Robin Estrada

Notes from the Composer

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Et Apartum Est Templum

Performed by the Ateneo Chamber Singers; directed by Jonathan Velasco.

Commissioned by the San Francisco Choral Artists (under Magen Solomon, artistic director), Et Apertum est Templum uses text from the Book of Revelation in the New Testament. This composition focuses on the latter passage of the 11th Chapter and the onset of the 12th: “And the temple of God was opened in heaven: and the ark of his testament was seen in his temple. And there were lightnings, and voices, and an earthquake, and great hail. And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.”

Written for eight vocal sections (three sopranos, three altos, tenors and basses), bell chords morph from the chordal to the pointillistic against a backdrop of recitatives with areas of extended and exaggerated consonants. Also evident in the piece is the juxtaposition of Eastern and Western musical material, particularly Balinese scales and Gregorian chants, with the fusion of the indigenous with the modern apparent in the vocal techniques used throughout the composition.

dasal

Performed by the Berkeley Contemporary Chamber Players; conducted by David Milnes.

At dawn's rising, the Muezzin's voice stirs a slumbering village to dasal (prayer). Silence gives way to the drone of melismatic melodies, beckoning the faithful to movement. Within moments, sacred intonations are drowned by the morning's labors. Animals groan in anticipation, women, men and children scurry about their quotidian tasks. But dasal persists, sustaining the day's chaos with its haunting calm.

 

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Comments [29]

WENG from Pacific Northwest, U.S.A

The diversity of disciplines an artist must master to rise above the classical expertise in his domain demands in our competitive age that such mastery must exceed those of one’s peers and even superiors when connecting with any audience.
After listening to ROBIN’s demos vis-à-vis a sampling of the other composers here, only his resonated with my Gregorian and Zen meditation practice of the Paradoxical---“Sound of the Eternal Now” and “Sound of the Clap of One Hand”, respectively from the Jesuit and the Taoist sacred traditions.
Looking forward to more transcendent music from ROBIN ..

Jul. 18 2010 01:42 AM
Dina from New York, New York

Riveting!

After listening to Mr. Estrada's composition, there is no doubt for a well deserved inclusion in the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra's 2010-2011 Season at Carnegie Hall.

Passion, Talent, Hard Work and Beauty. All put to music. Simply undeniable.

Jul. 17 2010 09:40 AM
Ana DeVries from Laguna Beach, CA

A difficult piece to learn and perform. The composer has successfully brought about the apocalyptic character of the text through the interplay of voices and choral dynamics.

Jul. 16 2010 04:56 PM
Jimmy from Finland

I find Robin's music powerful and direct, yet also complex and multilayered. His knowledge and understanding of the human voice are rarely found in other composers, while his seriousness and commitment to his work are beyond doubt. He conveys strong human emotions with elegance and sobriety, which makes him capable of establishing a strong connection with his audience while remaining true to himself. His music is always engaging, plus he boasts and impeccable technique. Robin is a composer who for too long has been kept away from the limelight, but I believe it is now time for his music to get the recognition it truly deserves.

Jul. 05 2010 10:43 AM
Peter from SF Bay Area

Robin consistently creates music that pulls the listener in to a completely different world. The world he takes us to in this piece is hauntingly simultaneously ethereal and sublime, profane, demonic, and sacred. It is sonorous but far from familiar. I for one find it positively a transfixing experience. Great work indeed.

Jun. 27 2010 08:11 PM

"Et Apertum" reminds me of Ingram Marshall (that's meant as a compliment). Exciting & mysterious. I like the spoken-word babble that washes over periodically. It can be hard for a recovering Catholic to like a piece with such liturgical feel, but I did like this. And dasal is very involving. Sonic caffeine.

Jun. 26 2010 01:05 PM

Enjoyed listening to these. They are original and imaginative - accessible but they promise more discoveries on subsequent listenings. I'll definitely look for performances of his work in the Bay Area to hear live.

