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Symphony Orchestra

Commissioned for the Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería, Mexico in 2017.


In the field of academics, which is of primary importance in his activity as a musician, Enrico Chapela has been working with the idea of summarizing the compositional techniques he has developed in recent years, most of which are related to the use of mathematics for the realization of musical material. Among these techniques, there is one on which he has been concentrating in a particular way, and that is the use of symmetrical structures in composition.


This is important in the context of his trajectory, since in works such as Lo nato es neta (2001-2003) and Ínguesu (2003), he had already used this type of structures. In subsequent years, he explored other avenues of musical creation and recently turned his attention back to symmetrical structures, largely because the fact that they contain repetitive elements gives the materials a great malleability, which the composer takes advantage of to make all kinds of transpositions and transformations. If you believe, music lover reader, that behind Chapela's decision there are complicated theoretical, formal, philosophical and aesthetic reasons, the truth is quite different. In response to my express question on the subject, the composer offers me this simple and forceful answer:


Because I discovered that I really like the way these symmetrical structures sound.


Is there a better reason to take a specific path? The fact is that, at the beginning of his exploration of these matters, the composer worked with only three of these symmetrical structures, and thanks to his doctoral studies, he has developed thirteen others, so that, as he himself says, he now has a lot of material to cut from. However, not everything in life is mathematics, science, technique and deep study: there is also rock. Enrico Chapela started using symmetrical structures when he played electric guitar in a rock band (metal, specifically) called Profecía. Like so many rock bands, Profecía evolved, changed style and, in the traditional way in these cases, changed its name to Rotor (note that this name, in addition to its inevitable suggestion of movement and rhythm, is a palindrome, i.e. a symmetrical structure). Chronological reference: Profecíasounded from 1991 to 1995, and already as Rotor, from 1995 to 1997. At the beginning of his career as a composer, let's say formal, Chapela wrote a piece for guitar in homage to the band, which he titled precisely Rotor, and which he later discarded from his catalog. In short: the band disappears, the Rotor for guitar disappears, and now the composer is using symmetrical and palindromic structures, so it is of impeccable logic that his new symphonic work is entitled Rotor.


Regarding the concept of symmetrical structures that he is studying and using, Enrico Chapela mentions that it is basically about finding all the ways in which the octave can be divided symmetrically. And he also states that the use and development of such structures has led him to obtain all the pitches (i.e. notes) of the symphonic piece. In addition to being euphonic and palindromic, the word that gives title to Chapela's work has an undoubted association of movement that, according to Chapela, may refer in the imagination to the rotor of a helicopter, but also to the fact that metal music is usually danced in the style of slam, which in some of its manifestations involves circular movements. This observation serves to emphasize that, as a composer of concert music, Enrico Chapela remains firmly and joyfully anchored to his rock past, which is why the work is dedicated to Pancho Guzmán, his childhood friend who used to be the vocalist of the metal band. In addition, he says he is satisfied to have entered a stage of maturity in which he no longer seeks to reinvent his language in each work, but has found one that he can rework and perfect in successive works. To this maturity and stability of the composer has contributed in good measure the fact that he has turned forty years old and has had a daughter.


Rotor was commissioned to Chapela by the Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería. The composer comments that receiving this commission was like fulfilling the dream of any composer, given the well-known interpretative quality of the OSM. On July 15, 2017, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería premieres Rotor, under the baton of its artistic director, Carlos Miguel Prieto.


Years later, Chapela retakes the score of Rotor and makes a revision of the work, with the primary objective of making it ready for recording. This recording of Rotor was made in 2023 by the Portland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eckart Preu, and is included in a disc devoted (fortunately) entirely to Mexican symphonic music, which also includes Arturo Márquez's Máscaras (1950) and Ana Lara's Ángeles de llama y hiel (1959)


Silvestre Revueltas Hall, Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra. Diego Naser, conductor.

Silvestre Revueltas Hall, Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra. Diego Naser, conductor.

Merrill Auditorium, Portland, ME, USA, Portland Symphony Orchestra. Eckart Preu, conductor.

Merrill Auditorium, Portland, ME, USA, Portland Symphony Orchestra. Eckart Preu, conductor.

Terrace Theater, Long Beach, CA, Long Beach Symphony Orchestra. Eckart Preu, conductor.

Nezahualcóyotl Hall, CCU, Mexico City, Minería Symphony Orchestra. Carlos Miguel Prieto, conductor.

World Premiere. Neza Hall, Mexico City, Minería Symphony Orchestra. Carlos Miguel Prieto, conductor.

June 16, 2024

June 15, 2024


February 4, 2023

February 2, 2023

November 19, 2022

July 16, 2017

July 15, 2017

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