Octoechos choir

You have in your hands a major record of the current creative music. The three pieces of this album, and other ones not included like La veu de les Gàrgoles, certify it.

Xavier Gelabert is an easy-going and not complicated man, an open person as few. This vital attitude is reflected in his music, but be aware, it isn’t light music but deep music that leaves grounds. Maybe this combination of Mediterranean nature and the research of the fair and essential message is a distinctive feature of many great creators in our geographical and cultural area. As a good islander he knows that he must fill a bundle with his musical virtues and sail far away if it’s necessary. Xavier’s music sleeps in Manacor but lives in the world.

Xavier Gelabert is grateful to life and what his land provides to him or at least is what his corporeality emanates, because he knows how to extract the best things of his immediate context. He adapts himself, plows the ground musically and returns it abundantly to his society with geniality transformed into music. And that is called profession.

Xavier makes territory, makes identity, he cultivates the culture from the bottom, without any partisan or grandiloquent speeches. Xavier works. It’s a music that flows. And that’s already a vital attitude. His music COMMUNICATES.

This album has been cultivated with the best intellectual seeds of the contemporary music from Central Europe of the twentieth century but it also grows from the sacred and liturgical music. Music that he has gathered from a ground, watered with a militant humanism probably obtained from his experience in La Capella de la Seu of Palma de Mallorca. The rational faith in human being and the faith in the power of art to give us a warning when necessary but also to inebriate us of beauty and reflective depth. Xavier Gelabert is a necessary artist.

This record bears witness of this. First of all, prepare a gin-tonic, get a good armchair and give yourself time. Make sure to have a sound equipment with good speakers and turn up the volume. I can attest this sonic journey will be life-changing. This voyage carries a well-known crew and close to Xavier. A choir just over one year old made up of music professionals of different profiles and directed by himself.

The album opens with a mixed musical piece of practically 25 minutes: In blood we trust for choir and electronic music. A shocking work in its message, its content and in its sound. The title refers to the United States national motto In God We Trust, but in this musical proposal the motto is In blood we trust. A metaphor of inhuman sacrifice, of destruction, of the war and terror caused and imposed by dictatorships and global fascisms of the twentieth century, whether from the left or from right. A whole statement of principles, because in this work, current political figures of questionable humanity also shows up. A wake-up call to today’s world. Xavier Gelabert appropriates texts, speeches and hymns of fascists, dictators and dictatorships to create a disturbing and direct musicality. A mixed electronic music that surrounds, captures and catches us. Some moments, claustrophobic music, music that resonates within us, a voice of consciousness, a collective guilt. It’s important to remember that Xavier Gelabert works by layers of meaning and this leads us not to let escape the conceptual part of the work so it refers to the search for an explicit meaning.

The second piece proposed by the album is La inescrutable veu de Déu, a sacred scene work for choir and electronic music almost 25 minutes long. A work that sonorously has something in common with the electronics of the first disc piece: In blood we trust. Depth, echoing sounds, wide and reflective spaces from which emanate electronic lines, frequency bands that enhance the sound spectrum and evolve producing controlled and meticulously composed sensations.

Latin is used to get the message across. It’s not necessary to know Latin but we certainly can’t escape its communicative sound. A sound that we associate directly to something which brings us a message that wants to be heard. For this occasion, Xavier has used more than 49 proverbs written by Ramon Llull. Proverbs about daily life. Message about poise, kindness and good work. The piece is the transmission of the message of God, its sonority that resonates inside Ramon Llull because he is the only one who is able to listen directly to these messages. The piece begins with a dramatic sound, one deep voice that resonates within us. An inner space opens up, voices emanate from the inside of the electronic music, sounds of breaths, primal sounds, percussive vowel sounds and little by little, the texts are revealed and transmitted to us. They become voice. Xavier knows, with great skill, to guide and feed the listening in its right measure, without artifices, always at a leisurely pace, never imposed. The sung parts, austere but effective, reminds us of monodic Gregorian chants. Light lines emanating from the inside. The listening is being renewed throughout the piece with the perfect combination of the ingredients already exposed, it isn’t a juxtaposition of elements but combinations that work with the memory and the creation of echoing electronic spaces.

Eventually it closes the disc, as a triptych, La violació de Lucrècia, for “cantatrice” and electronic music. A shocking work, especially for the expressive and sensual force of the dramatic voice of Cristina Brunet, who, with the nuances and vocal resources that Xavier composes, Cristina transmits us with drama and charm the suffering and the anguish expressed in the libretto. The text suggested by Xavier Gelabert is a personal review of Shakespeare’s famous poem, The Rape of Lucretia. A poem that was also musically adapted by Benjamin Britten based in a libretto written by Ronald Duncan. This piece is structured in an interleaving of recitations and arias that guide and accompany the pain that ends up bittering the listener.

