Noctámbulos, commissioned by the Dresdner Sinfoniker to celebrate the orchestra’s 10th birthday in 2008, is an orchestral version of Lo Nato es Neta (The Innate is true). The aim of this work composed in 2001-2003, a suite for rock trio and acoustic quintets, was to explore in depth the possibilities of drums and electric guitars in combination with the acoustic chamber ensembles of the classical concerto tradition.
Lo Nato es Neta was originally called “Equinoccio”, and to begin its composition, I drew a blue print based on the astrology of a hypothetical equinox. I first assigned each instrument a celestial entity; I assigned electric guitar the solar sign, which is the sign of the zodiac where the Sun is at birth and represents the basic character, the individual essence. The bass guitar was the rising sign, which is the sign that comes out in the east at the time of birth and represents the foundations of personality, the face we show to the world. The drums interpreted the midheaven, which is the sign found at zenith and represents aspirations, desires and ideals.
I then assigned planets and asteroids to winds and strings, using the mythological characteristics of the Greco-Roman gods they represent. I gave the twelve signs of the zodiac to percussion instruments and I converted the prepared piano into the North Node of the moon, which is the northern point of the sky in which the lunar trajectory crosses the Earth’s orbit.
Everything was going as planned until I felt obliged to violate the blueprint for the good of the music, which condemned the plan to oblivion, given the obvious futility of a violated blueprinted. However, I liked the idea of astrology, so I decided to analyze what I had already composed and recorded from the point of view not of a hypothetical equinox, but from that of my own astral chart. For this, I sought help from a professional astrologist to interpret my birth chart, placing emphasis on looking for the possible relationships between angles, planets and signs I mythologically gathered, and to see whether they were clearly related in my birth chart astrologically. I then renamed the movements, imposing a character from each one at will, and finally I asked the astrologist to investigate the relevance of the role played by each character imposed at will.
The result was surprising. All of the aspects which astrology indicated had, in fact, a musical counterpart; positive and supportive aspects between planets, as trines and conjunctions, which when interpreted in the manuscript resulted in trios and duets between instruments, or negative and confrontational aspects, such as oppositions and squares, which were found as contrasting counterpoints, or the influence attributed to the presence of a certain planet in a certain sign that fit perfectly with the nature of the solo played by the corresponding instrument…
Given the abundance of chance, I chose to give them the benefit of doubt and consider them as possible causalities. Perhaps the influence of stars on our lives plays a decisive role to the extent of dictating invisible decisions in our creative processes. If the surrounding energies at the time of birth can define the destiny of a composition many years later, then there are no coincidences.
"The evening’s strongest impression was made by Noctámbulos, written by the Mexican composer Enrico Chapela for rock trio and orchestra at the request of the Sinfoniker and also premiered at this concert. The fundamental element of this work consists of the contrasting rhythms that evolve into a polyrhythmic structure. At the same time, powerful eruptions and a fascinating orchestration, compelling ostinati and irresistible drive are supplementary parameters. Chapela proves here his ability to compose and assign floating melodies to individual solo instruments – besides to the trio, mainly to wind instruments. The composition is full of refinement, which as a result of the music’s vitality is perceived as entirely natural and often also as spontaneous." (Peter Zacher, Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten, Sep 8, 2008)
"...big, flamboyant fusion, largely dependent on intricate rhythmic cross-currents and deftly contrasted timbres..." (Steve Smith, The New York Times, Feb 3, 2009)