Message from Arecibo

From Wind Repertory Project
James M. David

James M David

General Info

Year: 2023
Duration: c. 8:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Murphy Music Press
Cost: Score and Parts - Available February 2024


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet (optional)
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bongos
  • Cabasa (or Shekere)
  • Chimes
  • China Cymbals
  • Claves
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Crotales
  • Glockenspiel
  • Hi-Hat
  • Kick Drum
  • Maracas
  • Marimba
  • Mark Tree
  • Patio Chimes (or Carriage Bolt Chimes)
  • Sizzle Cymbal
  • Slapstick
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-tam (medium)
  • Tom-tom (small)
  • Triangle (small and medium)
  • Vibraphone
  • Wood Block (small, medium and large))

Players whispering (optional)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

From 1963 until 2020, the Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico was one of the largest and most powerful astronomical instruments every created. While primarily used for receiving cosmic waves, in 1974 it instead broadcast a message to the globular star cluster M13 in the hope of communicating with an extraterrestrial intelligence. The message, coded in binary, described the atomic elements and formulas for DNA as well as graphic representations of the solar system, a double helix, a human figure, and the Arecibo telescope. Sadly, due to increasingly powerful Atlantic hurricanes, the telescope failed catastrophically in December 2020 with no plans for restoration. My composition, therefore, will be a remembrance of the Arecibo telescope and the spirit of discovery, hope, and loss that it represents.

Opening with a simple repeating progression, the grand scope of the device is slowly revealed as a powerful arrival is heard in the full ensemble. This will then be followed by a depiction of the 1974 message at a faster tempo and involving aleatoric techniques and curated improvisation from the musicians based on data found in the message. The message will build in energy leading to a triumphant cadence which slowly subsides and recalls the tranquil opening as Arecibo fades into memory.

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Wind Symphony (Sean P. Murray, conductor) – 1 March 2024 (CBDNA 2024 Southern Division Conference, Memphis, Tenn.)
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Wind Symphony (Sean Murray, conductor) – 25 February 2024
  • University of Tennessee Martin Wind Ensemble (John Oelrich, conductor) - 28 November 2023
  • Berry College (Mount Berry, Ga.) Wind Ensemble (Alyssa Grey, conductor) - 20 April 2023
  • Colorado State University Pueblo Wind Ensemble (Alan Mills, conductor) - 11 February 2023 *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works