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Philip Glass, Premiering 'A Toltec Symphony'

Ancient traditions and beliefs of the peoples of Mesoamerica influence Symphony No. 7 - A Toltec Symphony, composed by Philip Glass as a commissioned tribute to Leonard Slatkin, musical director of the National Symphony Orchestra. The Toltecs, Glass says, "emphasized the relationship with the forces of the natural world" -- sun, earth, water, fire, wind -- in developing their own wisdom traditions."

Notes on 'A Toltec Symphony'

Thursday's National Symphony Orchestra premiere was conducted by Leonard Slatkin, the orchestra's music director. Only fitting, since Symphony No. 7 - A Toltec Symphony was composed in 2004 under a commission from the NSO in honor of Slatkin's 60th-birthday season, with support from the John and June Hechinger Commissioning Fund for New Orchestral Works.

The score calls a piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, an English horn, two clarinets, E-flat clarinet, two bassoons, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, a tuba, a timpani, a rattle, a tom-tom, a wood block, a glockenspiel, a piano, a celesta, a harp, strings, organ, and chorus.

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