This piece is based on the poem “Li Po” by the Mexican poet José Juan Tablada, who based this poem on the life of the Chinese poet Li Po. Tablada traveled to the Far East during the first years of the last century where he discovered the poetry of Li Po. This poem is based on Li Po’s biography and on a free Spanish translation of his “Drinking alone with the moon” famous work.
“Li Po” is unique in Mexican literature for it depicts the story by drawing beautiful calligrammes with the words. The first time I saw this poem I was immediately captured by its visual presentation, but when I discovered that this nice set of calligrammes hided an even more exquisite poetry, I surrendered my self to Tablada. I recognized the power of combining the eye with the ear, semantics with phonetics, east and west, and I knew I had to compose a work based on this poem…
First, I recorded me reading the poem, once and again, until satisfied with my own interpretation. I then transcribed this recording into a musical score, writing down the notes, the rhythms and the phonetics. I also recorded each phoneme of the poem separately, and by means of a spectral analyzer, obtained the series of partial notes that constitute their acoustic spectra. Secondly, I prepared the electronic part of the work by using only separate phonemes as well as the recording of my reading. Finally, using the poem as structural basis, I composed the ensemble parts using the transcription of my reading and the analyzed spectra as raw musical material.