Cecilia Arditto

The magic (2005) – program notes

for harp and percussion
dedicated to Arnold Marinissen

The stage shows two sorcerers working in a lab. They are alchemists who use musical instruments and sound objects to perform their magic. A duo for harp and percussion the instruments realm is extended to the world of objects. Metrical metronomes, dropping stones, paper sounds aim to create an aural situation where the theater is acted by the sound.  
Magic in the context of this work could be understood like alchemy. The two sorcerers work in counterpoint in their music spells. The sound is not transmuted into gold but into lights, gestures, and theatrical elements. It is not clear what is to be seen, to be heard or to be imagined in this piece.  The timpani suggests the big pan from the magicians; it is used mainly like a resonator capturing distant resonances.

 They are especially good at transmuting solid objects into soundwaves. In a never-ending modulation wheel, they can change water into air into grains into umbrellas into a c sharp into water again. The sorcerers live in a slightly out-of-phase dimension from each other; for that reason, they relate to each other in canon. We can think that one is the echo of the other, or, in a more adventurous interpretation, that one is the anticipation of the other.

They like experimentation, so, when a spell works, they feel effervescent for a couple of seconds to instantly fall into a melancholic mood. To lighten up, they quickly write down the result of the trick on a paper and give it to the scientists. Magic is not about results; it is about believing in miracles and subtle relationships.
I recognize in their attitude a resemblance with ordinary life, where we live our unsolved spells in canon with our fantasies, slightly late, slightly early.

“The daughter of the sorceress…”  opera page
• Video (excerpts)

Part of the composing process of La Magia was shared in my blog (English and Spanish articles):
• Blog Post “Magia” (Español)
• Blog Post “La magia” (Español)
• Blog Post “Again” (Español)
• Blog Post “Trayectorias” (Español)
• Blog Post “Justo eso” (Español)
• Blog Post “La espontaneidad convencional” (Español)
• Blog Post”Unsolved spells” (English)