2 harps, piano, 2 percussions and 3 cellos

Premiere: March 28, 1971, Concert 36, Salle Claude-Champagne — Université de Montréal, Montréal (Québec)

In Offrande III Serge Garant uses an unusual combination of instruments. The work examines and exploits the relationships in the theme of the Musical Offering by Bach. As Garant put it, “I quoted Bach abundantly in Offrande I, much less in Offrande II, and not at all here. However, whereas Bach in his theme for the Musical Offering excludes only the note B flat while using all eleven other notes of the scale, in Offrande III the B flat assumes an almost thematic importance, and all other elements of the piece gravitate around it. The absence of only that note in Bach’s theme always fascinated me; my frequent use of it in Offrande III is a sort of quoting ‘by default’ and is another way of expressing my admiration for the Musical Offering, which I consider to represent the summit of the human spirit.” In Offrande III, macro and micro structures rigorously obey a series of proportions, although in some of the sequences they are used quite freely—either in the handling of harmonic material or in other elements such as pitches, registers, durations, intensities and tempos. The symmetry of the instrumentation and its formal rigor make it a classic work. “However, Offrande III seems to me, above all, an expressive piece… in any case, I wrote it in that spirit. I wanted everything in it to sing, and that’s how I hope it will be listened to.”