Jun. 26 2010 12:32 PM
Katrina Gutierrez from Sydney, Australia

Estrada's pieces create for us a third space where East and West meet to illustrate with sounds timeless narratives such as prayer and the end of the world. He is daring, imaginative, and able to walk the fine line between the simple and complex, resulting in music that is both strange and majestic as well as earthy and accessible. I am fascinated with the dialogue he creates between cultures, bringing together the global and local to create brilliant musical works that are representative of a globalized world and contribute to both Eastern and Western cultures. The paradoxical dualities he creates in the blending of indigenous and modern musical techniques and of the Eastern mysticism and Eurocentric ideas of religion embedded within the music is truly inspired.

Jun. 25 2010 08:24 AM
Katrina Gutierrez from Sydney, Australia

Estrada's pieces create for us a third space where East and West meet to illustrate with sounds timeless narratives such as prayer and the end of the world. He is daring, imaginative, and able to walk the fine line between the simple and complex, resulting in music that is both strange and majestic as well as earthy and accessible. I am fascinated with the dialogue he creates between cultures, bringing together the global and local to create brilliant musical works that are representative of a globalized world and contribute to both Eastern and Western cultures. The paradoxical dualities he creates in the blending of indigenous and modern musical techniques and of the Eastern mysticism and Eurocentric ideas of religion embedded within the music is truly inspired.

Jun. 25 2010 08:21 AM
Abe Fabella from Los Angeles

I've known Mr. Estrada's music for six years now. I recognize his techniques as modern but the music is graced with an unmistakable "Filipino" heart that I understand having grown up as a Fil-Am classically-trained musician and composer who doesn't speak Tagalog. Even though I have minimal exposure to truly indigenous Filipino music, I immediately am drawn to Mr. Estrada's voice because, I feel, he connects with something that is musically and culturally a part of me. And although his style is radically different from my own personal compositional voice, I know deep down that his music is vital to me. Truly visceral music of this new century!

Jun. 25 2010 03:08 AM
GP

Guttural, silky, pointillistic, tranquil --- there are way too many ways to describe the experience that is a Robin Estrada piece. This composer consistently and masterfully explores the many textural possibilities of his instruments. Employing these, he creates musical moments that are always fresh and memorable. But that's not what makes Mr. Estrada a great composer (and therefore one of the best candidates for this prize). What makes Mr. Estrada great is his ability to merge new and old, east and west, written out and improvisatory without making it seem like a gimmick. In an Estrada piece, all of these techniques and ideas coagulate to communicate a message that is always accessible, always familiar, always relatable. You could be that child that was forced to watch a concert of 20th century composers. And you'd come out remembering the Estrada piece the most. That's what makes Robin Estrada the perfect candidate for this honor.

Jun. 25 2010 12:33 AM
Joanne from Boston, MA

Robin Estrada and his music uplifts in the purest sense of the word, especially with his composition, "Et Apertum Est Templum".

Jun. 24 2010 07:51 PM
PKFacundo

Robin Estrada consistently weaves a brilliant and contemporary web of unique artistry and intelligent dynamism in his work. "Et Apertum" in particular never fails to unleash a deluge of thought and emotion for those performing his work and those listening to it.

Jun. 24 2010 02:03 PM
Leo Locsin from Manila, Philippines

What sets Mr. Estrada apart from today’s composers is that he embodies the post-modern experience in every note and every idea that he comes up with. He deftly melds both the East and West in his works, creating a vibrant hybrid that is the soundtrack to this current age of globalization, particularly indicating the amalgamation of cultures. Himself an Asian living abroad, Mr. Estrada utilizes, deconstructs, and challenges both Eastern and Western idioms resulting in a sonic landscape that is truly stimulating and unforgettable.

Jun. 24 2010 01:59 PM
A Amado

Mr. Robin Estrada's "Et Apertum" is a unique and artistic work which shows different musical scenes & tapestries connected together to form one dramatic musical gem.

Jun. 24 2010 01:23 PM
Alain Panlilio from San Francisco

I'm a fan of many types of music.. But it is in Mr. Estrada's that I find myself exhilarated and strangely soothed at the same time.

Et Apertum est Templum transported me to the heavens and back..
Just wonderful!

