Philip Glass, Premiering 'A Toltec Symphony'

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Listen: <b>Web Extra</b>: Extended Interview with Philip Glass

Philip Glass

The National Symphony Orchestra premiered the latest work by composer Philip Glass. Jim Ball/ hide caption

toggle caption Jim Ball/

Sampling the Symphony

Three excerpts from 'Toltec'

Listen: From First Movement

Listen: From Second Movement

Listen: From Third Movement

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.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from