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Enrico Chapela: electric cello concerto premiered in LA

(January 2012)

Enrico Chapela's new electric cello concerto, MAGNETAR, was premiered by Johannes Moser and the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Gustavo Dudamel in October

Mexican composer Enrico Chapela, as noted by the Los Angeles Times, “has many musical sides that he integrates without any apparent sense of conflict. He has played guitar in a heavy metal band. He has studied advanced musical electronics in Paris and applied the uncanny harmonic concepts of the French spectralists to his work. He also retains his connection to more conventional Mexican music.”

This composer summary was prompted by the world premiere of Chapela’s MAGNETAR, a new electric cello concerto for Johannes Moser, premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel in October. The work is co-commissioned by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, with performances in the UK and Brazil following in future seasons.

MAGNETAR’s title comes from the pulsars or neutron stars that are the most magnetic phenomena in the universe. The electric cello produces its sounds via electromagnetism and Chapela has derived the pitches for the soloist from data collected by astro-physicists from three magnetars. The cello part combines sounds from an effects patcher, including delay, granulation, and spectral freeze, to create its otherworldly soundscape.

Following an opening movement that features a cadenza that represents according to the composer a magnetar’s “quiet and peaceful times” and a second movement that “falls into a cool jam”, the third movement, entitled Brutal “bursts from nowhere into a fully distorted e-cello that leads into a brutal riff, that gradually builds up to the giant final flare”. Reviewing the premiere, MAGNETAR was described by Musical America as “…an ebullient, wide-ranging work that gleefully embraces a range of genres – everything from movie music to jazz to rock-and-roll and much more…”

“A major e-cello concerto… rich in jazz, rock, and Latin-American influences, and quotations, that are seamlessly integrated… For 25 minutes, Chapela charts a riveting narrative of sounds that create their own reality of love, excitement, and drama ... The crowd roared.”
Strings Magazine

> Más información sobre la obra: MAGNETAR

Photo: Johannes Moser, soloist in Chapela's MAGNETAR (Uwe Arens)

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