Composition of At the Center for mezzo soprano and orchestra.

June 17, 2018: In a recent trip to Europe, in the Netherland I went to Amsterdam, Deventer and Middelburg. All these places are related to promoting my current composition At the Center for mezzo soprano and orchestra. Below is a link to hear the mockup version of the conductor’s score. It was very moving to visit these places where Etty Hillesum lived. The text to the composition is an entry from Etty Hillesum’s diary, specifically entered on November 15, 1941, a prayer for guidance.

May 20, 2019: I just upload the latest and final edit of this composition At the Center for mezzo soprano and orchestra. I’ve been editing and changing the score for the last three months. I had to make adjustments of the dynamics in various places, and in the process, I also changed some of the phrases here and there.

May 22, 2019: On the most recent mix upload, I used an equalizer and a limiter. Boost up the frequencies in the middle range where the voice is. The voice sample tends to be softer on the lower pitches. So many parameters to deal with in the process to have a doable demo of what this composition would sound like if it was performed live.

November 26, 2019: Just uploaded a new mix of the composition done in Midi in Digital Performer. it took about 3 months to edit and mix this version. It’s a high quality file. I’m using Vienna Symphonic Library for the samples.

At the Center for mezzo soprano and orchestra.

37 Responses to Composition of At the Center for mezzo soprano and orchestra.

  1. Leah Marcus says:

    Gorgeous work — I love the way the harp comes through — something that would be hard to do with a full orchestra!

  2. Helena Woodard says:

    Eric, I love this work! I find that the mezzo-soprano voice comes in at just the right place with the orchestra. It lends equilibrium and an aesthetic melodic quality to the work as a whole. Your compositions have accelerated in complexity over time. Kudos!

  3. Truly an Eric Chapelle moment. The orchestral opening is soft and unassuming, then builds into a colorful accompaniment of the original theme. After enjoying a sense of serenity, we descend into moody temperaments as an accent on a marvelous melodic orchestration. The mezzo soprano is introduced with grace and ease that reminds us the importance of story yet to unfold. Brilliant!

    • admin says:

      Thanks Herbert! It took two years to write this. A lot of thoughts went into it, consciously or unconsciously. Said work was weaved, and along the way, things got refined. The creative process has it ways, especially when we tak a stab at interpreting words that someone else has written, in this case, an entry in the diary of Etty Hillesum.

  4. Kim Dorman says:


  5. Claude Freeman says:

    I had the great good fortune of being introduced to this piece in Eric’s studio. We have been friends for more than forty years and I have been listening to his music for more than half my life. However, I believe At the Center supersedes anything he has composed before. The music meets the greatness of the concept of this young Dutch woman, Etsy Hillesum, who when facing darkness and demise in Nazi death camps embraced it with complete human courage. Somehow Eric has recovered the power of this moment and put it to music that is beyond composition and goes directly into the passion of someone willing to face death fearlessly. The music played my deepest feelings ranging up and down upon the octaves of the heart. Bravo!

  6. Gerry Heng says:

    It’s magnificent, Eric! And well worth the wait. It made my day. Sending it on to my brother…

  7. Steve Lansdowne says:

    Still looking forward to hearing this entire composition when you return. You’re turning out music for the ages!

  8. Francesca says:

    Congratulazioni dear Eric your music is really touching and perfectly matching with the Deep and Pure soul of Etty Hillesum. I know Her from her books and I think that her inner spiritual world deserve to be shared, as universally as possible! Let’s perform this all over the world!!! bravo

  9. Linda Lavaneri says:

    Hi Eric,
    We met at the San Jose Airport this past Sunday, while waiting in the ticket line, you shared your love for composing and gave me your card. You said “At the Center” came from a poem you’d read that inspired you so much, you wrote this amazing piece…It’s incredible!!!! I’m enjoying it so much and so grateful to be able to hear your work. It’s wonderful to have a passion for something in life that inspires your heart, and get to share this with the world…Thank You!!!
    Linda Lavaneri

    • admin says:

      HI Linda,

      I thought I responded to this earlier, but I don’t see it. Anyway, I want to thank you for listening to the composition! I’m in the process of editing it for a final mockup mix and I hope to have a recording of the voice part in the final mix too! Stayed tuned! I’ll email you when it’s done! Best Wishes, Eric

  10. Thom Cooney Crawford says:

    Eric your deep dive with wings into Etty Hillesum’s awakening where her higher luminous Self under the most horrific circumstances elevates even over faith to a pure transcendent experience is so
    ignited in your music. The feelings of raising of the heart in alignment through your incredible composition beyond time’s limit fosters beauty’s harmony. The universality of its scope touches the core that will continue to be praised and felt with wonder and joy. Congratulations for this expanse of revelation through music.
    Thom Cooney Crawford

  11. Isabelle Bernier says:

    Thank you very much, Eric, for this piece. The orchestration is full of colours, and the voice part, very interesting !

    • admin says:

      Thank you Isabelle! I’m still editing the final mix and hopefully I will have a real recording of the voice part. Stay tuned! Best Wishes, Eric

  12. Steve Lansdowne says:

    There is a lot I enjoy in this piece. The best compliment I can pay you is that I kept listening until the very end, then saved your post so I could listen to it again.

  13. Kim Dorman says:

    This is timeless music. Thematically & sonically rich, deeply emotional, it is an immensely rewarding work of art. Rare these days. Thank you so much, Eric, for sharing it with me!

  14. Trish Bostrom says:

    Eric, When are you coming to Seattle to have the Seattle Symphony play it! It is gorgeous! So well done! Amazing how you can hear all of the different parts! Love, Trish

  15. Thom Cooney Crawford says:

    Thom Cooney Crawford, November 27, 2019

    I love the new mix Eric….Mezzo Soprano in “prayer for guidance” is beautiful as is the pulses of the instruments that softens and come forth in these waverings of pitches. …. Bravo…..

  16. RiaV says:

    Hi Eric,
    This piece is gorgeous and haunting. Even without the actual text, it is easy to imagine this is a prayer. The mezzo soprano voice works beautifully with the instruments. “At the Center” deserves to be widely performed!

  17. Cathie Sandstrom says:

    Hi Eric…I’m a latecomer to this inspiring piece, for sure. I’ve just listened to it twice, transfixed by it. The score you did for Thom’s website has this same haunting quality. This is the place way beyond language where only music can take us. Your music expresses a depth of emotion and spirit you translate for us. Thanks for bringing this into the world.

    Hope to meet you soon,

  18. Ruth Wall Dougherty says:

    It took me a long time to gather the courage to make a comment. I found this website in early 2021. you would have known me as Ruth Wall, my name is Ruth Dougherty now. I agree the music is beautiful and haunting and I am going to start forwarding it to one person at a time and see what their response is. You may not remember me which would be quite understandable because it was over 40 years ago I encountered you. I remember you more for the impact you had on my life,one memory of something you said to me once about how you started photography has helped me see how I may be able to help someone. Meeting you certainly helped my understanding of art and the creative process.
    Will keep checking in to your website to see what you are doing from time to time. Best wishes.

  19. Ruth Wall Dougherty says:

    Eric, this could well be an inappropriate place to post messages like this. Please feel free to delete.
    I have always wanted to know who your teacher was at that time (about 1979). I would like to look
    into his books. Myself I have been practicing Buddhism for at least 30 years. If you would like to converse you have my email. If that is not the case, that is fine. That applies to your teacher’s identity as well. I will continue to look at your website and what you are doing with your music. Eric, it was good to see what you are doing and listen to some of your compositions. I truly wish you well. Be
    safe, be well.

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