My recent symphonies - Symphony No. 5 Requiem, Bardo, Nirmanakaya, Symphony No. 6 - (Plutonian Ode), and Symphony No. 7 - A Toltec Symphony - are all driven by text: Symphony No. 5 by Ancient, Classical, and Aboriginal writings; Symphony No. 6 by Allen Ginsberg’s poem; Symphony No. 7 by a transcription of a Native American song. Symphony No. 8 marks a return to symphonic writing based on instrumental music alone. Dennis Russell Davies asked me think of the orchestra as a collection of virtuoso instruments as you would find in a concerto formation. Symphony No. 8 starts from this point in presenting ideas involved with timbre, density, structure, and melody.
PG April 2005