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About this Piece

Born in Mexico City, Enrico Chapela studied at the Musical Education and Research Center (CIEM), obtaining degrees in guitar performance and compositional techniques. Since the year 2000, he has devoted himself to composing with the support of grants bestowed by the National Fund for Arts and Culture (FONCA) and the Musical Education and Research Center (CIEM). He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in electro-acoustic music at the University of Paris Saint-Denis, with Horacio Vaggione and José Manuel López López.

Since 2002, several of Chapela’s works have obtained recognition at national and international competitions. His music has been performed by the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, Percussion Group Cincinnati, Anacrusax, the Cosmos sax quartet, the Arditti String Quartet, the Carpentier String Quartet, Gonzalo Salazar, Mauricio Náder, and Guilherme Carvalho. He has been commissioned to compose music for Cuarteto Latinoamericano, ONIX ensemble, Lab 33 project, NYYD ensemble, the New Paths in Music Festival, the Carlos Chávez Symphony Orchestra, the University of Cincinnati’s CCM Symphony Orchestra, the Dresden Sinfoniker, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In 2006, Enrico Chapela released his first professional recording, Antagónica, performed by Gonzalo Salazar, Victor Flores, Cuarteto Latinoamericano, the Bellas Artes Wind Trio, the Mexico City Wind Quintet, the Mexico City Brass Quintet, Tambuco Percussion Quartet, and the Silvestre Revueltas Virtual Symphony Orchestra.

The composer has provided the following note:

This piece is based on the poem “Li Po” by the Mexican poet José Juan Tablada, who based it on the life of the Chinese poet Li Po. Tablada traveled to the Far East during the first years of the last century, where he discovered the poetry of Li Po. This poem is based on Li Po’s biography and on a free Spanish translation of his famous poem “Drinking alone with the moon.”

“Li Po” is unique in Mexican literature for it depicts the story by drawing beautiful calligrams with the words. The first time I saw this poem I was immediately captured by its visual presentation, but when I discovered that this nice set of calligrams hided an even more exquisite poetry, I surrendered my self to Tablada. I recognized the power of combining the eye with the ear, semantics with phonetics, east and west, and I knew I had to compose a work based on this poem…

First, I recorded myself reading the poem, once and again, until satisfied with my own interpretation. I then transcribed this recording into a musical score, writing down the notes, the rhythms and the phonetics. I also recorded each phoneme of the poem separately, and by means of a spectral analyzer, obtained the series of partial notes that constitute their acoustic spectra. Secondly, I prepared the electronic part of the work by using the separate phonemes as well as the recording of my reading. Finally, using the poem as structural basis, I composed the ensemble parts using the transcription of my reading and the analyzed spectra as raw musical material.