Jun. 24 2010 06:29 AM
Mike Gumaru

His music is very riveting! This composition is both delightfully textured and disturbingly depicting of what the composition is all about. It's complete soul from sheer genius.

Jun. 24 2010 01:46 AM
Je'free from Torrance, CA

Robin Estrada's art is genuinely cut-above-the rest -- masterpieces entertaining the ears, touching the heart, and inspiring the soul; a true product of some divine talent and a mastery of skills; a moving music with a purpose.

Jun. 23 2010 01:34 PM
Paula Hollowell from Berkeley, California

Robin Estrada's compositions for voice are so unusual! He uses voices like an orchestra--some parts are percussive, some melodic, some dissonate--all at the same time. I especially love the Et Apertum est Templum. It is wild and mysterious, just like the Apocalypse of John. Estrada's music for voice breaks with tradition in so many ways--and makes us hear with new ears--as if the music paints a picture. Additionally, it is wonderful how he uses Filipino folk music in his work, honoring his roots, and bringing this rich heritage to new audiences. Bravo!

Jun. 23 2010 01:09 AM
Gines Dela Fressange

sterling!
one of the best i have heard this year. truly remarkable

Jun. 23 2010 12:49 AM
rpalma from San Francisco

Robin Estrada is a gifted composer.

Jun. 22 2010 10:42 PM
Liza

This is really powerful music. The blending of different textures within a polyphonic fabric is skillfully done, as is the successful mixing of cultural influences. Beautiful.

Jun. 22 2010 06:58 PM
Jeff Hadler

Extraordinary music. Estrada strives to situate a Philippine Catholic musical tradition within a broader Southeast Asian context. He envisions a Philippines that is not defined by lowland Tagalog culture, and so his project is both catholic and patriotic, drawing on the musics of so-called "hill tribes" and southern Moros. But he also looks to the west, to Java, Bali, Sumatra and the Indonesian archipelago. He allows the tunings of gamelan and talempong to resonate in church music that had long sought to distance itself from local traditions. This is not just beautiful, but politically important work.

Jun. 22 2010 12:57 PM
Rosa Fruto from Manila

Robin Estrada's compositions depict the depths of his musical persona. He can draw the most intense emotions then pull you back to your sense of peace. Listening to his works is such an exhilarating and liberating experience.

Jun. 22 2010 05:57 AM
KMCRB

"Et Apertum" is a piece that skillfully explores the wide range of possibilities in using the human voice as an instrument to effectively paint haunting images of chaos and resolution. "Dasal" is an equally fascinating and thought-provoking work of art. A live performance of any or both of these two pieces would most certainly be of interest to anyone whose imagination they have captured.

Jun. 22 2010 02:54 AM
rfgarcia from San Francisco

Robin's music penetrates the boundaries of "epic" with his unusual way of creating sound - it would always make you wonder what's been going on inside this crazy man's head. Et Apertum Est Templum in particular evokes strong feelings of chaos and an overwhelming sense of grandeur, perfectly capturing the bible's intriguing version of the apocalypse. All hell (and heaven?) would break loose if Carnegie Hall is honored by such musical genius.

Jun. 22 2010 02:01 AM

If the End of Days ever came with its own soundtrack, "Et Apertum" could very well be it. Growing up as a Catholic reading this passage from the Book of Revelation, it had always unfolded in my mind as images, never sounds. Only a musician with the depth, daring and aplomb of Robin Estrada could set such cataclysmic imagery in musical language so fittingly dramatic and stirring. Thank you Robin for clothing the images in my mind with your music.

Jun. 22 2010 01:51 AM

Robin Estrada's music is highly detailed, thoughtful and emotional. Maybe I'm reading into it, but there seems to be a real sense of joy inside of it.

Jun. 21 2010 07:30 PM
M S Campos

Estrada's two pieces illustrate daring versatility in distinct musical media. Et Apertum, in particular, is simultaneously haunting and calming, drawing the listener viscerally into the piece's abrupt shifts. Evocative. It would be fascinating to re-experience this piece within the grand chambers of Carnegie Hall.

Jun. 19 2010 09:17 PM

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