A modular electronic “opera” in progress, based on the Minor Arcana of the Tarot.
Magical Theatre, for seven instrumentalists and electronics, is a modular piece in two parts, comprised of six different pieces for instruments and electronics. The piece is conceived as a kind of multidimensional ”musical mandala”, that is presented in time as gradual transformations of simple sound materials. The sound materials, although defined to a large extent by the physical properties of the instruments, may be perceived in multiple listening levels or dimensions. The musical instruments as a physical sounding object, the abstract perception of musical textures and the symbolic perception of familiar, ”everyday-world” sounds are some such possible listening levels. This perceptional multidimensionality is supported by an open, montage form, controlled to a certain extend by the instrumentalists, inspired by similar film or television techniques.
The general concept and structure of the piece is based on the Minor Arcana of Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot. The complex symbolic system that can be found there functions as the unifying element between the different perceptional levels. Each piece has a distinct sound world that is connected to a Tarot suit and its corresponding astrological element. The Wands, corresponding to the element of fire are connected to Electric Serpent, for piano and electronics. The Cups, corresponding to the element of water are connected to the electroacoustic pieces Waterfall and Acid Drops. The swords, corresponding to the element of air are connected to Fissure for solo cello and Spider Web for string quartet. Finally, Disks and the element of earth are connected to Liquid Glass for two percussionists and electronics. Aces represent the basic ”elemental” qualities of the sound materials. The remaining Tarot numbered cards from 2-10 represent represent gradual transformations of the basic ”elemental” sounds. Each numbered card has a title and is connected to a section of a piece:
-Wands: Dominion, virtue, completion, strife, victory, valour, swiftness, strength, oppression.
-Cups: Love, abundance, luxury, disappointment, pleasure, debauch, indolence, happiness, satiety.
-Swords: Peace, sorrow, truce, defeat, science, futility, interference, cruelty, ruin.
-Disks: Change, work, power, worry, success, failure, prudence, gain, wealth.
Parts of the piece have been performed at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2011.
Spider Web – Spider Web B