The play begins with an electronic sentence which transports us precisely to a slowdown: with the initial electronic music, the composer stops the time to make us focus on the first recitation introduced by the musical piece: “Blood … Semen … Vaginal fluids … », a direct text filled of pain and magnificently played by Cristina Brunet; his pain pierces our hearts. Electronics are kept in two sound levels. A constant deep and regular pulse gives rhythm and psychological depth to the recited; the brief initial electronic fragment becomes the angst of Lucretia.

Four recitations, four arias and a finale are built on scrubbed, grainy and trembling vocal sounds combined with percussive vowel sounds that resonate in Lucretia’s and audience’s minds . A psychological space. We must stop here to emphasize the gently electronic treatment of the voice that sometimes sounds filtered, as arising from a transistor that transmits the monodrama, as if Lucretia was reciting and singing to us from another psychological dimension.

The contrast appears with the sung parts written in triplet form, as a voice freed from oppression and pain.

Aria 2 is a hypnotic chant based on a single iterative note.  A fixed point on time and space, motionless, as if Lucretia didn’t dare to move knowing her fatal destiny. Once again Gelabert handles the form and guides the audience by interspersing nuances, vocal and textual resources dramatically captivating and piercing us.

With this piece, this essential album is closed. This is a triptych disc where Xavier Gelabert sends us the message: Be aware of totalitarianism – Fight for Freedom – Be transmitters of essential and necessary values.

Octoechos Choir is the perfect instrument, the VOICE that makes us pass the message in a rich, suggesting, sensual and blunt way.

Joan Bagés i Rubi
pianist, composer, sound artist

 

 

In blood we trust. Adaptation of Adolf’s Hitler text “Mein Kampf” (1889 – 1945)

The nation must […] all […] people around it […] won’t be satisfied […] their racial features […] to choose and preserve […] in a nation […] supremacy […] race […]

Nation must gather all its people around and it won’t be satisfied just by choosing their best racial features and preserve it but raise them in a supremacy position.

Foreign policy of the racist state must ensure the means of subsistence on the planet to the race that inhabit this State; only a vast territory can guarantee its people the freedom of their life.

National State has the duty to ensure the writing of a story of the humanity in which the problem of races has a prevailing place; it must be banned all the publications that doesn’t consider the national prosperity.

To make easier the creation of a national press we claim to the newspaper editors and assistants to be members of the Nation and the prohibition of the financial participation and influence of the Non-National people on the National Newspapers.

We claim for the legal prosecution of all the artistic and literary tendencies that may contribute to the crumbling of our life as a Nation.

It’s lying himself who thinks that a wealth of theoretical knowledge is a prove of possessing the qualities and energy to rule; on the contrary, it will be a better Leader an agitator who’s able to transmit an idea to the crowd. Exerting leadership requires the ability to move the crowd.

[…] The state […] Schools […] Nation […] Territory […] Race […] Degenerate […]

Forbidden […] Adepts […]

The State divides the population in three categories: citizens, subjects and strangers.

The education will be taught to produce preferably officials, engineers, lawyers, teachers and literary men to keep our intellectuality.

The National State must, firstly, free the marriage from a perpetual racial degradation and be intended to create human beings resembling the Lord instead of monsters half-men, half-monkeys.

The woman education must have an absolute purpose: the body training and the creation of future family mothers.

The antipode of the Aryan in the Jewish, who has never maintained his own culture and is invariably a parasite in the body of other nations.

The young German woman is a subject in herself, but the marriage confers her the status of citizen.

The State will not tolerate men lacking conditions to be invited to give their opinion or to judge on any subject.

La violació de Lucrècia. Adaptation of W. Shakespeare’s text The

rape of Lucretia (1564 – 1616)

 

Recitation 1

Blood… Semen… Vaginal fluids
Blood… Semen… Semen… Semen…

Abandoned, naked, dirty,
stained of blood, semen and vaginal fluids;
raped on my chamber pillows;
thrown away like a despicable object.
Raped… bloodstained… abandoned…
Thrown like a despicable object…
For my honesty he felt bold.
Whilst he attacked me, his heart
enameled by lust,
seemed to languish when it spilled
fierce seminal fluids
whilst he pulled off bundles of my hair.
I pressed the shining carmine of my lips
with the teeth
and swallowed a silent blame
whilst my heart broke
for the unintended offense
of my insolent beckon.
My angst grew
by the slanderous mafia’s opinion;
by my father’s disgust;
by my husband’s disregard;
by my own hell’s fury.
So,
changing sights by muffled wild cries
I jumped out of bed,
barefoot, naked, dirty,
stained, thrown away, raped…
and taking a soft and dirty pillow
I executed my revenge. 

