In Buddhist tradition, the bodhisattvas are the seekers after enlightenment. It can be said that we are all seekers on this path, the path of self-understanding, of the heart of compassion, of caring for the world.
The bodhisattvas are put forward as models for our own seeking:
Avalokiteshvara: the way of listening in order to relieve the suffering in the world.
Manjushri: the way of being still and looking deeply into the heart of things and people.
Samantabhadra: the way of acting with the eyes and heart of compassion.
Ksitigarbha: the way of being present where there is darkness, suffering, oppression, and despair.
Sadāparibhūta: the way of never disparaging or underestimating any living being.
The Seeker is subtitled “a symphonic movement.” It opens with a slow melody that feels like an Appalachian folk song. It transitions suddenly and sharply into the main body of the work, an energetic and exuberant romp at a very speedy tempo. The opening melody returns in the context of a chorale, my recomposition of Christe, der du bist der Tag und Licht (Christ, you who are day and light) from the 371 four-part chorales of Bach. The movement concludes with a partial recap of the fast music, and a very brief coda.
Program Note by David Maslanka (January 2017)