My starting point for this piece was the fanciful thought of Beethoven returning to his Eighth Symphony 200 years later and realising that he had forgotten to write a slow movement. I began by working with elements of the symphony, as well as of the roughly contemporary piano sonatas Op. 81a and 101, and composing some Beethoven pastiche of my own. This material was largely submerged in the process of composition, and I found to my surprise that another composer was coming to the surface : the first draft was in fact completed on the 100th anniversary of Mahler’s death.
I am very grateful to Riccardo Chailly for proposing the challenge of writing this work, which has pushed me into unexpected stylistic directions. The duration is approximately 14 minutes.