Reception and Offering Music (1975)

John Rea

wind quintet, and percussion

It has always fascinated me to think that, among the reasons for which some composers make direct reference to other composers’ music within their own music there is one which animates a belief — perhaps unconscious — that such references convey, or may themselves be, magic. Very often these citations receive from the host composer a special, almost referential treatment that, I suspect, mirrors the intensity of this belief. In Reception and Offering Music, I have tried to extend this notion somewhat further.

By fashioning a number of musical quotations that either overlap, adjoin or evolve into one another so as to depict the sense of transmission or transference between composers, and by placing these references within a context which is expressly the acoustical context of Tibetan ritual music, I am suggesting that some composers seems to assimilate the achievements of earlier composers much like the way Tibetan mystics come to accept the possibility of communication (visualization, transfer) with buddhas and bodhisattvas. Both the entity invoked (assimilated) and the invocation (assimilation) are magical.

Reception and Offering Music, thus, seeks to welcome and render homage to the apparitions-in-sound of various composers for whom the designation buddha or bodhisattva (one about to become a buddha) should indeed be fitting, not only in view of the paths they undertook to travel during their artistic lives, but also for the influence they generated along the way.

Reception and Offering Music was commissioned by the York Winds, and was given its first performance in Toronto, March 1976.