Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Sep 04th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Strange Attractor

ae1 Enrico ChapelaJohannes Moser and Enrico Chapela’s ‘Magnetar’ is a big draw for Cabrillo Festival goers

When it came time for Mexican composer Enrico Chapela to put together a concerto featuring the electric cello, he drew his inspiration from the source of that instrument’s power: electromagnetic energy. Specifically, he based the music on data from flares produced by three different magnetars, an unusual type of pulsar with the largest magnetic field in existence. After compiling a chart of notes that described the shape of each magnetar’s light, he put his guitar in the traditional C-G-D-A tuning of a cello and jammed some ideas that made use of these materials. The resultant concerto, “Magnetar,” can be heard at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium on Saturday, Aug. 10 as part of the 2013 Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.

In imitation of the cosmic noise that precedes and follows the pulsar’s blast, “Magnetar”’s first movement begins and ends with the sounds of orchestra members rubbing their hands together and stomping their feet. “The blast itself is a huge, sudden explosion that gradually decreases its magnitude, so it looked to me like an audio event when I saw this graph on paper,” Chapela explains. “For the first movement, I thought it was a better idea to put this audio event backward: to start with a crescendo toward a big explosion at the end of the first movement. So the first movement is basically one of the explosions that I had, but read from the end to the beginning.”

Connecting the concerto’s first and second movements is a solo cadenza in which the electric cello’s signal is processed through such effects as multi-tap delay and ring modulation. “The idea here is [to convey the period] when the magnetars are not exploding—when they are ‘chilling out,’ let’s say,” the composer notes. This passage leads into the slower second movement, which is illustrative of magnetars in their normal, cooler state.

Lest the audience get too comfortable, “Magnetar”’s final movement begins with an explosion. Attesting to Chapela’s history as a rock guitarist is a monstrous riff that the composer simply calls “brutal.”

ae1 JohannesMoserJohannes MoserJohannes Moser, the renowned cellist featured in Saturday’s performance, says his involvement with this piece has made him more familiar with some of the heavy metal music that influenced the concerto’s third movement. “Enrico has introduced me to a lot of bands that I maybe was aware of, but didn’t necessarily listen to much, like Sepultura, Apocalyptica, Metallica—all these bands that you might have heard once or twice, but once somebody introduces you to the subtleties of it, it’s a whole new listening experience,” he offers. “I was mesmerized by the virtuosity that some of these bands have: all the changes of time; how extremely locked in with each other the musicians are.”

The German-Canadian Moser, who recently moved to New York from his native Munich, flew to Chapela’s home in Mexico City in 2011 to be a part of “Magnetar”’s creation. “That’s why this piece is so dear to me,” he states. “I could witness the process of how it was born, rather than just receiving an email with a PDF: ‘Here you are. Good luck.’ To see how Enrico is living, what his rhythm in the day is, to meet some of his friends and the people he is working with in Mexico—that gave me a whole insight into how he understands sound, rhythm and all these kinds of things.”

Also featured on Saturday are Andrew Norman’s “Unstuck” and the U.S. premiere of Philip Glass’ “Symphony No. 10.” An outdoor dessert reception follows the concert, helping audience and orchestra members sweeten their palates after enjoying a generous helping of unusual musical ideas. 


This Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music concert begins at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10 at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church St., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $32-$52. For tickets and more information, visit cabrillomusic.org or call 420-5260.

Photos: Bernd Uhlig / Uwe Arens

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

You Are What You Post

Online personality algorithms put astrological profiles to shame, but UCSC psychologists are raising questions about sharing personal data

 

Venus Direct, Mercury Retro Soon, Honoring Our Labors

As Burning Man (nine days, Aug. 30-Sept. 7 in the sign of Virgo) burns in the hot white desert sands, a petal of the rose created by retrograde Venus and the twelve-petaled Sun in Virgo’s petals unfold. All of us are on the burning ground (Leo) in the womb (cave of the heart) of the mother (Virgo), gestating for humanity once again (each year) a new state of consciousness. Both Virgo and Cancer, feminine (receptive energies) signs, are from our last solar system (Pleiades). When humanity first appeared on Earth we were nurtured by the mother, a matriarchy of energies (on islands in the Pacific). Eve, Isis and Mary are part of the lineages of our ancient Mother. Overseen by the Pleiades, the Earth (matter, mater, the mother) in that last solar system was imbued with intelligence (Ray 3). As we move toward autumn, another mother, Ceres realizes she has mere weeks left with her beloved daughter, Persephone. Persimmon and pomegranate trees prepare for autumn, their colors signs of hope as the light each day continues to dim. Sunday, Venus in Leo turns stationary direct, yet continues in her shadow until Oct. 9 (when retrograde Mercury turns direct). Slowly our newly assessed values emerge from the Venus retrograde. We thought in Venus retro how to use our resources more effectively. Mercury retrogrades Sept. 17. Monday is Labor Day. Let us honor the labor of everyone, all life a “labor.” Let us honor Labor Day and all those who have “served” (labored for) us this past year. We honor their labors. We honor the labor of our parents, those who have loved us. We honor our own labors, too. We are all in service, we are all laboring. We are all valuable.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Girl Gone Wild

’70s SF recalled in raw, poignant ‘Diary of a Teenage Girl’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Sushi Garden

Local sushi empire expands to Scotts Valley

 

Do you overshare online?

I don’t think so. I just post things about my life, like successful things. Sometimes I just like sharing different news that I find interesting, or favorite artists, clothes, music. I like to post photos. Natalia Delgado, Santa Cruz, Server

 

McIntyre Vineyards

I recently met up with three friends for dinner at Sanderlings at Seascape Beach Resort. We chose to eat outside so we could watch the sun set over the ocean, but the Aptos fog rolled in and swallowed it up.

 

Sustainable Supper

The Homeless Garden Project’s Sustain Supper series supports its award-winning programs