montbui to the nazi camps”

In October 2021 the Thermalia Museum of Caldes de Montbui (Barcelona, Spain) opened the exhibition “The deported from Caldes to the nazi camps”, in memory of the 12 men from this town who fought for the republicans in the Spanish Civil War and went into exile to France, where they were captured and taken to the extermination camps of Mauthausen and Gusen. Only two of them survived. The show intends to remember and pay homage to these people and tells their story through texts, pictures, documents and various objects.

The exhibition incorporates two elements to help the audience to connect emotionally with the facts explained to them: on one hand the stunning drawings, between abstract and figurative, by the local artist Ferran Vidal (www.ferranvidal.com); on the other hand, the original music I had the privilege to compose.

The music for this exhibition is a 45 minute sequence which loops through the exhibition hall speakers; therefore, the sounds fill the space and accompany the spectator along the show. The sequence is made up of different passages, all of them deliberately dark, according to the story they illustrate. Given that text is the main element of the show I conceived a soundtrack which left space for reading; thus, long atmospheric fragments and episodes of short, percussive, separated sounds are plentiful. Most passages evoke moods and feelings such as fear or anguish, although they alternate with others somehow warmer (of sadness, hope, dreams…) and even fragments of absolute silence to let the spectator’s feelings to settle.

The goal of this soundtrack is to contribute to make the audience come out of the show moved by what they’ve just seen. Thus, I used different resources to subtly cast a shadow over the spectator mood and generate tension: atonal compositions, spaced apart repetitions of single notes or very simple melodic motives, etc. On the other hand, and in order to favour the connection with the audience, I included elements that they could recognize: from the use of common instruments (cello, clarinet, violin, Spanish guitar, etc) to sound effects of trains, punches, pick hits or voices of men singing, among others. The whole work intends to evoke memories and emotions that the spectators can link (consciously or not) to the story that’s been explained to them, and with which they can wrap it around.

In the first video you can make a brief virtual tour along the exhibition while listening to a selection of fragments of the soundtrack. In the one below you can listen to the whole sequence, accompanied by the Ferran Vidal drawings.