The secret for one of the first magic effects in written history was translated into a Morse-code-based musical notation system to create this score for solo cello.
It is performed in tandem with the original magic effect.
Commissioned by the University of Houston's Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center.
This work explores secrets that are hidden in plain sight, or in this case, plain listen. Andrews created a musical notation key to transform traditional Morse code beep sequences into a musical notation system. Andrews translated the text that describes the secret of a magic trick – one of the first to have been published in the West – into her Morse code musical notation system and then created a lush score for solo cello. What you will see is a performance which encodes the ancient secret in the form of music in tandem with a performance of the piece of magic that manifests that secret information in visual form. This is set amidst an installation of sheer curtains which includes a redacted version of the original 16th-Century text.
Recorded: January 26, 2023 • Ice Plant Recording Studio, NYC
Premiere: March 9, 2023 • University of Houston (Cello: Issei Herr)
New York City: June 6, 2023 • National Arts Club, NYC (Cello: Iva Casian-Lakoš)
London: July 11, 2023 • Magic Circle / British Society of Aesthetics (Cello: Rob Lewis)
Boston: September 20, 2023 • MIT Museum (Cello: Valerie Chen)
Score: Jeanette Andrews. Original Text: Reginald Scot. Cello: Issei Herr. Cinematography & Images: Ari Isenberg
This project is funded by the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts.
© ℗ 2023
Images and film: Ari Isenberg, Jay Clark, and Jenn Bootwala