Aria 1

Barbarian, you won.
You’ll leave prevailed and pleased.
You’ll sing with delight that
you turned my bed into your battlefield.
That my cries were triumphant notes,
your kisses, assaults and my breasts
the Capitol’s columns;
your trophy,
the indecent honor of the extinct Lucretia.
Barbarian… You won…

 

Recitation 2

But I, cruel…
… where will I go to escape my revenge?
Where will I go, cruel,
to escape my revenge?
In Libia’s woods,
in Seven Seas’s coasts,
in Hell’s caves
may the beasts chase me,
may the waves drown me in the sea foam,
may the spirits haunt me…
You… Father… Husband… Lover…

You want to take a bath of royal blood; 
you want to leave in the confusion of a carnage
and death horror to the ignoble governor…
You want a whip for scepter,
a prison for kingdom,
fetter for crown…
You want the remains of my voice
to turn a wrinkled mantle
that hinders the trembling feet
and turn your throne in an abyss…
You want the remains of my voice
Oh gods,
what a vengeance is planning my brain
in its delusion… 

Aria 2

Where is the razor
that in traitor’s hands
get the strength of lust
and dared to put on
the warm shape of my neck.
Where is the razor
that knows the hoax
used by the perverse tyrant,
and is going to help me write in blood
the story of whether Lucretia sinned. 

Aria 3

What will become of you, my beloved heart?
To put an end to your suffering
you’ll must be strong and steady.
Although you already know that they will say
that your death is the regret
of your lack of glory and honor.
What will become of you, my beloved heart?

 Recitation 3

You know the world will say
that if you wanted to be a model of modesty,
before suffering the defeat of death,
you should have suffered the victory of martyrdom.
That the presumed tyrant wouldn’t have emboldened
if your desire and your voluptuosity
wouldn’t have invited him. 

Aria 4

What will become of you, my beloved heart?
To get over the guilt
it won’t help to be seen hurt
as excuses aren’t worth either
because, for the soul to be invincible
your suffering should have lasted longer.
What will become of you, my beloved heart? 

Recitation 4

No… No woman will be authorized, 
with Lucretia’s example,
to survive her dishonor!
Let me run frantically towards death
and maybe that way, Heaven,
may be judge and witness
of my unfortunate story.
Meanwhile, Rome, father and husband
are going to expect from you
the revenge of a stolen honor.

Finale

Barbarian, you won…
Goodbye…

BIO

Manacor, Mallorca 1976 .

Graduated in composition by the Conservatori Superior de Música de les Illes Balears.

Master in composition by the European Musical Creation Workshop (2009 – 2014).

Masterclass in avant-garde composition with Alberto Posadas, Aureliano Cattaneo, Xavier Carbonell, José Luís Torà, Pierluigi Billone, Bernard Lang, Uli Fusseneger, Voro García and Stefano Gervasoni.

Conductor of the Chamber choir Ars Antiqua from 2001 to 2016.

Member of the artistic committee of the Area Encontres of the ACA Foundation from 2000 to 2009.

Productor and musical director of the operas Els Pirates, El Mikado, Ai Quaquín que has vengut de prim!, La floristeria del pànic, Libera me and E lucevan le Stelle.

Winner of the composition contest Art Jove 2001 with Quartet de cordes num. 1-Digue’s foll.

Awarded with the debut of Les Jeunes Mamelles in the 7th Mostra Sonora de Sueca

Recently he has released two chamber operas: E lucevan le Stelle… (december 2015) in the Sala La Fornal d’Espectacles and Libera me, sacramental act for a battered woman (april 2016), Purificatio for choir, organ and electronic (february 2016 – ordered by the Cofraria d’en Jordi des Racó), Penjada Cordèlia for orchestra (18 and 19 february 2016 – ordered by the Orquestra Simfònica de Balears), Lo verger de l’amat for actor and band (order for the celebration of the Ramon Llull year) and background music for the theatre play Fuita i martiri de Sant Andreu Milà (dramaturgy by Joan Gomila and Sebastià Adrover of the novel Andreu Milà from Miquel Àngel Riera).

Soon he will release, between midst 2017 and end of 2020, […]anava despullat[…] for organ played at four hands, Collar de perles (un cometa desfent-se) for two saxos and electronic, Magenta on Turquoise Blue for piano and orchestra, L’implorante ou la folle de Montdevergues for mezzosoprano, saxo and electronic and La veu de les gàrgoles for 60 solo players.