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The composition of Mantra was a turning point for Stockhausen. After a period in the second half of the 1960s during which his music had taken a decidedly speculative turn, Mantra signalled a return to the intricately systematised approach to musical con- struction that had characterised his serial works of the 1950s, and at the same time established a set of concerns that would underpin his music for much of the remainder of his life. This return to serial preoccupations was, however, by no means a regression. Mantra expanded the possibilities and potentialities of the serial principle, effecting a decisive shift away from the more austere and abstract music of the 1950s, and effectively re-opening the doors to melody, theatre, extra-musical reference, and allusions to tonal harmony. – Newton Armstrong