Publisher: Novello & Co
Symphony No. 8 (Autumnal Fragments) (2001),
commissioned by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Novello & Co Ltd
The Eighth Symphony, composed mainly in 2001, was completed in October that year.
I have sought to combine two contrasting elements in this work: one that is fragmentary and sketchy, and one that maintains a symphonic discipline and coherence.
Whenever I have had the chance, I have always enjoyed being in an artist’s studio, looking at sketches. The fascination of a sketch lies in the fact that it conveys a strong, quickly realised inspiration and vision, at the same time leaving scope for many possible alterations and developments. All paths to completion are open, no possibilities have been excluded, and so the sketch is the foundation of a multi-faceted whole.
In one passage I have quoted the “Theme of the Dead” from my opera “Kullervo”, and it finally emerges as a five-part canon. The “Bell Theme” of the finale is a salute to the Concertgebouw Orchestra who commissioned this work. The theme is built up from certain notes from the name of the Orchestra and its home city: ConCErtGEBouw AmstErDAm.
The title “Autumnal Fragments” refers not only to the age of the composer, but also the tragic events of September 11. That is why the finale turned out to be different from my original design.
© Aulis Sallinen
Rhineland-Palatinate State Philharmonic Orchestra
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra